Two Ex-BSI Singapore Bankers Criminally Charged

BSI, Yak Yew Chee, Yvonne Seah Yew Foong, Yeo Jiawei, Hanspeter Brunner

Banca della Svizzera, or BSI

Singapore is bringing criminal charges against two former senior private bankers of Banca della Svizzera Italiana, or BSI, in connection with 1MDB. The bank was shut down by regulators earlier this year.

Two former employees of now-defunct BSI – 57-year-old Yak Yew Chee of Singapore and Yvonne Seah Yew Foong, who is 45 and also Singaporean – face seven counts each of forgery and corruption offenses, the Attorney General said in a press release on Monday.

Both had been senior private bankers in BSI Singapore, which was shut down by a joint Singapore-Swiss regulatory move due to illicit 1MDB dealings in May. Most of the offenses relate to accounts held by Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, with BSI.

Six Ex-BSI Bankers

Yak and Seah face forgery charges and are accused of «failing to disclose information on suspicious transactions to a Suspicious Transaction Reporting Officer.»

Following its own probe, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) handed over the names of six ex-BSI employees to the prosecutor to evaluate whether they had committed crimes.

UBS, Falcon Private Bank

Yeo Jiawei, who currently faces a total of 11 charges for various offenses, was the first BSI Singapore employee named by MAS to be charged in court of crimes related to 1MDB.

1MDB represents a first test for Singapore as a relatively young financial center, and bankers across Asia are watching closely to see how bankers such as Yak, Seah, or Yeo fare in the justice system.

The 1MDB probe has ensnared several domestic and foreign – mainly Swiss – banks in Singapore, including UBS, Standard Chartered, and Falcon Private Bank, which has denied speculation of a firesale.

1MDB Investigations «Ongoing»

Switzerland's prosecutor last week cranked up the pressure on Malaysia to cooperate in the investigation, likening 1MDB to a Ponzi scheme.

Singapore's prosecutor said investigations into 1MDB funds flowing through the city-state are ongoing. 

Other individuals, including the other BSI Singapore employees previously named by MAS, which include former BSI head of Asia Hanspeter Brunner, are being questioned or investigated.

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