Singapore Trial Witness Links Banker to Alleged 1MDB Figure

Singapore Trial Witness Links Banker to Alleged 1MDB Figure

Wealth manager Yeo Jiawei went to work with or for financier Jho Low after leaving BSI Bank, his one-time boss testified

SINGAPORE—A witness linked a former private banker on trial here to a young financier global investigators say was at the center of the misappropriation of billions of dollars from Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB.

Wealth manager Yeo Jiawei, 33, went to work with or for the financier, Jho Low, after leaving BSI Bank Ltd. in Singapore in 2014, his one-time boss Kevin Swampillai testified in court.

Mr. Yeo traveled with Mr. Low on business and communicated secretly with others via encrypted messaging apps after leaving BSI, Mr. Swampillai testified, saying Mr. Yeo spoke to him of his work with Mr. Low. Mr. Low, whose full name is Low Taek Jho , couldn’t be reached for comment. His whereabouts have been unknown for more than a year. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Mr. Swampillai, formerly Mr. Yeo’s superior as head of wealth management at BSI, was testifying as a prosecution witness in the second day of Mr. Yeo’s trial on four charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice. The trial has provided a rare glimpse into the inner workings of alleged fraud involving Mr. Low, and the role of Mr. Yeo while he worked for the local branch of Swiss bank BSI SA.

Investigators in at least five countries are probing the finances of the Malaysian fund, whose full name is 1Malaysia Development Bhd., which regulators say banked with BSI in Singapore. Swiss investigators say they believe as much as US$4 billion was misappropriated from the fund through several banks including BSI.

1MDB has denied wrongdoing and said it will cooperate with any lawful investigation.

In his testimony, Mr. Swampillai said that at BSI he and Mr. Yeo had secretly earned millions of dollars from a scheme they set up to collect referral fees from managing clients’ money. Mr. Yeo has been charged with cheating BSI; his lawyer says he will fight all charges against him. Mr. Swampillai hasn’t been charged with any crime.

BSI declined to comment on Mr. Swampillai’s testimony.

After leaving BSI, Mr. Yeo communicated with Mr. Swampillai via the encrypted messaging app Telegram using phone numbers that weren’t their usual contact numbers, Mr. Swampillai testified. He said Mr. Yeo was known as “James” inside social circles with Mr. Low, and talked to him about traveling with Mr. Low on his private jet. Mr. Yeo also attended a high-profile boxing match in the U.S. where Mr. Low was present, Mr. Swampillai testified.

Singapore Trial Witness Links Banker to Alleged 1MDB Figure
Nov. 1, 2016 – WSJ


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