Singapore probes Deutsche Bank executive’s 1MDB role

Singapore • Singapore authorities probing the multibillion dollar 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal are looking at the role of an outgoing senior Deutsche Bank AG executive as part of their investigations, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Tan Boon Kee, who was Asia-Pacific head of the German bank’s financial institutions group, has been interviewed by Singapore’s Commercial Affairs Department as recently as late August, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the queries are confidential. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has also quizzed Deutsche Bank about the extent of Tan’s involvement with the 1MDB account, the people said.

Tan stepped down from her role at Deutsche Bank last month and is currently on garden leave. She has not been accused of any wrongdoing, and it isn’t clear whether her departure was linked to the 1MDB probe.

Tan declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Deutsche Bank. In response to a request for comment, the Singapore Police Force said as “investigations into 1MDB-related matters are still ongoing, it is inappropriate to comment further on this matter”.

The inquiries are part of a globe-spanning criminal probe into the troubled Malaysian state fund where US$4.5 billion (RM18.62 billion) was allegedly siphoned off. Investigations have gathered pace after the surprise election of Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who’s pushing for a quick resolution. Deutsche Bank has also been reportedly asked by the US Justice Department for details on its dealings with 1MDB.

Investigators in Singapore have asked Tan about her dealings with Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho. Low, wanted in Malaysia and Singapore for alleged money laundering, has been described by US prosecutors as the man behind the 1MDB scheme, though he has consistently denied wrongdoing.

Yesterday, Low launched a website proclaiming his innocence and said the public should “keep an open mind until all of the evidence comes to light”.

Tan has also been questioned about her links with former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker Roger Ng, according to the people. Ng, who has been interviewed by authorities, introduced Low to Tan, a Goldman Sachs alumnus who joined Deutsche Bank in 2013 and became one of the lead bankers on the 1MDB account, the people said.

Deutsche Bank was a key lender to the Malaysian state fund. — Bloomberg