Ex-BSI banker Yeo Jiawei faces three more charges in 1MDB-linked probe

Singapore authorities brought three more charges against Yeo Jiawei, former BSI private banker caught up in probes related to 1MDB.
Singapore authorities brought three more charges against Yeo Jiawei, former BSI private banker caught up in probes related to 1MDB.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Three additional charges were slapped on a former private wealth banker, described by prosecutors as playing a central role in the sweeping money-laundering probe linked to embattled state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Yeo Jiawei, 33, formerly with Swiss private bank BSI, was charged with cheating the bank in 2013 by dishonest concealmeant, transferring funds which represented his benefit from cheating and perverting the course of justice, bringing the total charges against him to six.

Prosecutors had already accused him of attempting to pervert the course of justice, cheating his former employer and money laundering in previous charges, the first of which was brought on April 16.

Yeo had reportedly proposed investment products to 1MDB while at BSI and was questioned as part of Singapore's probe.

District Judge Christopher Goh granted the prosecution's application to remand Yeo for another week but allowed him "reasonable" access to his lawyer Phillip Fong of Harry Elias, with arrangements to be made by the Commercial Affairs Department.

Second Solicitor-General Kwek Mean Luck, in arguing for Yeo to be further remanded, said he "played a key role and schemed directly with those responsible for this complex web of criminal transactions and activities."

"Yeo himself has received secret profits of about US$4 million (S$5.4 million) ..when he was in BSI. It is believed that the total amount that he has received from illicit transactions are well in excess of the amount," Mr Kwek said.

"Further, he has also taken extraordinary steps to cover his involvement and to also disguise the flows of illicit monies to himself and his family members," he said.

In explaining prosecution's earlier concerns with granting access to his lawyer, Mr Kwek told the court that investigators found that significant sums of money were transferred on behalf of Yeo to Mr Fong's firm, "likely constitute proceeds linked to criminal conduct."

Mr Fong responded, saying this remains a "bare assertion".

"Until we have spoken with my client to ascertain, this rises to greater urgency that Yeo has access to counsel so we can be in position to clear this up," he said.

gleong@sph.com.sg