The week in news - October 12
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the closure of Falcon Private Bank yesterday, following an investigation that uncovered several breaches of anti-money laundering requirements and standards. In a statement released on Tuesday, MAS also announced penalties to be levied against UBS and DBS for violating anti-money laundering laws between 2013 and 2015. All three banks have been mentioned in relation to the growing 1MDB scandal. Standard Chartered’s Singapore branch has also been implicated in the investigations. MAS announced their investigation into the bank’s activities in the territory is in the process of being finalized.
The United States has officially lifted sanctions against Myanmar following the issue of an executive order from President Obama. The sanctions were initially issued in 1989, in reaction to human rights abuses in the territory, and have since been lifted following continued democratic efforts, according to the Obama administration. While more than 100 companies and individuals have been removed from the ‘blacklist’, a handful of individuals remain barred. The decision comes some weeks after Obama met with Aung San Suu Kyi, the State Counsellor of Myanmar, and is hoped to ease trade and the conduct of business in the developing Southeast Asian nation.
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula de Silva is to face additional corruption-related charges, according to Reuters. The federal police have filed a request for charges to be brought forward, which must be reviewed before prosecutors can formally charge a defendant, in compliance with state procedure. While Lula currently faces two separate corruption charges relating to the Petrobras scandal that continues to plague the nation, the latest allegations stem from purported bribes involved in negotiating contracts with Odebrecht in Angola.
Verizon looks for $1 billion discount on Yahoo purchase. In a story first broken by the New York Post, Yahoo’s failure to disclose the data breach affecting more than 500 million users in 2014 is the primary reason attributed. The Post also reports that Verizon could allocate a contingency fund of $1 billion, which would account for any potential liabilities and damages relating to Yahoo’s activities prior to their acquisition by the telecoms giant. Verizon’s plans to integrate Yahoo and AOL could see their user base grow to potentially reach one billion customers. Media coverage surrounding the decision to allow the FBI and NSA access to Yahoo email servers has, however, only added to the black cloud looming over the merger, valued at $4.8 billion.
Hong Kong’s former Chief Executive Donald Tsang could face further bribery charges, according to the South China Morning Post. New allegations implicate Tsang in relation to a penthouse property in Shenzhen, rented from and refurbished by a major investor in a radio station seeking a broadcast license from the government. Tsang, previously charged with misconduct while holding public office, could face up to seven years imprisonment and a fine of $500,000 HKD. His trial is scheduled to begin next January. Tsang is the senior-most government official in Hong Kong to be charged with crimes relating to bribery.