August 19, 2015 / 5:37 PM / 4 years ago

Switzerland's FINMA looking into possible Swiss connection to 1MDB

ZURICH, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Swiss financial regulator FINMA is checking with some of the country’s banks on whether they carried out business with Malaysia’s troubled state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a spokesman said on Wednesday.

1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak, was the subject of a probe by Malaysia’s central bank which was completed earlier this month. The fund has been dogged by controversy over its $11 billion debt and alleged financial mismanagement.

The Wall Street Journal reported in July that investigators looking into 1MDB had traced nearly $700 million that moved from an account at Swiss-based Falcon Private Bank in Singapore into accounts in Malaysia they believed belonged to the prime minister.

Falcon has said previously it was in contact with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and would be fully transparent with the authorities.

“FINMA is in contact with several banks about this matter,” the spokesman said. “In the framework of our supervisory role, we are clarifying whether and to what extent banks are involved and how the terms of Swiss regulatory law were implemented.”

The regulator would not comment on the details of its supervisory activity or on individual names it was looking into, the spokesman added.

Earlier this year, MAS also said it was in touch with Malaysian regulators after Malaysia’s government said 1MDB had redeemed $1.1 billion from the Cayman Islands and parked it in the Singapore unit of Swiss private bank BSI.

Representatives for Falcon and BSI did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the FINMA spokesman’s remarks. (Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by David Holmes)

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