Ex-banker jailed 54 months for 1MDB-linked money laundering


PETALING JAYA: Following his admission of guilt in carrying out money laundering activities, former BSI Singapore staff Yeo Jiawei was sentenced to 54 months jail in a Singapore court today, Straits Times reported.

The 54-month jail term is also the toughest sentence meted out to any one in Singapore, who was linked to the 1MDB scandal which also resulted in two foreign banks having to shut down operations by the island republic’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Yeo had previously been sentenced to 30 months in jail after he was convicted last December of trying to tamper with witnesses in Singapore’s probes linked to 1MDB.

Earlier today, Yeo, 34, had pleaded guilty and was convicted on one charge each of money laundering and cheating, with eight other charges taken into consideration.

He is to serve his sentence immediately and it will run concurrently with his previous sentence.

Yeo, an ex-wealth manager at Swiss bank BSI, was “one of the main Singapore-based suspects” in the scandal, which is also being investigated by Switzerland and the United States.

In the trial on Yeo’s tampering with witnesses last year, prosecutors said he had accumulated more than S$20 million (RM62 million) through “secret profits” in the 15 months after he left BSI in June 2014.

According to Bloomberg, five people, including Yeo, have been convicted in Singapore, the only country so far to have criminally charged bankers.

Singapore had imposed a total of S$29.1 million in penalties on eight banks following its 1MDB probes.

Allegations that billions of dollars were misappropriated from 1MDB have triggered a scandal in Malaysia that has embroiled Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Both Najib, who founded the fund, and 1MDB have strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Singapore, a regional financial hub, had in 2015 launched a probe into alleged illicit fund flows linked to 1MDB and closed down the local branches of two Swiss banks – BSI and Falcon Private Bank – involved in the scheme.

Singapore authorities also seized nearly US$180 million (RM770 million) in assets.

Half of the assets were linked to Low Taek Jho – known as Jho Low – a jet-setting Malaysian financier who helped set up 1MDB and played a key role in its decisions.

Singapore is the first and only country to date out of at least 10 jurisdictions involved in the probe, that has convicted several facilitators of this scandal.

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