Monetary Authority of Singapore files police report against States Times Review author

A view of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) building in the downtown financial district in Singapore. MAS will require Singapore banks to hold liquid reserves to tide over financial crises. — AFP pic
A view of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) building in the downtown financial district in Singapore. MAS will require Singapore banks to hold liquid reserves to tide over financial crises. — AFP pic

SINGAPORE, Nov 9 — The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has filed a police report against the author of an online article on alternative news site States Times Review for making false and malicious statements that “impugned the integrity” of the financial regulator.

In a press release today, the statutory board said the article — titled Lee Hsien Loong becomes 1MDB’s key investigation target — had alleged that Malaysia had signed several unfair agreements with the Republic, in exchange for Singapore banks’ assistance in laundering 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds.

“The article is baseless and defamatory,” said the MAS, adding that it ignores the “unprecedented and robust actions” the regulator has taken over the last two years against Singapore-based banks and bankers in relation to their roles in 1MDB related transactions, which were “in most instances ahead of enforcement actions by foreign jurisdictions”.

The authority added the article also made false allegations that Singapore was forced to reopen its investigations into 1MDB only after the change in political leadership in Malaysia, when investigations into the case had never been closed.

“At its Annual Report Press Conferences in 2016 and 2017, MAS had made clear that it would not hesitate to investigate any new leads or evidence relating to 1MDB-related fund flows,” said its spokesperson, followed by a joint public statement issued on June 8 by the MAS, the Attorney General’s Chambers, and the Singapore Police Force, which reiterated the same stance.

In addition, the financial regulator said Singapore’s law enforcement and regulatory agencies had also been cooperating actively with its counterparts in Malaysia, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the United States of America during the tenure of the previous Malaysian government.

“MAS has placed utmost importance on safeguarding its integrity as a financial regulator, and takes seriously any false allegations to the contrary,” it said.

On Wednesday, the Singapore High Commission in Malaysia had described an article published by online news portal The Coverage claiming that Lee will be next to be investigated in the 1MDB probe as fake news and “clearly libellous”.

The article, titled Breaking News: Singapore Lee Hsien Loong Becomes 1MDB’s Key Investigation Target — Najib Signed Several Unfair Agreements with Hsien Loong In Exchange for Money Laundering, was sourced from another blog, the States Times Review.

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