A Singapore court has jailed a former wealth manager of Swiss bank BSI for four-and-a-half years for money laundering and cheating in a case linked to investigations into the siphoning off of billions of dollars from Malaysian sovereign fund 1MDB.
A political storm has raged for two years in Malaysia over the scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which is the focus of money-laundering investigations in at least six countries, including Switzerland and the United States.
Singapore public prosecutor Nathaniel Khng described the city-state’s investigation as “the most complex, sophisticated and largest money-laundering case” ever carried out by its white-collar police.
The former banker, Yeo Jiawei, 34, pleaded guilty to money laundering and cheating on Wednesday.
Yeo is already serving a 30-month term on charges of perverting the course of justice by urging witnesses to lie to police and destroy evidence during the investigation into illicitly transferred funds linked to 1MDB.
“The two schemes to secretly profit were dishonestly concealed from BSI Singapore ... and resulted in the accused earning in excess of $3.5 million (CHF3.37 million) in illicit profits,” the public prosecutor said.
Prosecutors previously said Yeo had played a central role in the illicit movement of the 1MDB-linked funds both while he was working at the now defunct BSI Bank Singapore, and afterwards.
In May, Singapore’s central bank said it had ended its review of banks with 1MDB-linked transactions.
As part of the two-year review, Singapore shut down the local units of BSI Bank and Falcon Bank due to failures of money-laundering controls and improper conduct by senior management, froze millions of dollars in bank accounts and charged several private bankers.
A spokeswoman for EFG International, which now owns BSI Bank, declined to comment.
Stefano Coduri, group chief executive of BSI Bank, stepped down after the closure of its Singapore operations last year and the bank said it had taken steps to strengthen management, such as introducing a new chief risk officer and appointing a new group legal counsel.
Two other former BSI staffers have been convicted and sentenced on charges stemming from the money-laundering investigation linked to 1MDB.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/ts