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Friday, January 13, 2017

Ex-BSI banker Yeo Jiawei splurged US$8.2m on Aussie properties

SYDNEY- Former Singapore banker Yeo Jiawei, accused of laundering money linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd, used a tax haven company as part of an US$8.2mil (RM36.6mil) plus splurge on property in Australia's Gold Coast, The Guardian has reported.

Yeo's foray into Australian property began with a US$1.3mil (RM5.8mil) luxury oceanfront apartment in Surfers Paradise, which he bought in 2014 direct from a collapsed developer, the report said.

It said Yeo is a director of a Seychelles-registered company that then paid a further US$6.9mil (RM30.8mil) for commercial properties in Broadbeach, the town's trendy dining precinct, a year later.

Australian federal police are reportedly examining whether money illegally taken from 1MDB state development fund has been parked locally.

That investigation includes whether any Australian citizens, residents or companies breached proceeds-of-crime laws, The Guardian's report said.

Yeo, 34, was sentenced to 30 months in jail by Singapore's district court last December for witness tampering in an investigation related to 1MDB scandal.

The court heard that Yeo played a central role in the illicit movement of S$23.9mil (RM74.7mil) of 1MDB funds during his tenure as a wealth manager at BSI Bank, Singapore.

The case on money-laundering charges will be heard in April.

The Australian newspaper reported last Monday that Australian federal police officers were assisting at least one of the three known authorities – in Switzerland, the United States and the Singapore – that are investigating where US$3.5bil (RM15.62bil) allegedly looted from 1MDB has wound up.

An AFP spokesman said officers were "assisting foreign law-enforcement partners in their investigations".

This included "evaluating" whether any Australian citizens, residents or companies had breached proceeds-of-crime laws, it reported.

"Given this matter is the subject of evaluation, it is not appropriate to comment further," the spokesman said, according to The Guardian. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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