Ex-banker's jail term reduced on appeal

Ex-banker's jail term reduced on appeal
Making amends: Lim had paid back the full amount of $2 million he cheated from Khoo Bee See.

SINGAPORE - A former bank relationship manager who cheated the daughter of late banker and philanthropist Khoo Teck Puat of $2 million had his 6 year jail term cut to 4.5 years on appeal yesterday.

Bernard Lim Seng Soon had paid back the full amount to Khoo Bee See, 79, whose father was once Singapore's wealthiest man.

Lim, 39, had also pleaded guilty at an early stage of the proceedings. His lawyer, Senior Counsel Chelva Rajah, argued that among other things, the district court had not given enough weight to both these mitigating factors when sentencing him in March. He pushed for a jail term of not more than four years.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Jeremy Yeo said the restitution did not reduce the extent of Lim's guilt. He added that the offences tainted Singapore's standing as a financial hub.

Justice Chao Hick Tin allowed the appeal, but kept the jail time to more than four years.

In September 2010, Lim told one Rosie Cheong about a new investment product, which never existed.

Ms Cheong, unaware it was fake, passed the information to Madam Khoo, who later agreed to invest.

The money was paid into an RBS Coutts staff account belonging to Lim's wife, Jaime Ho Ai Lin, 36, who was a private banking officer there.

Lim, a Deutsche Bank employee then, withdrew various amounts to buy shares and pay off gambling debts and other loans.

In passing sentence, District Judge Salina Ishak had said that Lim had taken advantage of a procedural loophole at RBS, and had abused his position of trust and his three-year friendship with his client.

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