Former private banker Yak Yew Chee gets 18 weeks jail, fine in 1MDB-related case

SINGAPORE - Yak Yew Chee, the former managing director of Swiss bank BSI, was sentenced to 18 weeks jail and a fine of S$24,000 after pleading guilty to four criminal charges on Friday (Nov 11) before a state court for forgery and failure to flag suspicious transactions in the investigations related to Malaysia's state investor 1MDB.

Yak, 57, was the relationship manager of Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, and the banker in charge of the 1MDB account for Swiss bank BSI.

In October, Yak was slapped with seven criminal charges by the authorities here in connection with Singapore's 1MDB probe. The other three charges are being stood down for consideration in sentencing.

In his mitigation plea, Yak's lawyer Mr Lee Teck Leng noted that Yak was "truly remorseful", and had cooperated with the Commercial Affairs Department in its investigations.

He added that Yak had committed the crimes at the behest of Mr Low, who "was not just my client's biggest customer, but was in fact BSI's biggest customer."

Because of Mr Low's connections, other entities also became clients of BSI, Mr Lee said.

The Singapore police said on Thursday that Mr Low was a person of interest in their continuing probe into an alleged multibillion-dollar money-laundering scheme.

The Malaysian financier is widely considered a mastermind in the financial movements around 1MDB. He has previously denied any wrongdoing.