Nine Witnesses in Ex-BSI Banker Case

Prosecutors are calling nine witnesses in their case against a former BSI private banker due to 1MDB dealings.

The trial gives observers a birds-eye view of how at least one banker allegedly scrambled to cover up wrong-doing at the Swiss bank before it was shut down by regulators in May. Yeo Jiawei, appearing before a Singapore state court dressed in purple prison garb, was described by prosecutors as a «main Singapore-based suspect» in the 1MDB case, an alleged billion-dollar corruption scheme with Malaysian state funds.

The former BSI private banker has been held in custody since March for allegedly accumulating S$26 million, including from «illicit schemes to defraud BSI Singapore while he was an employee,» the city-state's prosecutor asserted.

He is also accused of covering up his wrong-doing and inciting others to help cover his tracks after being questioned by police.

Prosecutors zoned in on Yeo's alleged behavior after he was released following questioning earlier this year, including asking colleagues to falsify their statements to police and instructing another to dispose of his laptop which may have contained evidence against Yeo.

Covering Up

«In a display of complete and wanton disregard for the law and the Commercial Affairs Department's investigations, he met and contacted key witnesses in the hope of suppressing incriminatory evidence pertaining to his own illicit schemes and activities,» deputy public prosecutor Tan Kiat Phen said in court.

Yeo faces 11 charges, including money-laundering and witness-tampering. He faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of money laundering, while witness-tampering could get him another up to seven years jail time.

Yeo, who has been held in custody since April, was employed by BSI, or Banca della Svizzera Italiana, for nearly five years until 2014. His trial is expected to last until the end of next week.

BSI is one of two banks which have since been shut down by regulators in Singapore for dealings with 1MDB. Industry heavyweights UBS, DBS and Standard Chartered have also been caught up in the affair, which equates to a reputational wipeout for Switzerland's private banks.

 

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