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Banking & Finance

Swiss approve dissolution of bank in Malaysia scandal

By Agnès Pedrero with Elizabeth Law in Singapore, AFP Swiss financial regulators approved Tuesday the dissolution of Lugano-based BSI Bank over its links to a corruption scandal engulfing Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak. Swiss supervisor FINMA accused BSI, a merchant bank, of "serious breaches" of money-laundering regulations in its dealings with the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, which is at the heart of the corruption allegations. In the toughest punitive action yet announced in the affair, FINMA said in a statement it was approving the takeover of the merchant bank by Zurich-based private banking group EFG International on the condition that BSI is integrated "and thereafter dissolved" within 12 months. It ordered the seizure of 95 million Swiss francs (86 million euros/$96 million) of BSI's "illegally generated" profits. FINMA said it was investigating two former …

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Bangladesh Bank heist trail goes cold in Manila as probes falter

By Raju Gopalakrishnan More than three months have passed since $81 million was stolen in a brazen cyber-heist from Bangladesh's central bank and sent to Manila - yet authorities in the Philippines appear no closer to nabbing those who laundered most of the money through a bank and casinos here. Nobody has been arrested, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) - the nation's equivalent of the FBI - has not been allowed to get fully involved in the probe, and a Philippines Senate investigation petered out last week. Several official and private investigators said they had hoped to make headway by following the money trail in the Philippines, but they told Reuters it has gone cold. They said the perpetrators probably knew the Philippines well and likely chose it because of the weakness …

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Japan’s Aozora Bank taps BDO for investment banking services

Japanese commercial bank Aozora Bank, Ltd. has tapped BDO Unibank, Inc. (BDO) to collaborate on select banking services for its clients eyeing the Philippines as a potential investment spot. The business collaboration will cover, among others, merger and acquisition advisory and investment banking services. This was formalized via a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the banks Monday. Aozora said it handpicked BDO given the bank’s strong foothold in the Philippine market. This strength would be helpful to Aozora’s clients who plan to invest and find potential business partners in the country. For BDO’s part, senior vice president and head of international desks Edward G. Wenceslao said the tie-up with Aozora can give the bank broad coverage in the major prefectures with the most number of Japanese investments in the Philippines. These prefectures are …

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PNB Savings Bank offers digital loan facility for SSS pensioners

PNB Savings Bank has launched the country’s first digital and mobile lending facility to cater pensioners of the Social Security System (SSS), which is powered by a platform called Lendr, developed by PLDT and Smart’s digital innovations unit Voyager Innovations. SSS Pensioners with accounts at PNB and PNB Savings Bank can utilize the new facility powered by Lendr to apply for loans anytime, anywhere, using only their mobile phones or laptop devices. “It has always been our thrust to put our customers first, and enabling our pensioners to take out a loan through Lendr echoes our commitment to making things simple and hassle-free for them,” Joven Hernandez, President and CEO of PNB Savings Bank, said in a statement. “The benefits of FINTQ's digital platforms like Lendr are best reaped by hitherto-marginalized segments like …

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FBI suspects insiders in $81 mn Bangladesh central bank theft: report

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation suspects the computer hacking theft of $81 million from Bangladesh's central bank was in part an inside job, the Wall Street Journal reported. Quoting sources familiar with the matter, the Journal said FBI agents investigating the case "have found evidence pointing to at least one bank employee acting as an accomplice." But it added that "a handful of others" may have also aided the hackers in breaking into the computers of Bangladesh Bank. The spectacular cyber-theft has embarrassed the government in Dhaka, triggered outrage in the impoverished country and raised alarm over the security of the global infrastructure linking central banks. Hackers fabricated official electronic transfer orders to move the money from Bangladesh Bank's account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in February and send it to accounts in the …

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RCBC prexy Lorenzo Tan resigns, RCBC Board clears him of any wrongdoing

By Joann Santiago, Philippine News Agency MANILA, May 6 -- The Board of Directors of the Yuchengo-led Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) has accepted the resignation of its president and chief executive officer (CEO), Lorenzo V. Tan.   This even as the RCBC Board has cleared Tan, whose resignation takes effect May 6, 2016, of any participation in the money laundering involving its Jupiter-Makati branch. ”An internal investigation into the alleged USD 81 million money laundering had cleared Mr. Tan of any breach of bank rules and policies. He resigned to give the Board a free hand in directing the course of the Bank’s future,” the bank said in a statement Friday. Tan was accused by RCBC Jupiter-Makati branch manager Maia Deguito as the one who told her to accommodate casino junket operator Kim …

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Kim Wong returns last batch of money received from stolen USD 81-M Bangladesh Bank account

By Joann Santiago, Philippine News Agency MANILA, May 4 -- A lawyer of casino junket operator Kim Wong on Wednesday delivered to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) over Php 250 million in cold cash, the last tranche the latter promised to return from what his company received from the stolen USD 81 million. In a statement, Wong, also known as Kam Sin Wong, said the money was delivered a day before the self-imposed May 5 deadline he told Senators during a Senate hearing on April 5, 2016. He said the remaining fund was the last that his company, Eastern Hawaii Leisure, Ltd. received from the laundered money that passed through the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation’s RCBC) Jupiter Branch in Makati last February. The cash is comprised of Php 230 million in Php 1,000 bills …

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20 foreigners linked to $81m Bangladesh bank heist: police

Bangladesh police probing a $81 million electronic heist from the central bank said Monday that more than 20 unnamed foreigners were involved in the audacious theft. Hackers stole the money from the Bangladesh Bank's account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in February and managed to transfer it electronically to accounts in the Philippines. Lead police investigator in the case, Shah Alam, said "at least 20 people from multiple foreign countries" have been found to have been involved with the robbery. "We've found concrete evidence that these people were involved in the heist," Alam told AFP, without giving any details. "We cannot disclose their identity at the moment as it might hamper our investigation". Bangladesh's ambassador in Manila, John Gomes, said the hackers were from nations other than the Philippines. Alam said officers would seek assistance from Interpol in a bid to …

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Demand for non-bank loans seen to rise – Home Credit PH

 An international consumer finance company is expecting a rise in demand for non-bank lenders in the country, even as loans from banks continue to increase, because of higher consumer electronics consumption. David Minol, CEO of Home Credit Philippines, said that a vast majority of Filipinos still have no bank accounts and many of them are in need of financing despite banks reported increase in lending. “The demand for appliances and other consumer goods continues to rise, and this applies not just to the upper class, but to the everyday working Filipino as well,” noted Minol. BMI Research cites a strong medium-term growth for consumer electronics consumption in the Philippines, including audio-visual equipment such as TVs and digital cameras, and handsets as households acquire sufficient disposable income for the first time. From 2016 to 2020, BMI …

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Ex-chief of Anglo Irish Bank extradited after 7 years in US

DUBLIN — The former chief executive of the collapsed Anglo Irish Bank has been extradited back to Ireland after seven years in the United States during which he fought unsuccessfully to claim bankruptcy protection and evade Irish fraud charges. A Dublin judge granted bail to David Drumm hours after his arrest Monday at Dublin Airport. Prosecutors, police and fraud investigators had argued that he should be denied bail. Drumm faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted on 33 charges connected to the Dublin bank's hiding of massive loans and losses from shareholders. Ireland nationalized Anglo in 2009, seized control of its toxic property portfolio and ultimately dissolved the bank at an estimated cost of 29 billion euros ($32 billion), a burden that forced Ireland to negotiate an international bailout.

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