* Inspection to discover why NY state fined the branch
* To complete local investigation within two weeks
* Says received visit from Fed to discuss fintech, not Mega (Adds that a Federal Reserve spokesman declined comment)
By Faith Hung
TAIPEI, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Taiwan’s financial regulator said on Thursday it will send inspectors to Mega Financial Holding Co Ltd’s banking branches in New York and Panama in the government’s latest probe into the state-run bank.
Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) also said it expects to complete its local investigation within two weeks.
The comments come after New York’s state financial regulator fined Mega’s New York banking unit $180 million for violating anti-money laundering regulations, including lax attention to risk exposure in Panama.
“We’ll need consent from U.S. regulators to inspect the branches,” FSC Chairman Ding Kung-Wha said at a news briefing. “If all goes smoothly, our people will leave for the United States next Monday.”
The inspection is to discover what led to the fine and what the unit is working on to improve related issues, Ding said, declining to elaborate.
The FSC’s Banking Bureau received a visit from the U.S. Federal Reserve in October to discuss topics such as financial technology, also known as fintech, said Banking Bureau Director General Austin Chan at the same press conference.
“We did not talk about Mega,” Chan said.
A Federal Reserve spokesman declined to comment.
Earlier on Thursday, Taiwan’s cabinet said it would tighten some of the island’s anti-money laundering regulations to conform more closely to international standards. (Reporting by Faith Hung; Additional reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Meredith Mazzilli)