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Mega Financial chairman in U.S. to examine bank's operations: MOF

2016/08/29 15:02:58

Shiu Kuang-si (徐光曦, CNA file photo)

Taipei, Aug. 29 (CNA) Mega Financial Holding Co. Chairman Shiu Kuang-si (徐光曦) has left for the United States to check on the operations of the company's branches there, amid allegations of money laundering against the company's banks, Deputy Finance Minister Su Jain-rong (蘇建榮) confirmed Monday.

Su's statement came in the wake of local media reports that Shiu and a delegation, including law compliance executive Chen Tien-lu (陳天祿), were on their way to the U.S. to meet with financial authorities in New York, Chicago, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, where Mega Bank has branches.

According to the reports, it was Shiu's second trip to the U.S. in two weeks to deal with the fallout from a money laundering scandal that has hit Mega International Commercial Bank.

According to the reports, the bank, the flagship entity of Mega Financial, may face additional fines for violating U.S. money laundering laws.

On Aug. 19, the state of New York's Department of Financial Service (DFS) slapped a US$180 million fine on Mega Bank after identifying "a number of suspicious transactions" between its New York and Panama branches.

The transactions in question at the Mega Bank New York branch took place in 2012 and were uncovered by the DFS during an examination conducted between January and March 2015.

Mega Bank was the first Taiwanese bank to face such a penalty for violation of U.S. money laundering laws. Shiu, who was appointed chairman of Mega Financial Holding earlier this month, is traveling to the U.S. also to gain firsthand information about the bank's overseas business, according to Su.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) on Sunday sent teams of investigators to Mega Bank's New York and Panama branches.

Since the scandal broke, the Ministry of Finance has asked Taiwan's eight government-invested banks to report on their overseas branches' compliance mechanisms and on their money laundering prevention efforts.

The eight government-invested banks are Mega Bank, Bank of Taiwan, Land Bank of Taiwan, Taiwan Cooperative Bank, Hua Nan Commercial Bank, First Commercial Bank, Chang Hwa Commercial Bank and Taiwan Business Bank.

The MOF said is planning to convene a meeting with the eight banks in September to come up with measures to improve their operations and prevent a repeat of the Mega Bank's situation.

(By Chiu Po-sheng and Frances Huang)
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