Trial of former BSI banker linked to 1MDB starts

BSI’s Singapore office at Suntec City Tower 1.
BSI’s Singapore office at Suntec City Tower 1.PHOTO: ST FILE

The trial of the first person in Singapore charged in connection with the money-laundering operation linked to the scandal-hit 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund kicked off yesterday.

Former BSI banker Yeo Jiawei, 33, faces four charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Seven other charges, which concern cheating, money laundering and forgery, will be stood down.

Prosecutors said yesterday that this is the "most complex, sophisticated and largest money-laundering case" handled by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).

The Singaporean was employed by Swiss-based BSI as a wealth planner here between December 2009 and July 2014. He allegedly amassed $26 million from various sources, including illicit schemes to defraud BSI while he was an employee.

Yeo is accused of facilitating illicit transactions involving 1MDB that led to the closure of BSI here.

 

One charge alleges that after his release on police bail, he arranged a meeting on March 27 this year in Pergola Cafe at Swiss Club in Swiss Club Road with his associate, Mr Samuel Goh Sze-Wei, and Mr Kevin Swampillai, BSI's head of wealth management services.

Yeo allegedly told them to lie to the police by saying that funds transferred by Mr Goh to Bridgerock Investment and GTB Investment, beneficially owned by Yeo and Mr Swampillai respectively, were Mr Goh's investments.

After he left BSI, Yeo is alleged to have continued with illicit transactions connected to the case. Some of these were allegedly conducted through legal and corporate services provider Amicorp Group.

Yeo was concerned that Amicorp employees Jose Renato Carvalho Pinto and Mun Enci Aloysius, who had received instructions from him in relation to these transactions, would be interviewed by the CAD.

He allegedly told Mr Carvalho to dispose of his laptop, and to "not travel to Singapore to avoid being interviewed" by the CAD.

Yeo was also charged with "abetting" Mr Carvalho to tell Mr Aloysius to lie about not knowing of Yeo's dealings with Amicorp if he was questioned by the CAD.

The trial is expected to run until Nov 11.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2016, with the headline 'Trial of former BSI banker linked to 1MDB starts'. Print Edition | Subscribe