Ex-bank exec in 1MDB case may face yet more charges

A man walking past a 1MDB billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, on March 1, 2015.
A man walking past a 1MDB billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, on March 1, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

Former BSI S'pore employee to be remanded another week as prosecution probes further

Former BSI Singapore wealth planner Yeo Jiawei could face fresh counts in addition to charges of facilitating illicit fund transfers to a close associate of Malaysian tycoon Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low.

Prosecutors said in court yesterday that they are following "new lines of critical enquiries that have opened up".

Yeo, 33, is deemed a "central figure" in a massive probe into the money flows of embattled Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

He was charged last week with using forgery to facilitate the transfer of US$11.95 million (S$16.5 million) from SRC International (Malaysia), a 1MDB-linked entity, to Affinity Equity International Partners, a company controlled by Jho Low associate Tan Kim Loong.

Singapore's Second Solicitor-General, Mr Kwek Mean Luck, said yesterday that Yeo played "no small part in first attempting to mask and then suppress incriminatory evidence pertaining to illicit transactions and money flows in and out of Singapore" over the past three years.

To facilitate the transfer via Pacific Harbor Global Growth Fund - a fund that SRC International Malaysia had subscribed to - Yeo allegedly fraudulently signed a reference letter to Citigroup's head of anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance.

The aim was to dupe the bank into thinking the letter was signed on the authority of BSI Singapore.

Prosecutors said the forgery charge is related to an earlier one.

In the earlier charge, Yeo was accused of having cheated BSI Singapore by hiding the fact that he would get a portion of annual management fees paid to the fund's investment manager, Pacific Harbor Holdings.

"New charges are likely to follow," Mr Kwek told the court.

Mr Philip Fong of Harry Elias, Yeo's lawyer, noted that Yeo has been in remand for 33 days and been investigated by the police since last year. "But despite all this time and apparent effort, only seven charges have been brought against Yeo," he said.

Mr Kwek disagreed, saying: "That misses the point of investigations. The charges may be related, but that does not mean that investigators would have been able to tender them all together.

"There are massive amounts of documents that have to be gone through with (Yeo), and these need to be cross-checked with other documents and witnesses."

Further, Yeo has shown "no qualms in interfering with the investigation and administration of justice".

Mr Kwek alleged that Yeo apparently "told another individual with knowledge of some of these questionable transactions to delete all relevant e-mails and to make himself unavailable for questioning by the CAD", and "told others to suppress and tailor information".

The prosecution says it does not expect to seek further remand beyond two more weeks, and is likely to ask for bail to be denied.

District Judge Christopher Goh yesterday granted the prosecution's request to remand Yeo for another week and allowed Yeo's wife, daughter and a younger brother to have supervised access to him.

Both prosecution and defence were also told to prepare submissions relating to Yeo's bail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2016, with the headline 'Ex-bank exec in 1MDB case may face yet more charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe