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Investigations into 1MDB-related activities in Singapore still running, said MAS managing director

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is closely monitoring and probing new leads surfacing from Malaysia and elsewhere in relation to the 1MDB scandal, said MAS managing director Ravi Menon on 4 July.

In a briefing on the central bank’s annual report, Mr Menon said that the MAS has “proactively” responded to “every request for information made by the Malaysian authorities,” according to TODAY Online.

On May 30, MAS declared that a total of eight banks were made to pay fines that totalled up to S$29.1 million.

Two of the eight banks, namely Swiss bank BSI and Falcon Bank, were ordered to cease operations in Singapore, according to The Edge Markets Singapore.

A former banker of BSI, Yeo Jiawei, was faced with four-and-a-half years of jail on 12 July 2017 for money laundering and cheating in a case linked to 1MDB, according to Reuters.

Yeo was already serving a 30-month term on charges of perverting the course of justice by urging witnesses to lie to police and destroy evidence during the investigation into illicitly transferred funds linked to 1MDB.

Several other individuals linked to the 1MDB embezzlement activities in Singapore have also been fined, jailed and hit with prohibition orders, and have also been barred from working in the financial services sector for a period of time as a consequence.

“I think our record on 1MDB speaks for itself,” Mr Menon said. 

Mr Menon previously stated regarding the issue of 1MDB-related illicit activities in Singapore that public naming and shaming of individuals and banks involved in financial misdemeanours serves as a harsher warning against other financial institutions and individuals working under them than merely levying hefty fines on the banks that employ them, according to CNBC.

MAS has also concluded a supervisory reviews of banks, looking at “every lead and… across the banks”.

Mr Menon added: “But we’ve said that if there is any new evidence, we will look into the banks again.

“So far, there hasn’t been the case… But the investigations into individuals continues. The Commercial Affairs Department is looking into it,” he said.

The statements were made in light of Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s arrest on 3 July.

The 64-year-old was subsequently charged with criminal breach of trust and abuse of power.

Singapore will work with Malaysia to return stolen 1MDB funds

Malaysia’s 1MDB Special Task Force stated that they will be working closely with their Singapore counterparts to retrieve funds related to 1MDB, according to The Edge Markets.

The statement was made in meeting a with the representatives of the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on 8 June.

Both parties “will collaborate to recover a total sum of monies to the Malaysian government that have been allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB”.

The task force added that “The collaboration between both parties also aim at collecting evidence and tracking down witnesses in Singapore as soon as possible.”

The Singapore authorities said that “Singapore has been providing Malaysia information on 1MDB-related fund flows, since March 2015, and this was acknowledged by Malaysia. Both sides agreed to continue this co-operation,” according to the joint statement.

It added: “Singapore does not tolerate the use of its financial system as a refuge or conduit for illicit funds. We have taken strong action against financial institutions and individuals who have broken laws within our jurisdiction in connection with 1MDB-related fund flows, including criminal charges and convictions, as well as large financial penalties”.

Arrest warrants issued against Jho Low by Singapore and Malaysian police; Interpol published “red notices”

In a statement made on 8 June 2018, Singapore authorities announced that they have issued arrest warrants against Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, or more infamously known as Jho Low, and his close business associate Tan Kim Loong two years ago, according to TODAY Online.

Speaking after a meeting a with the Malaysian special task force investigating the scandal surrounding state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), representatives of the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a joint statement that The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) had published “red notices” regarding the two men in October 2016.

An Interpol red notice is the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant.

Low has been pinpointed by United States prosecutors and the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative as one of the significant figures in the process of grafting money from 1MDB.

He was also named as a “key person of interest” by the Singapore authorities in November 2016.

Tan, on the other hand, is allegedly the stated beneficiary of several bank accounts into which misappropriated 1MDB funds were transferred.

Speaking at a separate press conference, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that Low was not in a country with which Malaysia has an extradition treaty.

However, he said that “They have investigated his involvement in 1MDB and it is on those grounds he will be arrested”. He did not elaborate on the issue.

It was reported by TODAY Online that Malaysian authorities have also issued an arrest warrant for Low, and are preparing to issue a similar arrest warrant against several other individuals connected to the probe of 1MDB.

In July 2016, Singapore authorities seized bank accounts and properties from several individuals totalling S$240 million following investigations into 1MDB.

Approximately half of the total of the assets are said to be owned by Low and his immediate family.

Low — often referred to as Jho Low — is a close friend of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s stepson, Riza Aziz.

He had previously said that he provided consulting services to 1MDB, whose advisory board was previously chaired by Najib, and didn’t break any laws.