ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland's financial regulator FINMA has opened an investigation into Swiss bank BSI's former Asia chief executive Hans Peter Brunner, his lawyer said on Wednesday, confirming a report by Swiss newspaper Handelszeitung.

Asked whether the regulator had opened proceedings against Brunner, Brunner's lawyer Benno Hafner said: "That is correct, this procedure exists."

The newspaper said the enforcement proceedings could lead to a multi-year ban from working in finance among other penalties.

BSI is currently appealing a decision by FINMA in May that BSI breached money laundering regulations through business relationships and transactions linked to the corruption scandals surrounding Malaysian state-owned fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

1MDB is at the center of a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal and its transactions have triggered investigations on three continents.

FINMA had also ordered BSI to shut down once it had been integrated into EFG International <EFGN.S>, which is buying the Swiss private bank. Singapore also closed down BSI's operations.

FINMA said in May that it had launched enforcement proceedings investigating two former BSI managers. It did not name them.

FINMA declined to comment.

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz and Angelika Gruber. Editing by Jane Merriman)