Accused in money laundering case to fight charges

A businessman facing charges relating to his role as a director of three companies allegedly engaged in money laundering here is claiming trial.

Abdul Ghani Tahir, who was charged on March 5 with offences under the Companies Act, and the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (CDSA), told the court yesterday that he will be fighting the allegations.

Three of the charges against the 50-year-old Singaporean are for failing to exercise reasonable diligence in the discharge of his duties as a director of the three companies, all of which are registered in Singapore.

These charges arise from various transfers amounting to $653,093 of stolen funds into the companies.

Abdul Ghani also has to answer to 20 charges stating that due to his neglect, the companies transferred their "benefits from criminal conduct" in "dishonestly receiving stolen property", which are offences under the CDSA.

These charges relate to various fund transfers out of the three companies, totalling $1,302,808.

The combined sum of fund transfers in question, as mentioned in court documents, comes up to about $2 million.

The companies linked to the charges are Kassar Logistics, World Eastern International and Mega Zone International.

Recent records from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority show all three list Romanian nationals as directors and sole company shareholders.

The same records show that Abdul Ghani is listed as a director and secretary in all three private limited outfits, among more than 110 business entities here where he has held various appointments, mostly in roles such as director and/or secretary.

About a quarter of those companies, however, have either been struck off or are gazetted to be struck off.

Abdul Ghani, who is out on bail of $30,000, appeared in court with his cousin and two lawyers - Mr Low Hui Hui, who yesterday told the court that he has handed the case over to Mr Dilip Kumar, the accused's newly engaged defence counsel.

The court heard that Abdul Ghani had initially indicated he would plead guilty but later changed his mind.

The case will be mentioned in the State Courts again on May 5.

This article was published on April 26 in The Straits Times.

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