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Police took at least 7 years to charge Singapore PR for money laundering

It was reported on Thu (16 May) that Singapore PR, Amos Paul Gabriel, who is a Nigerian was sentenced to three years’ jail and fined S$4,200 for money laundering and other offences. He also pleaded guilty to driving without a licence, and was handed a one-year driving ban.

Mr Gabriel was earlier involved in a scheme to swindle Citibank in New York City. The money laundering case made headlines in 2009 when he was indicted in New York on charges of scheming to steal from a National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) account at Citibank.

He and his co-conspirators had in 2008 sent fake signed documents to Citibank appearing to match signatures of officials at NBE, Ethiopia’s central bank. Citibank then transferred US$27.2 million to various accounts before the fraud was discovered.

Part of the stolen money was then laundered through Singapore, which was seized from the relevant bank account by the Commercial Affairs Department, and returned to Citibank in 2010.

The media reported that Mr Gabriel was married to a Singaporean woman.

In 2016, Mr Gabriel was arrested for dangerous driving. He was caught on camera recklessly driving a speeding blue Lamborghini on ECP. It was later found out that he drove the Lamborghini without a valid driving licence in Singapore. He had a licence issued by the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but had not converted it within three months of obtaining his Singapore PR status.

Even though the money laundering offences were committed in around 2008, he was only charged by the police in 2017, notwithstanding that Mr Gabriel’s name had already appeared in international news with regard to his involvement in the fraud and that the CAD had recovered part of the stolen money and returned it back to Citibank by 2010.

It’s not known why the police took at least 7 years to investigate and finally charge him in 2017.