A financial regulator in Singapore issued subsidiaries of Standard Chartered PLC fines totaling GBP3.5 million for breaching anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing rules.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore hit the Singapore branch of Standard Chartered Bank with a SGD5.2 million, or GBP2.8 million, penalty and Standard Chartered Trust (Singapore) Ltd with a further SGD1.2 million or GBP650,000 penalty.
More specifically, Standard Chartered Bank is said to have violated the terms of the requirements, during a 2-month period spanning between December 2015 to January 2016, when trust accounts of SCBS' customers were transferred from Standard Chartered Trust (Guernsey) to SCTS. The fined units failed to file a suspicious transaction report in a "timely manner", MAS explained.
In mitigation MAS said that the bank had notified the regulator of its internal review of the accounts and had since taken strong measures to strengthen its risk management and control systems.
Commenting on the penalties imposed on SCBS and SCTS, Deputy Managing Director of MAS, Mr Ong Chong Tee said: "MAS requires financial institutions to adequately assess money laundering risks when deciding whether to accept customers".
MAS said that it found the bank's "risk management and controls in relation to the transfers to be unsatisfactory".
MAS questioned the timing of the transfers which it said were done "shortly before" Guernsey implemented the Common Reporting Standards (CRS) on tax transparency endorsed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Standard Chartered said in a statement: "We take this matter very seriously". We proactively reported it to the authorities, conducted a thorough review of the relevant trust structures, and made structural and procedural changes to ensure that our employees are better equipped to identify, assess, and mitigate potential risks.
"We will continue to monitor, review and strengthen these measures to bolster our overall defence against potential financial crime risks".