Two more former BSI senior bankers charged in Singapore court in 1MDB probe

A man walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, March 1, 2015.
A man walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, March 1, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Two former employees of Swiss bank BSI were charged in the ongoing money-laundering probe in the scandal-hit 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Senior private bankers Yak Yew Chee, 57, and Yvonne Seah Yew Foong, 45, were each charged with three charges of forgery and four charges of failing to report information on suspicious transactions to authorities, on Monday.

Both have posted bail of S$35,000 each and surrendered their passport.

This brings to four, the number of individuals who have been charged to date for their involvement in the scandal-hit fund, which is now subject to probes by Swiss, Singaporean and United States prosecutors.

The probes centre on how more than US$3.5 billion (S$4.81 billion) in funds intended to finance development projects across Malaysia were misappropriated.

The trial of former Singaporean BSI banker Yeo Jiawei, who is alleged to have played a key role in the money-laundering operation, on four of 11 charges against him, starts Oct 31 and is scheduled to go on till Nov 11. The four charges are for obstruction of justice. He has also been charged with money laundering, cheating and forgery.

Yeo, 33, is accused of facilitating illicit transactions involving 1MDB that led to the shutdown of Swiss private bank BSI's operations here.

Another Singaporean, Kelvin Ang Wee Keng, who was charged on April 20 with corrupt transactions, was released from remand in May on bail of S$100,000. Mr Ang, believed to be a former remisier at Maybank Kim Eng Securities, was charged with paying former research analyst Lee Chee Waiy S$3,000 to speed up a favorable valuation report on a 1MDB asset held in the Cayman Islands.

"Investigations into 1MDB-related fund flows through Singapore are ongoing," the Attorney General's chamber said in a statement. "Other individuals, including the other BSI Singapore employees named by MAS, are being questioned or investigated,"it added.

Malaysia has been rocked for more than a year by allegations of a massive campaign of fraud and embezzlement surrounding 1MDB. The scandal has prompted calls for the ouster of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who set up 1MDB in 2009.

The US Justice Department has filed lawsuits in the United States in July to recover billions in assets it said were purchased by Mr Najib's relatives and associates with money stolen from 1MDB.