4 people allegedly linked to Wirecard case in S'pore charged with criminal breach of trust

They were each handed between two and nine charges. All of them are Singaporeans except for one who is an Indonesian. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Three people who used to work for Wirecard Asia Holding (WAH) - a Singapore subsidiary of German payment processing company Wirecard AG - and a director of another firm are now accused of being part of a conspiracy to misappropriate from WAH various amounts of up to $100,000 on each occasion.

The three former employees are: See Lee Wee, 29, James Aga Wardhana, 39, and Chai Ai Lim, 43.

The fourth person accused is Henry Yeo Chiew Hai, 66, a director at Jacobson Fareast Marketing Services that deals with textiles and leathers.

All four were charged in a Singapore district court on Wednesday (Aug 17) with offences including criminal breach of trust.

They were each handed between two and nine charges. All of them are Singaporeans except for Wardhana, who is an Indonesian.

They are said to have conspired with WAH's then vice-president of controlling and finance, Mr Edo Kurniawan, to commit the offences in 2018.

Mr Kurniawan had left Singapore before investigations started on their alleged offences and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. Details about his nationality were not disclosed in court documents.

Three others, also said to be linked to the Wirecard case, were charged in court earlier.

They are: Briton James Henry O'Sullivan, 47; R. Shanmugaratnam, 56, who was a director at local accounting firm Citadelle Corporate Services; and Thilagaratnam Rajaratnam, 58, a former director at a firm called Strategic Corporate Investments.

The trio's cases are still pending.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said that Wardhana, See and Yeo are also accused of money laundering.

They had allegedly transferred most of the misappropriated amounts to other individuals.

Wardhana and Yeo have also been charged with falsification of accounts.

The SPF added that Wardhana had allegedly abetted Yeo to falsify four invoices totalling $184,870 from Jacobson Fareast Marketing Services to WAH.

The cases involving See, Wardhana, Chai and Yeo have been adjourned to September.

The Straits Times previously reported that Wirecard Singapore had been providing payment processing services to about 1,900 companies here before the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) ordered it to stop on Sept 30, 2020.

MAS also directed the firm to return all customers' funds within two weeks.

Wirecard filed for insolvency in Germany in June 2020 after admitting that €1.9 billion (S$3.2 billion) in cash was missing from its accounts.

The company's former chief executive Markus Braun and several other top executives were then arrested.

German prosecutors later said that they charged Braun and two other high-ranking managers over their alleged offences that led to the collapse of the payment company.

The trio are accused of market manipulation, embezzlement and fraud on a commercial scale.

Locally, for each count of criminal breach of trust, an offender can be jailed for up to 15 years and fined.

For each count of falsification of accounts, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

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