16
Jul
17

1MDB a ‘victim’ of Jho Low, Singapore prosecutors say

1MDB a ‘victim’ of Jho Low, Singapore prosecutors say

(July 12): Prosecutors in Singapore said Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho is the central figure in probes linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd, and that he used money traceable to the state fund for his own benefit.

Low received “huge” sums of money, the prosecutors said in court filings made public on Wednesday. About US$1 billion that 1MDB was purported to invest in a joint venture with PetroSaudi International Ltd was diverted to a bank account beneficially owned by Low, according to the filings.

“The main victim in this case is 1MDB,” prosecutor Nathaniel Khng said in a Singapore state court. “Jho Low has gone missing from the public eye.”

Singapore’s investigations into 1MDB-related activities has so far seen five people convicted, four of whom have been sentenced to jail. The city-state is the only country so far to have criminally charged bankers.

The probes are part of a worldwide effort to track how much of the US$6 billion that 1MDB raised for development projects was used to pay for luxury real estate, art, lavish parties and more. The U.S. and Switzerland are among the countries also investigating the roles played by banks and individuals. Low has been characterized by U.S. investigators as the controller of a plan to drain billions from the Malaysian fund.

Secret Profits

Wednesday’s court hearing saw Yeo Jiawei, a former banker serving the longest jail term in Singapore’s 1MDB investigations, admit to charges, including money laundering. Yeo played a role in the transactions involving the fund and made secret profits on the side, prosecutors said.

Yeo, who also pleaded guilty to cheating his former employer, agreed to help with Singapore’s money-laundering probes, which prosecutors described as the largest in the country’s history. He was sentenced to 54 months in jail by the state court on Wednesday. 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 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. His admission of guilt came after the Monetary Authority of Singapore wrapped up a two-year probe into flows related to the Malaysian investment fund.

…more
1MDB a ‘victim’ of Jho Low, Singapore prosecutors say
Bloomberg
July 12, 2017 – theedgemarkets.com

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