SINGAPORE: Yeo Jiawei, a former banker serving the longest jail term in Singapore’s probes linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), admitted to money laundering.
Yeo, who also pleaded guilty Wednesday to cheating his former employer, was handed a 30-month term in December on charges of trying to tamper with witnesses in the probe.
The former BSI SA wealth planner’s admission of guilt comes after the Monetary Authority of Singapore wrapped up a two-year probe into fund flows related to the Malaysian investment fund. Prosecutors identified Yeo as a central figure linked to Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, who was characterised by U.S. investigators as the controller of a plan to drain billions from 1MDB.
The Malaysian fund, at the heart of several money laundering and corruption probes across the globe, has consistently denied any wrongdoing. Low has previously described his role with 1MDB as informal consulting that didn’t break any laws.
Yeo had referred to Low as “boss” and spent at least one night at his house, according to earlier court proceedings. Yeo said it was a misunderstanding that he worked for Low.
Singapore has imposed a total of S$29.1 million in penalties on eight banks as part of its 1MDB probes. Credit Suisse Group AG and United Overseas Bank Ltd. were among the firms that paid penalties, while BSI and Falcon Private Bank Ltd. were also ordered to shut their local operations. Five people, including Yeo, have been convicted in Singapore, the only country so far to have criminally charged bankers.
Yeo accumulated a net worth of S$23.9 million through “secret profits” in the 15 months after he left BSI in June 2014, prosecutors said in an earlier hearing. Yeo had said the money was earned legitimately.