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Switzerland’s top financial regulator warned the risk of money-laundering has risen in Switzerland in recent years as the watchdog said it’s preparing to penalize six Swiss banks over their ties to alleged corruption in Malaysia and Brazil.
Widening corruption scandals at 1Malaysia Development Berhad and Brazilian oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA have prompted the regulator to look at more than 20 Swiss banks and their potential ties to the affairs, Finma Chief Executive Officer Mark Branson said Tuesday.
“We’ve made clear over recent years and months that we see money laundering risk as having risen in our country,” the 47- year-old Branson said on a conference call. “We don’t think that’s endemic but we do think it’s a risk which has increased over time and here is a case that’s a particularly bad example.” Branson was speaking in the wake of the closure of Lugano-based BSI SA’s Singapore unit after the Swiss regulator found the bank was in serious breach of money-laundering rules.
By Hugo Miller and Giles Broom (Bloomberg)
BSI Bank is the Swiss canton of Ticino’s oldest bank according to the bank’s website. Founded in 1873 as Banca della Svizzera Italiana, it is owned by the Brazilian financial group BTG Pactual, which acquired it in 2015.
On Tuesday Bloomberg reported that Singapore was closing BSI SA’s unit in the city-state and that Switzerland had began criminal proceedings against the firm, as investigations into the troubled Malaysian state fund 1MBD reverberated through the private bank’s international operations.