A Singapore court on Friday jailed a former banker who handled Swiss bank BSI’s relationship with Malaysia’s state-owned investment firm, 1MDB, for 18 weeks for forgery and failure to disclose suspicious transactions.
Yak Yew Chee, who worked as a senior vice-president at BSI Singapore, was also a private banker for Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, who was described by Singapore authorities as a key figure in the money laundering investigation linked to 1MDB. Low is more popularly known as Jho Low.
Founded by Prime Minister Najib Razak, who chaired its advisory board, 1MDB is currently the subject of money laundering investigations in at least six countries, including Switzerland, Singapore and the United States.
Najib has denied any wrongdoing and said Malaysia will cooperate with the international investigations.
Yak pleaded guilty to four of seven charges at Singapore’s state court. He was also fined S$24,000 (RM75,000).
Two charges related to forging reference letters vouching for the Low family and two more for turning a blind eye to hefty sums – allegedly proceeds from criminal conduct – coursing through BSI bank in Singapore.
Yak is now expected to assist the ongoing 1MDB money laundering investigation.
Singapore earlier this year shut down BSI and Falcon Private Bank in its biggest crackdown on alleged money laundering connected to 1MDB.
In May, Singapore’s central bank referred Yak among six members of BSI Bank’s senior management and staff to the public prosecutor to evaluate if they had committed criminal offences in the wake of its money laundering investigation.
Yak earned S$27 million during about four years of work for BSI, including hefty bonuses, court documents showed.