Yvonne Seah Yew Foong, the former BSI Bank Limited Singapore (BSI) senior private banker became the second person convicted in Singapore’s probe into alleged money laundering linked to Malaysia’s troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Seah (45) pleaded guilty on 16 Dec to two counts of forgery and one count of not reporting suspicious transactions that she knew could constitute criminal conduct. Another four charges was taken into consideration in sentencing her.
Judge Salina Ishak sentenced Seah to two weeks ’jail for helping in forging documents and gave a fine of S$10,000 for failing to report doubtful transactions allegedly related to Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho.
Bloomberg reported that Seah’s lawyer Peter Low had sought a fine but prosecutor Nathaniel Khng in seeking the prison term said, “Fines for the well-heeled like the accused, with the amount of money that they earn, would have no deterrent effect.”
Seah’s supervisor Yak Yew Chee is serving an 18-week jail term after being convicted in November for the similar offenses.
The court heard that Seah in 17 years had worked with Yak in at least three banks. DPP Khng said that she had moved voluntarily with him from bank to bank.
In May this year, BSI was ordered to shut after the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) found serious anti-money laundering breaches in the bank.
Singapore authorities had identified The Malaysian financier Jho Low, as the key person of interest in its 1MDB-linked investigation.
Seah’s had neglected to disclose suspicious transactions totalling about S$260 million involving Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, who has been linked to the 1MDB scandal.
Prosecutors said the money had been moved through nine business and personal accounts in six local and foreign banks – including Standard Chartered Bank, Coutts and Falcon Private Bank – to mask the true source of the funds.
Seah could have been jailed four years and/or fined for this forgery and for each charge of not disclosing her suspicion of an act which may constitute criminal conduct, she could have been fined S$20,000.
Netizens in Malaysia voiced their disappointments that there have been no action to the 1MDB scandal in their country in several Facebook posts:
- Aziz Majid : Singapore already take action, Malaysia may say no form of corruption. But how ra’ayat’s money is in Singapore?
- Jeff Omar : And.. We say.. No Case? No evidence? Slander?? Hello.. Please wake up from a good sleep!! Or please died.
- Peter Chua : Everyone outside Malaysia is being charged for 1MDB scandal n yet those in Malaysia said there is no wrongdoings in 1MDB.