Yeo Jiawei, a former banker serving the longest jail term in Singapore’s probes linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd., admitted to charges including money laundering.
Yeo, who also pleaded guilty Wednesday to cheating his former employer, agreed to help with Singapore’s money-laundering investigation, which prosecutors described as the largest in the country’s history. He was sentenced to 54 months in jail by a Singapore state court. The former BSI SA wealth planner was handed a 30-month term in December on charges of trying to tamper with witnesses in the probe.
Principal District Judge Ong Hian Sun said on Wednesday that the courts must take an “uncompromising stance” to safeguard the integrity of Singapore’s financial system.
Yeo’s admission of guilt came after the Monetary Authority of Singapore wrapped up a two-year probe into flows related to the Malaysian investment fund. Prosecutors named him as a central figure linked to Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, who was identified by Singapore police as a “key person of interest” in their probe. Low has also been characterized by U.S. investigators as the controller of a plan to drain billions from 1MDB.
The Malaysian fund, at the heart of several money laundering and corruption probes across the globe, has consistently denied any wrongdoing. Low has previously described his role with 1MDB as informal consulting that didn’t break any laws.
Yeo had referred to Low as “boss” and spent at least one night at his house, according to earlier court proceedings. Yeo previously said it was a misunderstanding that he worked for Low.
Singapore has imposed a total of S$29.1 million ($21 million) in penalties on eight banks as part of its 1MDB probes. Credit Suisse Group AG and United Overseas Bank Ltd. were among the firms that paid penalties, while BSI and Falcon Private Bank Ltd. were also ordered to shut their local operations. Five people, including Yeo, have been convicted in Singapore, the only country so far to have criminally charged bankers.
Yeo accumulated a net worth of S$23.9 million through “secret profits” in the 15 months after he left BSI in June 2014, prosecutors said in an earlier hearing. Yeo had said the money was earned legitimately.
Yeo’s lawyer Derek Kang said Wednesday that his client came from a humble background and had “no chance” of working again in the finance industry. Yeo will give up the profits he made from the offenses, Kang said.
The criminal case is Public Prosecutor v Yeo Jiawei, Singapore State Courts. –Bloomberg