Mega Bank money laundering case closed due to lack of evidence

Prosecutors on Monday closed a case in which Mega International Commercial Bank was suspected of violating the Money Laundering Control Act, citing a lack of evidence.

After nine months of investigation, no evidence was found to indicate that the bank had facilitated money laundering, prosecutors said.

The investigation was launched after the state of New York’s Department of Financial Service (DFS) slapped a US$180 million fine on Mega Bank in August 2016 after identifying “a number of suspicious transactions” between its New York and Panama branches.

Mega Bank was accused of not complying with the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act, which is also known as the anti-money laundering law, when it failed to report suspicious transactions made by clients.

Chang Chieh-chin, a spokesman for the Taipei District Prosecutors Office, pointed out that Mega Bank was fined mainly because its New York branch failed to report 110 debit authorizations received from its Panamanian branches in 2012.

Prosecutors found that the violation was mainly due to the branch’s lack of understanding of U.S. anti-money laundering laws.

As part of the investigation, prosecutors checked 17,033 remittance transactions between the bank’s New York and Panama branches but did not discover any acts of money laundering, he said.

Photo: Focus Taiwan News