SINGAPORE (July 17): When news of Yeo Jiawei’s being charged first broke in April last year, many journalists who had been closely following the 1Malaysia Development Bhd case had no idea who he was. He was neither directly connected to 1MDB nor was he a particularly senior figure at the Singapore offices of BSI, where he worked.

Yet, it soon emerged that Yeo had close links with alleged 1MDB mastermind Low Taek Jho as well as other individuals connected to the case, including Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny, a former CEO of Aabar Investments PJS, a subsidiary of International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC), which is owned by the Abu Dhabi government. And, while other bankers involved in the diversion of funds from 1MDB-linked entities had quickly cooperated with investigators from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), Yeo had actively tried to cover his tracks and silence his fellow perpetrators.

As a result, Yeo was treated rather more harshly by the authorities. In December, he was sentenced to 30 months for witness tampering. Witness testimonies and evidence put forward by prosecutors at the trial in November provided a trove of information on how Yeo and other players in the 1MDB saga operated. For instance, it came to light that Yeo had flown on a private jet with Low and spent a night at Low’s home in Hong Kong. Prosecutors also revealed that Yeo even wore Low’s clothes while he was there. Then, there was Yeo’s use of “bangla phones” — that is, mobile phones registered to foreign workers — to communicate with his co-conspirators.

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