BSI Singapore banker involved in 1MDB investigation leaves firm

The front office of Swiss private bank BSI located at Suntec City.
The front office of Swiss private bank BSI located at Suntec City. PHOTO: ST FILE

KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) - Yak Yew Chee, a BSI Bank Singapore executive whose financial accounts were frozen as part of a probe related to a Malaysian government fund, left the bank in February, according to the firm.

Mr Yak had been a relationship manager for 1MDB Global Investments, a unit of 1Malaysia Development Bhd., whose advisory board is headed by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. 1MDB has been the subject of investigations stretching from the U.S. to Singapore amid allegations of financial irregularities.

Mr Yak's accounts were frozen by Singapore authorities in September and he's been questioned as part of the city-state's 1MDB inquiry. Mr Yak, a senior vice president at BSI, was until recently paid a monthly salary of about S$82,000, according to court papers.

"He is no longer employed by BSI," Valeria Montesoro, a spokeswoman at the Lugano, Switzerland-based bank said in an e-mailed response to queries.

Mr Yak's lawyer Roderick Martin declined to comment. Mr Yak was placed on leave from May to September in 2015 while BSI conducted investigations, according to court papers.

Both Najib and 1MDB have consistently denied any wrongdoing. Singapore's authorities have seized "a large number" of bank accounts in connection with possible money-laundering in the country.

"We fully cooperate with all authorities and regulators if and whenever necessary," Montesoro said in the e-mail.

BSI said on Wednesday Hanspeter Brunner, its Singapore-based head of Asia operations who will turn 64 in April, is to retire in the coming weeks.