Aug 23, 2016

Taiwan probes Mega Financial after U.S. money laundering-related fine

Taiwan is investigating if Mega Financial Holding Co and its banking unit broke local criminal laws in a case that led to U.S. authorities fining the state-controlled group $180 million for anti-money laundering violations.

New York authorities on Friday slapped Mega International Commercial Bank with the fine for violations that included lax attention to risk exposure in Panama, the first time in a decade that a Taiwan-based financial institution has been penalized by U.S. authorities.
The fine is a major embarrassment for the Taiwan government because Mega Financial, whose management has close ties to key government officials, is an industry pillar in the island's financial system.
The disciplinary action comes as anti-money laundering (AML) controls at banks in Greater China are under intense scrutiny abroad, following a series of high-profile judicial investigations and regulatory probes in the United States and Europe.
Taiwan authorities are examining documents from Mega Financial and its banking unit as part of the investigation, Chang Chieh-chin, deputy head prosecutor with the Taipei District Public Prosecutors Office, told Reuters by telephone. 

By Liang-Sa Loh and J.R. Wu | TAIPEI 
REUTERS