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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

1MDB Trial in Spngapore : Yeo Jiawei's former supervisor made S$6.9m in 'secret profits' from 1MDB dealings

From Singapore Straits Times :


A former head of wealth management services at BSI revealed he received US$5 million (RM20m) in secret profits, during the trial of Yeo Jiawei.

SINGAPORE - On 2nd day of the first 1MDB-related trial, revelations emerged about the lengths to which BSI banker Yeo Jiawei and supervisor Kevin Swampillai went to hide their "secret profits" as investigations by the Singapore authorities intensified.

Mr Swampillai is one of nine witnesses called by prosecution on four of 11 charges against Yeo, first person to be tried for role in massive money laundering operation linked to 1MDB.

Najib Razak has ended 1MDB probes at home.
US DOJ in July seize over US$1 billion (RM4b) in assets connected with money laundered from 1MDB, part of US$3.5 billion misappropriated between 2009 and 2015.

Singapore proceedings on four charges related to Yeo's attempts asking witnesses to lie for him. 

The remaining charges relating to money laundering, cheating and forgery will be dealt with later.
testimony (Nov 1), Mr Swampillai, head of wealth management services for BSI but now unemployed, revealed he had received US$5 million (RM20m) in secret profits from "implementing various structures" and "undertaking financial arrangements" for a group of clients of BSI.

Yeo himself amassed $26m (RM72m) by age 32 from 1MDB prosecution said

idea for such commissions began during meeting in Labuan in 2012.

Mr Swampillai told court: "We would find an intermediary who would be used to identify certain funds, and have conversations with the funds about the nature of underlying transactions that would take place, and the kind of fees that the fund would earn.

"We were trying to find a margin between what the bank earned, what the fund managers earned, and create a margin that would be paid to Yeo and myself."

One of the entities Yeo and Mr Swampillai received commissions from was Bridge Partners International Management (BPIM), Cayman-registered fund managed by Bridge Partners, a Hong Kong-based fund manager.  

In Sept 2012, 1MDB sold its shares in a venture for US$2.32 billion (RM9.7b) and received units in the fund.

Other than BPIM, Yeo and Mr Swampillai were also getting commissions through Bridgerock Investment and GTB Investment, both beneficially owned by them respectively, from another fund called Devonshire, Mr Swampillai said.

As the Commercial Affairs Department intensified their probe into the financial dealings of both men in connection to the fund, they began having more face to face meetings and switched to using social media Telegram, which had a secret chat feature.

The men even devised a "ping" or missed call system to indicate to each other that they haven't been pulled in for questioning for the CAD. "If I pinged him in the morning, and he didn't respond, that would be a sign that he had been picked up by the CAD," Mr Swampillai had told the court on Monday.

After Yeo left BSI in 2014 and started working for Malaysian tycoon Low Taek Jho - also known as Jho Low, a key figure in the 1MDB scandal - Yeo became known by his code name "James" to individuals in circles he was involved in, Mr Swampillai said.

"There was a great deal of secrecy in what they did and how they spoke to each other. Fictitious names were used when in reference to certain individuals," he said.

After Yeo left BSI, both men communicated fairly openly through phone calls, Telegram and Whatsapp.

"But as things started to get tense with information coming out in media in relation to these transactions and the CAD investigations began, communications were almost exclusively through Telegram and use of secondary phones," he said.

"When I was asked to use Telegram, I started to feel paranoid as Yeo was taking all these measures to hide his conversations," he said.

Yeo's trial is expected to run until Nov 11.

Besides Yeo, two other former BSI employees are also facing charges. On Oct 10, Yak Yew Chee and Yvonne Seah were charged with carrying out suspicious money transfers for Jho Low.

Mr Kelvin Ang, said to be a broker with Maybank Kim Eng, has also been charged. He is alleged to have paid a research analyst to produce a favourable valuation report on certain 1MDB assets. Ang's pre-trial conference will be held on Nov 17.

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