RBS Coutts second bank in Singapore linked to 1MDB, says paper



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(April 10): Singapore's Business Times today said it has obtained documents confirming the involvement of another bank in the island state with 1MDB, the troubled Malaysian state firm which recently parked over US$1 billion in BSI SIngapore.

The paper said some US$20 million was wired in 2009 from an account with RBS Coutts' Singapore branch to Saudi businessman Tarek Obaid, the founder of PetroSaudi International (PSI) which had a US$2.5 billion joint venture with IMDB in 2009.

1MDB recently redeemed US$1.1 billion from the Cayman Islands and parked it into BSI Singapore, a local unit of Swiss asset manager BSI.

Putrajaya said the money was kept in BSI in order to “facilitate easier withdrawals since regulations set by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) needed its approval for transactions above RM50 million”.

The Auditor-General's Department is currently checking 1MDB accounts after it chalked up debts of up to RM42 billion, as well allegations of dubious dealings.

Singapore's Monetary Authority has said last month that it would provide support "within the full ambit of its laws" in the audit probe.

Whistleblower site Sarawak Report had earlier reported that Tarek had in 2009 issued a letter of demand to 1MDB-PetroSaudi Limited, the joint venture company, for US$700 million to be credited to account number 11116073, at RBS Coutts Bank Ltd in Zurich, Switzerland.

It further claimed that the account was registered under a company called Good Star Limited, controlled by businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.

“This means that the money, which was stated as having been paid back to PetroSaudi as part of the joint venture agreement, was in fact signed over by Tarek Obaid to an entirely separate third party, Good Star Limited," said Sarawak Report citing copies of a PetroSaudi loan agreement showing US$700 million being loaned from PetroSaudi Caymans Holdings to the 1MDB-PetroSaudi. – The Malaysian Insider