Malaysiakini News

'1MDB-linked BSI banker splurged RM27.4m on prime properties'

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Convicted former BSI banker Yeo Jiawei allegedly went on a A$8.2 million (RM27.4 million) property-buying spree while he was working on deals related to 1MDB as a wealth manager at the bank, reported an Australian daily.

"Yeo Jiawei’s foray into Australian property began with a A$1.3 million (RM4.3 million) luxury oceanfront apartment in Surfers Paradise, which he bought in 2014 direct from a collapsed developer.

"Guardian Australia can reveal that Yeo is a director of a Seychelles-registered company that then paid a further A$6.9 million (RM23 million) for commercial properties in Broadbeach, the tourist town’s trendy dining precinct, a year later," reported the daily in an exclusive report yesterday.

Yeo, who was accused of being the personal banker for Malaysian businessman and key 1MDB figure Jho Low, was eventually convicted for tampering with witnesses involved in Singapore's probe into money laundering involving 1MDB.

During the case, the court was told Yeo had acquired A$6 million (RM20.07 million) worth of Australian properties while allegedly playing a central role in the movement of S$23.9 million (RM75.5 million) purportedly linked to 1MDB.

Separate money-laundering charges against Yeo are due to be heard this April, and the 34-year-old has denied the charges.

The Guardian said property records in Australia showed that Yeo paid A$1.3 million (RM4.35 million) in October 2014 for a fifth-floor apartment in the Soul building, the Gold Coast’s second-tallest highrise.

"Two months later a Seychelles-registered company called Connect Capital Global Investments Limited, of which Yeo is a director, obtained an Australian business number.

"It also registered to pay goods and services tax, indicating a predicted annual income of A$75,000 (RM250,000) or more.

"Connect Capital is based in the Seychelles, where it was registered with the help of Offshore Incorporations, a rival of Mossack Fonseca, the company at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal that shone a light on the secretive world of tax havens," wrote the Australian daily.

"In September 2015 Connect Capital registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission as a foreign company, lodging documents showing its local agent is Australian Taxation Accountants in Surfers Paradise, which provides its registered office.

"The next month Connect Capital paid A$2.4 million (RM8.02 million) for four retail premises, now housing pizza and seafood restaurants, in the ground floor of a building in Broadbeach," it reported.

In addition, a week before Christmas 2015 Connect Capital paid almost A$3.4 million (RM11.36 million) for a further two retail premises nearby in Broadbeach, and four days later over A$1 million (RM3.34 million) for a neighbouring shopfront in the same building.

"A spokesperson for Australian Taxation Accountants said the company had no idea of Yeo’s legal travails and said it was a 'shock' to hear of his conviction and further charges," reported The Guardian.

(Report based on approximate current exchange rate of A$1 to RM 3.34)

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