Singapore fines Standard Chartered entities $4.9 million for money laundering breaches

Standard Chartered said in 2016 that it was to close its trust operations in Guernsey and centralize that part of its business in Singapore. (Reuters)
Updated 19 March 2018
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Singapore fines Standard Chartered entities $4.9 million for money laundering breaches

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s central bank imposed penalties of S$5.2 million ($3.95 million) on Standard Chartered Bank (SCBC) and S$1.2 million on Standard Chartered Trust (Singapore) (SCTS) for breaching money laundering rules and terrorism financing safeguards.
In a statement on Monday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said the breaches occurred when trust accounts of SCBC’ customers were transferred from Standard Chartered Trust (Guernsey) to SCTS from December 2015 to January 2016.
“MAS requires financial institutions to adequately assess money laundering risks when deciding whether to accept customers. They should also have in place good systems and processes to monitor customer transactions,” said MAS Deputy Managing Director Ong Chong Tee.
The MAS and Guernsey’s Financial Services Commission had been looking into Standard Chartered’s movement of some assets, mainly of Indonesian clients in late 2015, just before the Channel Island adopted new global rules on exchanging tax information.
“The timing of the transfers raised questions of whether the clients were attempting to avoid their CRS reporting obligations. However, SCBC and SCTS did not adequately assess and mitigate against this risk factor, and also failed to file suspicious transaction reports in a timely manner,” MAS said.
In a statement, Standard Chartered conceded that it fell short of its own standards to mitigate risks but said it was taking action to rectify these deficiencies.
“We ourselves identified the issue, we recognized that we weren’t as diligent as we needed to be in the transfer of some trust assets from Guernsey to Singapore,” Standard Chartered’s CEO Bill Winters said at Credit Suisse’s annual Asia Investment Conference in Hong Kong on Monday. “We reported both our own shortcomings and also the action of our clients to the MAS.”
“The important thing ... is we are making investments necessary to make sure there is no repeat,” he said.
Standard Chartered said in 2016 that it was to close its trust operations in Guernsey and centralize that part of its business in Singapore.


EU gives Nestle a thumbs down in Kit Kat finger row

Updated 19 April 2018
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EU gives Nestle a thumbs down in Kit Kat finger row

  • Nestle has been locked in a decade-long battle with US rival Mondelez, maker of Cadbury chocolate, over the four-fingered wafer biscuit, which was first sold in 1935.
  • The EU’s intellectual property office allowed Nestle in 2006 to trademark what the court calls the “three-dimensional shape of the ‘Kit Kat 4 fingers’ product.”

Luxembourg: The European Union’s top court should cancel Swiss food giant Nestle’s trademark for the shape of the Kit Kat chocolate bar, the court’s top adviser said Thursday.
Nestle has been locked in a decade-long battle with US rival Mondelez, maker of Cadbury chocolate, over the four-fingered wafer biscuit, which was first sold in 1935.
The EU’s intellectual property office allowed Nestle in 2006 to trademark what the court calls the “three-dimensional shape of the ‘Kit Kat 4 fingers’ product.”
Advocate General Melchior Wathelet said the European Court of Justice (ECJ) should dismiss an appeal by Nestle against a lower court’s 2016 decision to annul the trademark.
“Nestle did not adduce sufficient evidence to show that its trademark had acquired distinctive character,” Wathelet said.
He said the intellectual property office should now “re-examine” its decision.
The Luxembourg-based ECJ often, but not always, follows the advice of the advocate general, its senior legal adviser, when making its final judgment.
The food giant specifically failed to show that the Kit Kat shape was well enough known in Belgium, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal, relying instead on market data from other countries, he said.
The official also said the EU court should reject an appeal by Mondelez against part of the judgment, saying it was “manifestly inadmissible.”
Nestle has already lost a legal bid in Britain — currently an EU member state but set to leave next year — to trademark the Kit Kat shape.