Standard Chartered faces investigation over $1.4 billion client transfer from tax haven, source says

(CNBC) -- Financial watchdogs in Europe and Asia are investigating Standard Chartered Plc over the transfer of $1.4 billion of private bank client assets from Guernsey to Singapore ahead of new tax transparency rules, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Guernsey's Financial Services Commission are looking into the movement of assets in late 2015 just before the Channel Island adopted new global rules on exchanging tax information.

Under the rules countries will agree to automatically share annual reports about accounts belonging to people subject to taxes in each member nation.

Britain, Guernsey and Singapore have all signed up to the treaty but Guernsey implemented the rules ahead of the Southeast Asian city-state.

The Financial Services Commission and Standard Chartered's home regulator the Financial Conduct Authority declined to comment on the story while MAS did not respond to a request for comment outside of office hours.

The investigation was first reported by Bloomberg, which cited anonymous sources saying that Standard Chartered reported the matter itself to the regulators. It said the sources said regulators were looking into Standard Chartered's processes, but had not suggested the bank colluded with clients to evade tax.

Standard Chartered said last year that it was to close its trust operations in Guernsey and centralize that part of its business in Singapore.

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