Private banker Yak Yew Chee earned S$27 million between 2011 and 2014 in salary and bonuses

Private banker Yak Yew Chee filed an application on Friday (Feb 5) to withdraw his request to release frozen funds.
Private banker Yak Yew Chee filed an application on Friday (Feb 5) to withdraw his request to release frozen funds.PHOTO: REUTERS
Lawyer Roderick Martin, representing BSI private banker Yak Yew Chee, leaves the supreme court in Singapore on Feb 5, 2016.
Lawyer Roderick Martin, representing BSI private banker Yak Yew Chee, leaves the supreme court in Singapore on Feb 5, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Private banker Yak Yew Chee appeared to be a star employee who had fallen out of favour with Swiss bank BSI.

Mr Yak, who started working at BSI since 2009, was put on unpaid leave between May and September last year, while the bank launched investigations on whether there had been any wrongdoings relating to client accounts.

Prior to being put on leave, Mr Yak had signed a declaration, on April 27, 2015, stating that he did not give or receive any benefits from managing the accounts of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments PJSC and Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho.

Court papers revealed that Mr Yak had claimed for the past four years, from 2011 to 2015, he earned more than $27 million in salary and bonuses from the bank.

His base annual salary had jumped from $500,000 in 2011, to $600,000 the following year, and then to $1 million from 2013 onwards.

Mr Yak was also commended by the chief executive of the BSI Group, Dr Alfredo Gysi, in a letter dated Dec 12, 2011, for his business successes and contributions to the bank.

 
 

The bonuses that he was given saw big jumps during the same period. In 2011, he earned some $649,000 in bonuses, and subsequently more than $2.5 million the following year. In 2013, his bonus ballooned to nearly $9.6 million and in 2014, it grew to $10.5 million.

But in a separate set of court papers, the bank's lawyer Drew & Napier said that it had paid a total of $19.1 million to the banker from 2011 to 2015.

BSI, as part of its investigation, had asked Mr Yak repeatedly to go to its office in Suntec City, from August to September. Mr Yak had refused to comply with the instructions until Oct 1.

In a series of 23 e-mails and letters exchanged between Mr Yak and BSI, reproduced in the court papers, Mr Yak had denied any wrongdoing.

Instead he asserted that the bank was trying to terminate him and deny him of some $8.8 million of bonus that have not yet been paid.

It appears that Mr Yak is still under the employment of the bank, for he was last paid his monthly salary of nearly $83,000 via a cheque dated Jan 27, 2016.

kohping@sph.com.sg