Remisier fined for bribing analyst over valuation report

A fifth person here has been convicted in connection with the ongoing probe into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Kelvin Ang Wee Keng, a remisier at Maybank Kim Eng Securities until 2015, was fined $9,000 yesterday after pleading guilty to a count of corruption.

District Judge Lim Keng Yeow told the court: "Such acts of corruption must be robustly deterred."

In August 2013, Ang, 35, was asked by former BSI banker Yeo Jiawei, who was also a friend, if he could get the oil field assets of PetroSaudi Oil Services valued.

Ang, who was making about $100,000 a year in commissions at the time, recommended NRA Capital to do the valuation. He later gave NRA Capital research analyst Lee Chee Waiy a $3,000 bribe to speed up preparation of a favourable valuation report.

Ang also made US$235,000 (S$326,000) in referral fees out of US$300,000 paid to NRA Capital.

The prosecution said Ang offered the bribe because he was "concerned that the valuation report would not be ready in time, which could compromise his referral fees".

Deputy Public Prosecutor Vincent Ong, who asked for a $10,000 fine to be imposed, said Ang had given the bribe to "advance his own interest". He noted Ang has agreed to surrender the US$235,000 he received in referral fees.

Mr Hamidul Haq, Ang's lawyer, argued for a $9,000 fine, saying his client "used an uncharacteristic approach of trying to give a carrot instead of going through proper channels". The payment was a "simple- minded action", he said, noting that the bribe was small and its purpose was to expedite the report, as opposed to amending the valuation.

"Because his case is linked to a high-profile case, even though he sits at the bottom of the list of connected persons, his name is tarred with the same brush, and he has had difficulty finding employment," Mr Haq argued.

District Judge Lim said he took into account the three weeks' remand Ang served before being released on bail in May last year when determining the $9,000 fine.

Prosecutors had earlier told the court that Ang had dealt extensively for over two years with Yeo and several others implicated in "improper dealings" related to 1MDB.

Yeo was jailed for 30 months last December for attempting to obstruct justice. He has appealed against his conviction and sentence and faces a separate trial on money-laundering charges.

Two other former BSI bankers, Yak Yew Chee and Yvonne Seah Yew Foong, have also been convicted of related offences.

Yak was jailed for 18 weeks for forgery and failing to disclose suspicious transactions allegedly related to Malaysian tycoon Jho Low, while Seah received two weeks' jail for similar offences. Both were also fined.

Jens Sturzenegger, a former branch manager of the now closed Falcon Private Bank here, was sentenced to 28 weeks' jail and fined after he pleaded guilty to six of 16 counts, including consenting in the bank's failure to comply with Singapore's anti-money laundering rules.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2017, with the headline 'Remisier fined for bribing analyst over valuation report'. Print Edition | Subscribe