Yeo Jiawei Takes Stand, Points to His Former BSI Bosses

Yeo Jiawei, testifies, BSI, 1MDB, Jho Low, trial, Singapore

Former BSI private banker Yeo Jiawei took the stand to defend himself against charges of covering up in the 1MDB scandal. He accused higher-ranking officers of the Swiss bank of orchestrating the contact to Jho Low.

Yeo Jiawei said Jho Low was seen within the Swiss bank as the «gatekeeper» to lucrative business with the Malaysian state fund, even though he held no formal role. Yeo took the stand on the second-to-last day of a trial where he stands accused of covering up his and the bank’s illicit 1MDB dealings, according to «The Wall Street Journal» and local media reports.

Higher-ranking BSI officers and others had arranged for Yeo to meet Low and begin working with him, the former private banker testified. The bank was shut down in Singapore in May as a result of its wrong-doing and was sold to Swiss rival EFG International.

«I was just taking instructions. They know I didn’t have negotiating powers ... or the authority to negotiate,» Yeo said in court according to «Channel News Asia».

Incriminating BSI Bosses?

Yeo’s revelations incriminate his former superiors such as Kevin Swampillai, who testified against him last week, or the former Asia private banking head at BSI who is under scrutiny in Singapore and Switzerland.

Yeo said most of his instructions came from Swampillai, who he described as charismatic and persuasive in his testimony. Swampillai had previously owned up to a kickback scheme on 1MDB dealings which netted the two men millions.

Meanwhile, Low, who has disappeared from public sight, was declared a key person of interest by Singapore authorities by an investigator in court on Thursday, the first time he has been officially named.

Bank accounts and assets of Low’s had been frozen by the central bank in Singapore this summer.

Yeo is accused of perverting the course of justice by attempting to cover up his and the bank’s dealings with 1MDB as well as urging associates to destroy evidence. Other charges of money-laundering and forgery will be tried next year.

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