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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

1MDB-linked bank chief 'decides to retire'

The chief of Swiss bank BSI SA's Asian division, Hanspeter Brunner, has "decided to retire", according to the bank yesterday.

No reason was given by the bank for this decision, reported the Wall Street Journal today, and Brunner, who is a BSI board member based in Singapore, did not respond to their request for comment.

BSI has been linked to 1MDB as the troubled state fund is one of the bank's major clients.

Last year, the WSJ report said, Singapore authorities also reviewed that about more than US$500 million were transferred between 2011 and 2013 between an entity tied to 1MDB and a BSI account.

Though 1MDB has acknowledged it has a BSI account in Singapore, the bank has declined to comment on the matter, WSJ reported.

While 1MDB is currently being investigated in various countries, including Singapore and Switzerland, BSI has not been accused of wrongdoing in these probes.

The Swiss attorney-general said last month that their investigations into 1MDB strongly imply that US$4 billion may have been misappropriated from Malaysian state-owned companies.

1MDB has consistently denied wrongdoing and that they are willing to cooperate with authorities.

The Swiss Bank has also announced that Head of Private Banking Asia Raj Sriram will take over Brunner's responsibilities.

Based in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, BSI has historically catered to Italian clients, and when they expanded to Asia, they had relied on Brunner for their Asian operations.

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