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SINGAPORE (July 12): Ex-BSI wealth planner Yeo Jiawei has volunteered to assist the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) in its investigations into 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
“The assistance that the accused will be providing would not be unexceptional,” says deputy public prosecutor Nathaniel Khng. “As a member of Jho Low’s circle of associates, the accused is in a unique position to assist CAD in its investigation.”
Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, is the alleged mastermind behind the 1MDB scandal.
“Jho Low, as mentioned, is the central figure in the events that are being investigated and is a person who, I would reiterate, continues to be a person of interest in the investigations,” Khng adds. “The accused will be able to provide the investigators with unique insights, given his past work for Jho Low.”
Yeo, 34, has also volunteered to disgorge profits that was gained illegally, including monies and properties in Australia.
In his mitigation plea, Yeo’s lawyer, Derek Kang emphasised that his client is remorseful and has “turned over a new leaf,” apologising “unreservedly to the CAD for his prior conduct.
Kang submits that Yeo is a “first-time offender and there is a low risk of re-offending.” He will “not be able to go back to work in the financial industry,” but “will have to start from scratch in another industry,” Kang adds.
In his sentencing, district judge Ong Hian Sun noted that “deterrence is needed for offences related to the financial systems.”
“The court must take an uncompromising stance to safeguard the reputation of our financial centre,” Ong says.
Yeo in court on Wednesday pleaded guilty to money laundering and cheating charges in relation to Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
He was sentenced to imprisonment of 24 months for cheating BSI Bank of profits and 30 months for money laundering. Both sentences will run consecutively.
This brings his total jail term to 69 months – the longest sentence meted out so far in Singapore’s probes into 1MDB.
The prosecution says it has taken into account Yeo’s remorse as he apologised unreservedly to CAD, and volunteered to assist in investigations on top of surrendering his ill-gotten gains to Singapore authorities.
Yeo was already convicted in December last year on four counts of witness tampering. He was sentenced to 30 months’ jail, of which he has served 15 months, including his time in remand during investigations.