SINGAPORE Jan 5 Singapore prosecutors on
Thursday filed 16 charges against the local branch manager of
Swiss-based Falcon Private Bank AG, as part of an ongoing
investigation tied to the scandal-hit Malaysian state fund
1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The bank, which is also being investigated in its home
country, was the second Swiss lender whose Singaporean unit was
ordered to cease operations last year after BSI Bank Ltd.
The investigations come as the city-state tries to rebuild
its reputation as a clean financial centre after the 1MDB
scandal dented its image.
1MDB was founded by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak,
who chaired its advisory board. It is currently the subject of
money laundering investigations in at least six countries,
including Switzerland, Singapore and the United States.
Najib has denied any wrongdoing and said Malaysia will
cooperate with the international investigations.
On Thursday, Singapore prosecutors filed 10 charges of
giving false information, five charges of failing to disclose
suspicious information and one charge of failing to submit
suspicious transactions against Jens Sturzenegger, who headed
the local unit of Falcon, which is owned by Abu Dhabi's
International Petroleum Investment Co PJSC.
The Swiss national who was arrested in October, intends to
plead guilty, his lawyer Tan Hee Joek from Tan See Swan & Co
told the court. It was not immediately clear on which charges he
would plead guilty. A hearing is set for Jan. 11.
Singapore last year jailed three ex-BSI bankers, seized
assets and sanctioned several banks in what has become its
biggest crackdown on money laundering.
The island-state has called the 1MDB-linked investigation
the most complex, sophisticated and largest money laundering
case they have handled.
(Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Christopher Cushing)