Singapore banker admits to money laundering in 1MDB-linked case

A man walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, March 1, 2015. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

Yeo Jiawei, a former banker serving the longest jail term in Singapore’s probes linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd., 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 characterized 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 ($21 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.

The criminal case is Public Prosecutor v Yeo Jiawei, Singapore State Courts.

Also Read: 

Swiss regulator still probing three banks over 1MDB role

Singapore: MAS penalises Credit Suisse, UOB following 2-year 1MDB review

Bloomberg

 

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.