Singaporean ex-BSI private banker Yeo Jiawei charged amid 1MDB probe

The Swiss bank BSI’s Singapore office at Suntec City Tower 1.
The Swiss bank BSI’s Singapore office at Suntec City Tower 1. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean ex-BSI private banker has been charged with receiving benefits from criminal conduct, the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said on Friday (April 22).

Mr Yeo Jiawei, 33, a former wealth planner with the Singapore unit of Swiss private bank BSI, was charged with an offence under the the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.

"As investigations are on-going, no further details are available at this time," said a statement released by the AGC in response to press queries on Friday (April 22).

 

According to the charge sheet obtained by The Straits Times, Mr Yeo was charged on April 16 for receiving S$200,000 in his Bank of China account on or around Jan 30, 2013.

This amount of money represented his benefits from cheating, said the charge sheet.

While the charge sheet made no mention of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) or any related entities or individuals, Bloomberg reported earlier on Friday that Mr Yeo was charged with money laundering following investigations into 1MDB's money flows.

If found guilty, Mr Yeo could be jailed up to 10 years or fined as much as S$500,000, or both.

The charges in Singapore are the latest twist in the 1MDB saga with authorities in Malaysia, Switzerland, the US and Luxembourg also investigating claims the fund, whose advisory board is headed by Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak, was used to funnel money to politically-connected individuals.

BSI handled accounts for 1MDB and parties including Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments PJSC, an entity the fund did business with, and Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, according to documents entered into Singapore's High Court as part of an effort by another former BSI private banker to unfreeze assets.

Mr Yak Yew Chee had attempted to sue the Singapore Government in order to gain access to some of about S$10 million in his bank accounts frozen by the authorities as part of their 1MDB probe.

Singapore authorities had said in February that they had seized a "large number" of bank accounts over possible money-laundering and other offences linked to alleged financial mismanagement at 1MDB. Most of the bank accounts were seized in the second half of 2015.

The Commercial Affairs Department and the Monetary Authority of Singapore have been investigating possible offences relating to 1MDB since the middle of last year.

Mr Yak was one of several senior employees who have left, or are said to be leaving the BSI Singapore in recent months.

kohping@sph.com.sg