MAS slaps life ban on former BSI Bank wealth manager

The MAS bans against Yeo Jiawei (left) and Mr Kevin Scully prohibit their involvement with financial advisory firms in Singapore.
The MAS bans against Yeo Jiawei (left) and Mr Kevin Scully prohibit their involvement with financial advisory firms in Singapore.

Yeo Jiawei was key figure in S'pore's 1MDB probe; NRA Capital founder gets 3-year ban

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued a lifetime ban against former BSI Bank wealth manager Yeo Jiawei, and a three-year ban against NRA Capital founder Kevin Scully, which took effect on Monday.

These bans, or prohibition orders (POs), prevent Yeo and Mr Scully from providing any financial advisory services; and taking part in the management of, acting as a director of, or becoming a substantial shareholder of any financial advisory firm in Singapore.

Yeo, who emerged as a key figure in Singapore's probe into Malaysian state wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), was investigated by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and "convicted on a number of charges, including money laundering, cheating, and tampering of witnesses during CAD's investigation", MAS said.

MAS found that Mr Scully, chief executive of licensed financial adviser NRA Capital - which had been appointed to value PetroSaudi Oil Services - had "failed to ensure that NRA's valuation of PetroSaudi was carried out with sufficient care, judgment and objectivity".

Investigators claimed inflated PetroSaudi valuations were used to justify and obscure improper fund transfers at the heart of the 1MDB scandal. In addition, the United States Justice Department alleged that US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion) from Malaysia's government coffers, meant for 1MDB's joint venture with PetroSaudi, was siphoned off to Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho.

When contacted, Mr Scully told The Business Times that he will resign from his designation at NRA and that "the staff will take over the business if they want to".

Including these latest actions, MAS has issued POs against eight people involved in 1MDB-related breaches. Other POs served by the MAS include six-year bans to Maybank Kim Eng Securities' former remisier Kelvin Ang and NRA's former head of research Lee Chee Waiy; as well as a 10-year ban to former director of Goldman Sachs (South-east Asia) Tim Leissner, who was the lead banker to the fund; and a 15-year ban to former BSI Bank representative Yvonne Seah. 1MDB's bonds were underwritten by Goldman Sachs International, the bank's London-based unit.

Investigators claimed inflated PetroSaudi valuations were used to justify and obscure improper fund transfers at the heart of the 1MDB scandal. In addition, the United States Justice Department alleged that US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion) from Malaysia's government coffers, meant for 1MDB's joint venture with PetroSaudi, was siphoned off to Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho.

In its statement last month, MAS said Ang had bribed Mr Lee with $3,000 to expedite the preparation of a valuation report on PetroSaudi. Mr Lee had accepted the bribe and "applied inappropriate methodology and assumptions in the valuation" of PetroSaudi, MAS noted.

Besides Yeo, two others related to the 1MDB case have also been slapped with lifetime bans, namely BSI Bank's former managing director Yak Yew Chee and former Falcon Private Bank (Singapore) branch manager Jens Sturzenegger.


Penalties meted out

INDIVIDUALS

Yeo Jiawei

Former wealth planner at BSI Bank

• Sentenced to 30 months' jail on Dec 22 last year over four charges of witness tampering related to 1MDB investigations.

• Issued a lifetime prohibition order (PO) with effect from Monday.

Kevin Scully

CEO at NRA Capital

• Issued a three-year PO with effect from Monday.

Lee Chee Waiy

Former head of research at NRA

• Issued a six-year PO with effect from Oct 30.

Kelvin Ang Wee Keng

Former remisier at MayBank Kim Eng Securities

• Issued a six-year PO with effect from Oct 30.

Jens Sturzenegger

Former branch manager of Falcon Private Bank (Singapore)

• Sentenced to 28 weeks' jail and fined $128,000 on Jan 11 this year over six charges, including consenting to Falcon bank's failure to file suspicious transaction reports, failing to disclose information on suspicious outflows from Falcon bank, and furnishing false information to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Commercial Affairs Department.

• Issued a lifetime PO with effect from May 29.

Tim Leissner

Former director of Goldman Sachs (South-east Asia)

• Issued a 10-year PO with effect from March 13.

Yak Yew Chee

Former managing director of BSI Bank

• Sentenced to 18 weeks' jail and fined $24,000 on Nov 11 last year over four charges, including forging reference letters to misrepresent or conceal the net worth of Mr Jho Low; and failing to report suspicious movement of funds by Mr Low.

• Issued a lifetime PO with effect from May 29 this year.

Yvonne Seah Mei Ying

Ex-representative of BSI Bank

• Sentenced to two weeks' jail and fined $10,000 on Dec 16 last year over three charges, including intentionally aiding Yak to forge reference letters to misrepresent Mr Low's net worth or conceal the source of Mr Low's fund transfers; and failing to report suspicious movement of funds by Mr Low.

• Issued a 15-year PO with effect from May 29 this year.

FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

• BSI Bank - $13.3 million fine

• Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore branch - $5.2 million fine

• Falcon Bank - $4.3 million fine

• Coutts & Co, Singapore branch - $2.4 million fine

• UBS, Singapore branch - $1.3 million fine

• DBS Bank - $1 million fine

• United Overseas Bank - $900,000 fine

• Credit Suisse - $700,000 fine

MAS also shut down two merchant banks - BSI Bank and Falcon Private Bank - in view of serious breaches of anti-money laundering requirements, and improper conduct by their senior management.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2017, with the headline 'MAS slaps life ban on former BSI Bank wealth manager'. Print Edition | Subscribe