The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday fined Citibank Taiwan Ltd (花旗台灣) NT$10 million (US$357,194) and DBS Bank Taiwan (星展台灣) NT$6 million for breaches of the nation’s anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.
The NT$10 million fine is the highest penalty that it has imposed on a domestic bank, the commission said.
Citibank Taiwan failed to set up a sound mechanism for evaluating clients’ risk of money laundering and for detecting suspicious transactions, Banking Bureau Deputy Director-General Huang Kuang-hsi (黃光熙) told a news conference in New Taipei City.
Photo: Kelson Wang, Taipei Times
The bank based its AML policies on those of its US-based parent company, Citigroup Inc, but the policies ignored transaction types specific to Taiwan that are suspected to be used for money laundering, Huang added.
As criminals in Taiwan mainly move money from Taiwan to China, Hong Kong, Macau and Southeast Asian countries, Citibank Taiwan should have highlighted these countries in its system, but it had not highlighted them because its parent company had not, Huang said.
Many of the bank’s corporate clients were one-person overseas companies that shared the same billing address and contact number, which was questionable, the commission said, adding that they might have been tax reduction arrangements for people related to each other.
Citibank Taiwan should have known the backgrounds of the one-person companies, but it did not — it had only labeled them as low or medium-risk clients, the commission said.
The bank’s mechanism for monitoring transactions was designed to exclude large deals, as it found it normal for big clients to have large transactions, but that goes against AML principles, which say that the larger the deal, the more scrutiny is needed, it said.
Once it detected suspicious deals, the bank did not investigate them well, as it ignored incidents when the scale of a client’s business did not match transaction amounts, failed to clarify the sources of funds and disregarded that sanctioned countries have higher risks, the commission said.
Citibank Taiwan also failed to set up a system to specifically monitor clients that were cryptocurrency exchanges, also a breach of AML regulations, it added.
DBS Bank Taiwan was penalized for similar breaches, the commission said.
DBS Bank Taiwan also had many clients that were one-person companies that shared billing addresses and contact numbers, and even though the bank had labeled them as high-risk clients, it did not take further measures to prevent potential money laundering, it said.
UNCONVINCING: The US Congress questioned whether the company’s Chinese owners pose a national security risk and how the app might influence young users TikTok chief executive officer Shou Chew (周受資), confronted with an unforgiving, distrustful US Congress, tried to give answers in his testimony on Thursday that avoided offending either the US government or China. However, his evasiveness left Congress unsatisfied, with representatives hungrier than ever to punish TikTok for ties to its parent company ByteDance Ltd (字節跳動), based in Beijing. He did not bring his company any closer to a resolution. Politically, TikTok is in a tougher spot. Its executives had been discussing divesting from ByteDance to resolve US national security concerns, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. However, China this week said
The Investment Commission yesterday approved a Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) application to invest an additional US$3.5 billion in its Arizona subsidiary to manufactured advanced chips. The world’s largest contract chipmaker’s board of directors last month approved the funding project after TSMC started moving manufacturing equipment into the fab in December last year in preparation for the production of 4-nanometer chips next year. TSMC said it has also commenced the second phase of facility construction in Arizona. The second fab is to produce semiconductors using 3-nanometer technology in 2026. Altogether, TSMC plans to spend US$40 billion on the Arizona fabs, doubling its
Microsoft Corp has threatened to cut off access to its Internet search data, which it licenses to rival search engines, if they do not stop using it as the basis for their own artificial intelligence (AI) chat products, people familiar with the dispute have said. The software maker licenses the data in its Bing search index — a map of the Internet that can be quickly scanned in real time — to other companies that offer Web search, such as Apollo Global Management Inc’s Yahoo and DuckDuckGo. Last month, Microsoft integrated a cousin of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s AI-powered chat technology, into Bing. Rivals
KEY SECTOR: Taiwan’s new chip legislation is insufficient, and a more strategic ‘chip act’ that covers the whole semiconductor ecosystem is needed, MediaTek’s chairman said MediaTek Inc (聯發科) chairman Rick Tsai (蔡明介) yesterday urged the government to formulate a state semiconductor strategy and comprehensive “chip act” that includes local chip designers and smaller-scale semiconductor companies, as they are facing intensifying competition from China. The government is playing an increasingly important role in safeguarding the local semiconductor industry’s competitiveness, given that the US, the EU and Japan are offering hefty subsidies and significant tax incentives to build semiconductor capacity domestically, as they have realized the strategic importance of semiconductors, Tsai said. To implement such a program, the government should take steps to finance a “chip act,” Tsai said