Singapore files three new charges against ex-BSI banker in 1MDB probe

Singapore files three new charges against ex-BSI banker in 1MDB probe

SINGAPORE prosecutors slapped three new charges on former BSI wealth manager Yeo Jiawei who was described as having "schemed directly with those responsible for this complex web of criminal transactions and activities" in court on Thursday.

The charges brought against Yeo who once again appeared in court via video link - he is one of two accused so far - is a result of the Singapore authorities' probe into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

In his submission in Singapore's state court for Yeo to be further remanded, Second Solicitor-General Kwek Mean Luck said the 33-year-old played a key role in activities that were not limited to money laundering across jurisdictions which involved "staggering amounts" but had also allegedly received "secret profits" to the tune of US$4 million through Bridgerock Investment Inc (an entity beneficially owned by Yeo) when he was in BSI.

"It is believed that the total amount that he has received from illicit transactions, are well in excess of this amount," said Mr Kwek, adding that not unlike his "principals", Yeo has also taken "extraordinary steps to cover his involvement and to also disguise the flows of illicit monies" to himself and his family members.

Mr Kwek also submitted that Yeo has shown "no qualms in attempting to subvert the course of justice, no qualms in asking other witnesses to lie and to interfere with investigations".

One of the three new charges Yeo was charged with include cheating his employer BSI Bank by dishonestly concealing that he would receive, through Bridgerock Investment, a portion of the fees paid to Pacific Harbor Holdings Limited (PHHL) - the investment manager of Pacific Harbor Global Growth Limited - and dishonestly inducing BSI, the referrer of the transaction, to enter into an agreement with PHHL on March 25, 2013.

He was also charged with attempting to intentionally pervert the course of justice on or about March 27, 2016, by asking Kevin Swampillai to falsely inform the police that the monies which Samuel Goh Sze-Wei transferred to Bridgerock Investment and GTB Investment Ltd were Mr Goh's investments.

The third charge alleged that Yeo transferred US$500,000 that were benefits from criminal conduct from a Malayan Banking Berhad account in the name of Bridgerock Investment to an OCBC account in the name of Yishun Aquarium, which represented benefits from cheating.

The latest charges bring the tally up to six charges against Yeo who has been held in custody for 21 days so far; the earlier three charges involve money laundering, cheating and intentionally perverting the course of justice.

Yeo's lawyer, Philip Fong of Harry Elias Partnership, argued that while other employees, past and present, of BSI who could explain the complex transactions were also being questioned and investigated by Singapore's Commercial Affairs Department, unlike Yeo, they were not in remand.

"So, it is not necessary for my client to be kept in remand when there are many other employees doing so without being kept in remand," he said.

District Judge Christopher Goh granted prosecution's request to further remand Yeo with reasonable access to counsel.

This article was first published on May 5, 2016.
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