1MDB scandal: Ex-BSI banker Yeo Jiawei told others 'to lie'

BSI office at Suntec City.
PHOTO: Reuters

THE first person to be tried for an alleged role in a money-laundering operation linked to scandal-hit 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund began here yesterday.

Former BSI banker Yeo Jiawei faces four charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Seven other charges, which concern cheating, money laundering and forgery, will be stood down.

Prosecutors said yesterday this is the "most complex, sophisticated and largest money laundering case" handled by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and involved the movement of "staggering amounts of moneys across jurisdictions over... several years".

Yeo, a 33-year-old Singaporean, was employed by Swiss-based BSI as a wealth planner here between December 2009 and July 2014. He is alleged to have amassed $26 million from various sources, including illicit schemes to defraud BSI while as an employee.

Yeo is accused of facilitating illicit transactions involving 1MDB that led to the closure of BSI's office here.

One charge alleges that after his release on police bail, he arranged a meeting on March 27 this year at the Pergola Cafe in the Swiss Club at Swiss Club Road.

The meeting involved Yeo, his associate Samuel Goh Sze Wei and Kevin Swampillai, BSI's head of wealth management services.

Yeo allegedly told them to lie to police by saying that funds transferred by Mr Goh to Bridgerock Investment and GTB Investment, both beneficially owned by Yeo and Mr Swampillai, were Mr Goh's investments.

After he left BSI, Yeo is alleged to have continued with illicit transactions connected to the money laundering case. Some of these were allegedly conducted through Amicorp Group, which provides legal and corporate support services.

Yeo was concerned Amicorp employees Jose Renato Carvalho Pinto and Mun Enci Aloysius, who had received instructions from Yeo in relation to these transactions, would be interviewed by the CAD.

Yeo was charged with "intentionally perverting the course of justice" when he allegedly told Mr Carvalho to dispose of his laptop, which would likely contain evidence of Yeo's dealings with Amicorp, and to "not travel to Singapore to avoid being interviewed" by the CAD.

Yeo was also charged with "abetting" Mr Carvalho to tell Mr Aloysius to lie about not knowing of Yeo's dealings with Amicorp if he was questioned by the CAD.

The trial is expected to run until Nov 11.

gleong@sph.com.sg


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