Ex-Banker in 1MDB-Linked Trial Worked for Malaysian 'Jho Low': Witness

Motorcyclists pass a 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur. (Reuters Photo/Olivia Harris)

By : Fathin Ungku | on 8:29 PM November 01, 2016
Category : International, SE Asia

Singapore. A former private banker for BSI quit his job in 2014 to work for Low Taek Jho, the Malaysian financier accused of siphoning billions of dollars from Malaysia's scandal-tainted 1MDB fund, a witness told a Singapore court on Tuesday (01/11).

The allegation was made by Kevin Swampillai, the supervisor of ex-BSI banker Yeo Jiawei. The ex-BSI banker is undergoing trial on four charges related to his attempt to pervert the course of justice by urging witnesses to lie to police and destroy evidence, according to the charge sheet.

More than $3.5 billion was allegedly misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), according to civil lawsuits filed by the US Department of Justice, which named several individuals, including Low, better known as "Jho Low".

Singapore has also frozen Low's assets, but the 34-year-old has not been charged with any offence in the investigations into 1MDB.

Founded by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who previously 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.

During Tuesday's hearing, the prosecution pressed Swampillai about Yeo's relationship with Low.

"From my interactions with Mr Yeo, right throughout the time when he was transitioning out of BSI Bank and after he left BSI Bank, I believe that Mr Yeo worked for or worked with an individual called Low Taek Jho," Swampillai said.

Defense lawyer Philip Fong said the questioning was out of line and "unrelated to this particular charge".

Reuters could not reach Jho Low for a comment.

Yeo is also facing seven separate charges, including money laundering, cheating and forgery, which the prosecution said will be tried next year.

Singapore authorities have called the 1MDB-linked investigation the most complex, sophisticated and largest money laundering case they have handled.

Singapore's central bank ordered the closure of the operations of BSI in May and asked the Attorney General's Chambers to investigate six members of BSI bank's senior management and staff.

Yeo's trial will last until Nov 11.


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