—(1) No bank in Singapore shall acquire or hold, directly or indirectly, a major stake in any company without the prior approval of the Authority.
(2) The Authority shall not ordinarily grant its approval under subsection (1) if the company carries on, whether as its principal business or otherwise, any prohibited business.
(3) Notwithstanding subsection (2), the Authority may, in the circumstances of a particular case, grant its approval for a bank in Singapore to acquire or hold, directly or indirectly, a major stake in a company which carries on any prohibited business.
(3A) Any approval granted by the Authority under this section to a bank to acquire or hold, directly or indirectly, a major stake in a company may be subject to such conditions as the Authority may determine, including any condition relating to the operations or activities of the company.
(3B) The Authority may at any time add to, vary or revoke any condition imposed under subsection (3A).
(4) This section shall not apply to —
any interest held by way of security for the purposes of a transaction entered into in the ordinary course of the business of the bank in Singapore;
any shareholding or interest acquired or held by a bank in Singapore in the course of satisfaction of debts due to it which is disposed of at the earliest suitable opportunity; and
such other interest as may be prescribed.
(5) The Authority may, by regulations —
exclude the operation of this section in respect of any company or class of companies, subject to such conditions as may be prescribed;
provide for the manner of computation of major stakes; and
provide that any interest or control referred to in the definition of “major stake” in subsection (7), that is acquired or held, directly or indirectly, by a company in which a bank has, directly or indirectly, a major stake shall be deemed to be acquired or held by the bank.
(6) Any bank which contravenes this section or fails to comply with any condition imposed or prescribed under this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $250,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding $25,000 for every day or part thereof during which the offence continues after conviction.
(7) In this section —
“major stake” means —
any beneficial interest exceeding 10% of the total number of issued shares in a company;
control over more than 10% of the voting power in a company; or
any interest in a company, where the directors of the company are accustomed or under an obligation, whether formal or informal, to act in accordance with the bank’s directions, instructions or wishes, or where the bank is in a position to determine the policy of the company;
(8) This section shall not affect any acquisition or holding of a major stake which was approved by the Authority before 18th July 2001*.
* Date of commencement of the Banking (Amendment) Act 2001 (Act 23 2001).