SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore on Thursday charged a former wealth manager at Swiss-based private bank BSI with cheating and obstructing justice, in a case related to a money laundering investigation linked to Malaysia’s troubled state fund 1MDB.
Singapore’s investigation is looking at bank accounts linked to 1Malaysian Development Berhad (1MDB), which is at the center of a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal, with transactions that have triggered investigations across three continents.
Yeo Jiawei, a 33-year-old Singaporean and former employee of BSI in Singapore, was first briefly arrested in March and again on April 15, and charged with receiving ill-gotten funds.
At a hearing in the Singapore State Court on Thursday, Singapore prosecutor Kwek Mean Luck urged the court to extend Yeo’s custody with an additional charge of obstructing justice.
Singapore’s white-collar crime unit was dealing with one of its most complex cross-border investigations ever, Kwek said.
“Investigations reveal that this accused has had a significant role in the movement of large amounts of money and the concealment of transactions,” the prosecution said in its charge sheet.
Investigations were “very much alive and continue to involve the accused,” it added.
Yeo’s lawyer, Philip Fong, objected to further remand for his client as a breach of his right to counsel and against the presumption of innocence.
Yeo, who appeared in the courtroom via video link, wearing an orange T-shirt, was remanded to custody for another week, until May 5.
The prosecutor charged Yeo with cheating BSI, by concealing from his former employer that he would be receiving $1.6 million a year from Brazen Sky Ltd, a financial vehicle owned by 1MDB which was holding fund units at an account with BSI Singapore.
Another former BSI banker faces a criminal investigation linked to 1MDB.
Writing by Anshuman Daga; Editing by Clarence Fernandez