3 men charged over alleged money-laundering activities linked to $4.5m scam

The police said they will not hesitate to take action against those who allow their bank accounts to be used for illegal purposes such as the laundering of criminal proceeds. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - Three men were charged over alleged involvement in money-laundering activities in a district court on Thursday after the police received information that criminal proceeds from investment scams totalling over $4.5 million had been credited into several local bank accounts.

The three Chinese nationals are Zhuang Qianbao, 37, Liu Xin, 37, and Liu Jiannan, 39.

They were among six people - four men and two women - who were caught in an anti-scam operation on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Zhuang was allegedly part of an arrangement with an unknown person to use a bank account to receive the benefits of criminal conduct. He is accused of committing the offence between January and September.

Preliminary investigations indicated that Zhuang had allegedly placed online advertisements and acquired bank accounts with automated teller machine (ATM) cards from unknown individuals.

He is also said to have obtained pre-registered prepaid SIM cards from them.

In a statement on Thursday, the police said these unknown individuals were paid at least $800 for each bank account and $50 for each pre-registered prepaid SIM card.

Zhuang is also believed to have withdrawn the criminal proceeds from the bank accounts.

The two women, aged 20 and 51, are believed to have facilitated the money-laundering activities by withdrawing cash from the bank accounts and handing the money to Zhuang.

Another bank account holder, a 32-year-old man, had allegedly sold and relinquished his bank account and ATM card to Zhuang in July.

According to court documents, Liu Jiannan is said to have made 19 withdrawals involving ill-gotten gains totalling more than $210,000 from a bank account in January.

Liu Xin allegedly made 11 similar withdrawals totalling $46,000 from another bank account between January and February.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the pair had allegedly been withdrawing money from the bank accounts before converting the criminal proceeds into cryptocurrencies since January.

The police said in their statement that they will not hesitate to take action against those involved in arrangements to allow their bank accounts to be used for illegal purposes such as the laundering of criminal proceeds.

They added: "To avoid being an accomplice to crimes, members of the public should always reject requests by others to open and sell bank accounts, or receive money in their bank accounts, as they will be held accountable if these are linked to criminal activities."

The cases involving Zhuang, Liu Xin and Liu Jiannan have been adjourned to Sept 22.

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