BSI says new management not linked to Malaysia 1MDB scandal

The sign of Swiss bank BSI outside a subsidiary in Geneva.
The sign of Swiss bank BSI outside a subsidiary in Geneva.PHOTO: AFP

ZURICH (AFP) - The newly appointed chief executive of Swiss bank BSI, which has been ordered to shut down over its alleged role in a massive Malaysian money-laundering scandal, insisted on Thursday (May 26) that the current management was not implicated in the case.

Board member Roberto Isolani, who took over as CEO following the resignation of Stefano Coduri on Tuesday, said the accusations levelled at the bank dated back "three to four years" and belonged to the past.

"There is no proof that current members of the board of directors or management are involved in the case," he told the Swiss daily Corriere del Ticino.

 
 

In an unprecedented move this week, Singapore's central bank ordered the closure of BSI's operations in the city-state, while Switzerland began criminal proceedings against the private bank, in the biggest international crackdown on financial entities dealing with troubled Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Six former employees of BSI Bank in Singapore have been referred to the public prosecutor for possible criminal charges.

Malaysia's prime minister, who founded 1MDB in 2009, has battled allegations that billions were looted from the investment vehicle in a vast campaign of fraud and embezzlement stretching from the Middle East to the Caymans.

Swiss supervisor Finma are allowing the takeover of the merchant bank BSI by Zurich-based private banking group EFG International on the condition that BSI is integrated "and thereafter dissolved" within 12 months.

Finma has ordered the seizure of 95 million Swiss francs (S$131.9 million) of BSI's "illegally generated" profits, and said it was investigating two former top managers.