Malaysiakini NEWS

Two more charges for ex-BSI banker in 1MDB-linked case

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A former banker with Swiss-based wealth manager BSI Bank, Yeo Jiawei, who has been accused of laundering funds from 1MDB, is now faced with two more witness-tampering charges in a Singapore court, reports The Straits Times.

The daily said the new counts bring the total number of obstruction-of-justice charges against Yeo to four, all of which are set to be heard from Oct 31 to Nov 11.

He now faces a total of 11 charges, ranging from money-laundering and cheating to forgery and obstruction of justice.

Yeo, 33, stands accused of facilitating illicit transactions involving 1MDB, which prompted Singapore regulators to shut down the bank's operations.

According to the The Straits Times further, Yeo was additionally charged yesterday with "intentionally perverting the course of justice."

This was alleged to have taken place in March this year, when he told Pinto Jose Renato Carvalho to dispose of his laptop, which would likely contain evidence of Yeo's dealings with Amicorp Group.

Amicorp provides assurance, administrative, legal, corporate secretarial and support services.

Yeo also allegedly told Carvalho "not to travel to Singapore to avoid being interviewed" by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).

In addition, The Straits Times reported, Yeo was also being charged with "abetting" and instigating Carvalho in March to tell one Mun Enci Aloysius to give false information if he was questioned by the CAD.

The Singapore newspaper has contacted Amicorp chief operating officer Kiran Kumar for comment, but was told that he was unable to comment on an ongoing investigation.

The daily noted that Amicorp Fund Services, part of Amicorp Group, is one of several fund managers that allegedly managed 1MDB-related funds.

Audit firm Deloitte had reportedly told the Malaysian parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in April that 1MDB deposited US$1.57 billion with BSI in Switzerland, which was subsequently invested in funds managed by firms that included Amicorp Fund Services.

Tampered with at least five witnesses

According to the daily, Singapore prosecutors have asked the High Court in May to give early trial dates for Yeo's witness-tampering charges.

Second solicitor-general Kwek Mean Luck cited evidence that Yeo had tampered with at least five witnesses on at least five occasions, including asking one to destroy evidence.

It was also alleged in March that Yeo had asked his manager, Kevin Swampillai, to falsely inform police that money transferred to Bridgerock Investment, a firm controlled by Yeo, belonged to someone else.

Yeo has been in custody since April 16 and was denied bail yesterday. A criminal case disclosure conference on his case has been fixed for Sept 8.

He was one of five former employees of BSI whom Singapore's central bank has referred to the public prosecutor for possible criminal charges.

In Switzerland, the Swiss authorities have also begun criminal proceedings against the private bank, which is part of an international crackdown on financial entities that have dealt with 1MDB's funds shell game.

1MDB is also being investigated by the police in Malaysia, though as yet no one has been charged or arrested despite the PAC recommending criminal proceedings against the 1MDB management and board for weaknesses and mismanagement.

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