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Singapore jails third banker in Malaysian 1MDB scandal

Dec 22. 2016
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By Agence France-Presse

SINGAPORE - Singapore on Thursday jailed a third private banker for his role in an international money-laundering scandal involving neighbouring Malaysia's state fund 1MDB.

Singaporean Yeo Jiawei, a former wealth manager with Swiss bank BSI, was sentenced to 30 months for witness tampering and obstructing the city-state's 1MDB-linked investigations. 

    The 33-year-old was convicted on Wednesday following a 12-day trial earlier this year.

    In handing down the sentence, judge Ng Peng Hong said he had taken into consideration Yeo's efforts to frustrate investigations, findings of money-laundering and cheating, and the fact that Yeo had committed the offences while on bail.

    Other charges of money-laundering, cheating and forgery will be tried next year. 

    Yeo's lawyer told reporters after the hearing that Yeo was  "seriously considering" an appeal against his conviction and sentence.

    State prosecutors had pushed for a 36-month sentence. 

    Allegations that huge sums were misappropriated from 1MDB through money-laundering have triggered a corruption scandal which has embroiled Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

    It was revealed during Yeo's trial that he had close working ties with Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, a family friend of Najib.

    Najib founded the 1MDB fund while Low helped set it up and played a key role in its decisions. Both men have strongly denied any wrongdoing.

    Singapore, a regional financial hub known for its transparency and strong stance against corruption, last year launched a probe into alleged unlawful fund flows linked to 1MDB.

    Local authorities have seized nearly $180 million in assets, with half linked to Low. 

    BSI and another Swiss bank, Falcon, were kicked out of the city-state this year for what regulators called massive lapses in financial controls. Swiss banks were allegedly used to transfer illicit funds.

    Two other former private bankers from BSI have also been jailed in Singapore for fraud in connection with the case.



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