Ex-Coutts & Co banker linked to US$700m 1MDB transfer found guilty by Swiss court

A man walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard in Kuala Lumpur, March 30, 2015. A former banker from Coutts and Co approved Jho Low’s request to transfer US$700 million from 1MDB to an account held under the Good Star name. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A man walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard in Kuala Lumpur, March 30, 2015. A former banker from Coutts and Co approved Jho Low’s request to transfer US$700 million from 1MDB to an account held under the Good Star name. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — A former banker from Coutts & Co was found guilty for his failure to flag money-laundering activities of a US$700 million (RM2.67 billion) transfer into an account controlled by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, Bloomberg reported today.

The man, only identified as A. in the Bloomberg report, was fined 50,000 Swiss francs (RM233,226.95) by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court in a ruling today.

According to the Swiss court in a statement, there were numerous serious indications of money laundering which grew over time.

“Despite being aware of these well-founded suspicions, A. left the communication to regulatory officials until the moment he left the bank,” the Swiss court said.

This conviction comes after the Kuala Lumpur High Court found former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak guilty on Tuesday of power abuse and money laundering, after global bank giant Goldman Sachs had struck a US$3.9 billion settlement with the Malaysian government to resolve probes into the US bank’s role in a scheme to plunder the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) investment fund.

Bloomberg also reported that Low had established a Seychelles-registered company, Good Star, in May 2009 and opened accounts at Coutts’ Singapore branch less than a month later.

By September of that year, Low was asking to cease all communications with Coutts in Singapore and to receive updates only from Coutts’ Swiss unit to a Gmail address he had created: [email protected]

Despite this unusual request, A. approved Low’s request to transfer US$700 million from 1MDB to an account held under the Good Star name.

In an October 2, 2009 email, A. wrote “the due diligence is so far good and we have sufficient evidence that the payment is true and valid.”

Coutts & Co. was sold by Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in 2016 to Union Bancaire Privee.

It was fined US$6.5 million in 2017 for allowing US$2.4 billion worth of assets related to the 1MDB investment fund to flow through its accounts at a number of Swiss banks.

The Malaysian police are seeking Low’s arrest after the courts issued new charges against him in February.

Related Articles