DBS to take action against staff responsible for 1MDB-related lapses, including senior executives

DBS said it made many enhancements since the 1MDB-related lapses, which had occurred in 2013 and 2014. PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES

SINGAPORE - DBS Bank said on Tuesday (Oct 11) it will be taking appropriate action against staff accountable for 1MDB-related lapses - including senior executives - after the bank was slapped with a $1 million fine by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

DBS also said it "should have taken more rigorous action with respect to the questionable activity, even if it was intentionally designed to conceal another purpose".

The bank said it would be donating "profits attributable to our shortcomings" to a worthy cause.

MAS in a statement earlier on Tuesday said it had completed its inspections of DBS and UBS' Singapore branch in relation to their 1MDB-related fund flows and found no pervasive control weaknesses. Instead, the control lapses "relate to specific bank officers who failed to carry out their duties effectively".

DBS in its statement said it had made many enhancements since the lapses, which occurred in 2013 and 2014, and "are in a materially better position than before".

Asked for more details on the staff responsible for the bank lapses and the actions they face, DBS said it does not comment on specific employee matters.

"However, any staff who we feel could have done a better job in fulfilling their responsibility will be held accountable," the bank told The Straits Times. "In general, there is a wide array of possible consequences ranging from a warning, bonus impact to dismissal".

A spokesman for UBS' Singapore branch, which was fined $1.3 million for similar money-laundering lapses related to 1MDB funds, said on Tuesday the Swiss bank was "disappointed we did not do more to detect and report this earlier" and is "determined not to be used as a platform for financial crime".

Like DBS, UBS said it will also donate all profits from "this account" to the setting up of an industry-wide anti-money laundering programme.

This will be run by an independent educational body to help combat financial crime and reinforce Singapore's status as a financial centre which adheres to the highest standards, said UBS.

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