Date
23 October 2018
Falcon Private Bank’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. In October, Singapore’s central bank withdrew the merchant-banking license of Falcon’s Singapore branch. Photo: Reuters
Falcon Private Bank’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. In October, Singapore’s central bank withdrew the merchant-banking license of Falcon’s Singapore branch. Photo: Reuters

Singapore charges fifth person related to Malaysia’s 1MDB

Authorities in Singapore have charged a fifth person with crimes connected to alleged misappropriation at Malaysian state fund 1MDB, extending the scope of what prosecutors say is their largest ever investigation into alleged money laundering in the country, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Prosecutors on Thursday charged the Singapore branch manager of Switzerland’s Falcon Private Bank, Jens Sturzenegger, with 16 offences under various laws.

These include one that require banks and their officers to enact due-diligence checks on clients to prevent money laundering.

While the charges didn’t directly link Sturzenegger to 1MDB fund flows, Singapore’s central bank and regulator said in October that he had been arrested in connection with the city-state’s probe into alleged misappropriation of billions of dollars from the Malaysian fund.

The charges refer to Sturzenegger’s business dealings with Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, who global investigators have said was key to orchestrating the alleged 1MDB misappropriation.

The Wall Street Journal has previously reported that global investigators believe hundreds of millions of dollars of 1MDB money made its way through an account held at Falcon in Singapore to the personal accounts of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Najib has been cleared of wrongdoing by Malaysia’s attorney general, who said that the money deposited in his account was a legal donation from Saudi Arabia and most of it was returned. Najib, the Malaysian financier  Low and 1MDB have all denied any wrongdoing. 1MDB has pledged cooperation with any lawful investigation. 

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