DBS, OCBC Are Creditors to Alleged Launderers’ Singapore Firms

Two of the biggest local banks in Singapore are creditors to suspects in a major money laundering scandal involving over S$1 billion ($741 million) of assets.

(Bloomberg) — Two of the biggest local banks in Singapore are creditors to suspects in a major money laundering scandal involving over S$1 billion ($741 million) of assets.

DBS Group Holdings Ltd, the city-state’s largest bank, and Bank of Singapore Ltd., the private-banking arm of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp., are both creditors to investment firms linked to individuals arrested and charged earlier this month, according to business filings seen by Bloomberg News. The documents show the firms have a relationship with the banks stretching back about one to two years before the arrests. 

DBS registered four charges — generally referring to a form of security interest usually taken by a lender to secure repayment of a loan — on Aug. 18, 2021 to Aiqinhai Investment Pte. The firm’s director and sole shareholder Su Haijin is among the 10 individuals who have been indicted in a Singapore court for offenses including money laundering and forgery. 

Bank of Singapore registered a charge on Jan. 7, 2022 for Xinbao Investment Holdings Pte. One of the firm’s two directors is Su Baolin, who was also among the individuals charged. 

A spokesperson for DBS said the lender will continue its work “to make Singapore a place where criminals cannot find harbor,” though did not comment on specific names. OCBC declined to comment. Su Haijin and Su Baolin are both in remand. Their lawyers didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

The local banks join a list of financial institutions, including Malaysia’s CIMB Bank Bhd., Citigroup Inc.’s local subsidiary and Deutsche Bank AG to be linked to the suspects in the alleged money laundering ring. Beyond the banks, property agents, precious metals dealers and golf clubs in the city have also been drawn into the scandal. This has raised questions about guardrails against illicit money flowing into the financial hub.

Both the investment firms linked to DBS and OCBC have listed office addresses in Singapore’s business district, while the two accused directors have upscale residential addresses. The banks’ facilities are secured against “all monies” at the companies, according to the filing, which did not specify the size of the exposure. 

Prosecutors have said they are seeking documents from at least 10 financial institutions in relation to the case, although they were not named. 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore, when asked by Bloomberg News for comment, referred to its earlier statement where it said the regulator is undertaking supervisory engagements with financial firms where potentially tainted funds have been identified, and will take “firm action” against those found to have breached anti-money laundering and related rules. A spokesperson for the Singapore police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

All of the 10 arrested individuals are due in court Wednesday.

–With assistance from Chanyaporn Chanjaroen and Alfred Cang.

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