May 11, 2020 / 2:14 PM / in 18 days

UPDATE 1-Falcon Private Bank signals wind down with client transfer talks

(Adds details and background)

ZURICH, May 11 (Reuters) - Falcon Private Bank signalled its winding down on Monday, as the Swiss wealth manager involved in Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal said it was in advanced talks to transfer clients to another Swiss bank and exit private banking activities.

“We have concluded that, especially in the current environment, the controlled cessation of Falcon’s banking activities is the best way to protect the interests of our stakeholders,” its Chairman Roberto Grassi said in a statement.

Last month, Reuters reported that the private bank owned by Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment Company was preparing to go out of business.

“The exit from private banking activities will be a controlled and orderly process and performed in a socially responsible manner in close cooperation with the shareholder,” Falcon said, without naming the party involved in talks.

Falcon gained global prominence in 2015 after it was reported that investigators found nearly $700 million had been transferred from an account at the bank’s Singapore outpost to accounts in Malaysia linked to then Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Najib, now on trial for corruption in Malaysia, denies all charges against him.

Falcon said on Monday it would end banking activities during 2021 and meet its obligations to clients and stakeholders.

Swiss watchdog FINMA found in 2016 that Falcon violated money-laundering regulations by failing to carry out adequate background checks into transactions and business relationships associated with 1MDB. (Reporting by Michael Shields and Oliver Hirt Editing by David Goodman and Alexander Smith)

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