2nd private banker headed to prison over 1MDB


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Forgery, failing to report suspicious activity lands banker in Singapore prison

Singapore continues to press its investigation of illicit banking connected to Malaysia’s 1MDB fund fiasco. Last week, a Singapore court sentenced a second private banker to prison time and a monetary fine.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Yvonne Seah pleaded guilty to two charges of forgery and one charge of not reporting a suspicious transaction. Her conviction follows that of her former boss Yak Yew Chee. Both were employed by BSI SA in Singapore during its handling of 1MDB business. Yak also pleaded guilty to forgery and failure to report suspicious activity; he is serving an 18-week prison sentence.

Former BSI employees Yak and Seah acted as liaisons for the bank on behalf of the bank’s relationship with 1MDB and Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, more commonly known as Jho Low. Prosecutors in Singapore have identified Low as a person of interest associated with the fund.

According to the Journal report, prosecutors in Singapore assert that Seah and Yak “had signed letters on behalf of BSI without the bank’s authority to verify the wealth and standing of Mr. Low, and had failed to report suspicious transactions related to Mr. Low’s business at BSI.”

Both Low and Malaysian officials related to the 1MDB fund deny any wrongdoing whatsoever in relation to the 1MDB fund. Several countries, including Switzerland and the U.S., are also investigating the fund and people associated with it. A third former employee of BSI was also tried on charges related to this case; those charges included money laundering and forgery. That individual is awaiting a judge’s verdict.

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