Conspiracy to launder over $2m: Five charged

Five men were yesterday charged with being part of a conspiracy to launder more than $2 million through shell companies.

One of them, Tan Hock Keat, a 34-year-old Malaysian, had allegedly taken instructions from an unidentified man to open corporate bank accounts in the name of shell companies.

He was previously the director of DM Advisory, a Singapore-based firm that provided corporate secretarial services.

Tan is accused of engaging bank officer Phua Wee Hao, a 33-year-old Singaporean, to recruit nominee directors for the shell companies.

Between 2016 and 2019, the Singapore Police Force's Commercial Affairs Department received eight police reports from victims who were allegedly deceived into wiring around US$1.67 million (S$2.24 million) into the bank accounts of six shell companies.

The firms are Plutusteam, Glidertex, Birseltex Global, Temco Industrial, Integrated Invest and Modelana Trading.

The police said there was also an attempted transfer of around HK$3.24 million (S$559,000) into the bank account of Jiangsu Chengde Steel Tube Share Co - a Chinese firm that produced steel tubes - but it did not go through as the bank account was closed.

Tan and Phua were charged yesterday with entering into an arrangement to retain benefits from criminal conduct under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes Act.

The Singaporean nominee directors - Wong Zhang Jie, 32, Wong Poh Kiong, 47, and Low Ruey Ming, 32 - were charged with failing to act honestly and exercise diligence as company directors.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2021, with the headline 'Conspiracy to launder over $2m: Five charged'. Subscribe