SINGAPORE: Low Taek Jho or Jho Low was an important client of BSI Bank (Singapore) Ltd because he brought a number of “very huge” deals to the bank, ex-BSI banker Yeo Jiawei told a Singapore court.
Yeo said Jho Low was a very important client of Yak Yew Chee, a senior relationship manager at BSI who was the person who gave instructions to him (Yeo) on what he (Jho Low) wanted done.
He described Jho Low as a “gatekeeper and adviser” to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Yeo is on trial for tampering with witnesses involved in Singapore’s investigations into the laundering of billions of dollars that belonged to 1MDB. He has also been charged with money laundering and the trial will start next April.
Last Friday Yak pleaded guilty and was jailed for 18 weeks and fined S$24,000 (RM72,850) for forging documents and failure to report suspicious transactions. He also forfeited a substantial part of the S$27 million he had earned for the billions of dollars in 1MDB related transactions.
Some of these transactions included US$790 million that originated from 1MDB Energy (Langat) Ltd and eventually ended up with bank accounts of companies whose beneficial owners were Jho Low, his father Tan Sri Larry Low Hock Peng and an associate Eric Tan Kim Loong.
BSI bank had helped create layers of pass through transactions that investigators now say were money laundering operations. BSI and another private bank Falcon have been shut by Singapore for their involvement in facilitating money laundering.
On the same day at his own trial last Friday, Yeo cited the first two major deals from Jho Low that Yak brought to BSI were US$100 million from SRC International Ltd in 2011 and US$2 billion in 2012 from Brazen Sky Ltd. Both were subsidiaries of 1MDB.
Yeo said he met Jho Low after he structured a trust for SRC in which money would be invested in the Enterprise Emerging Markets Fund. The fund subsequently gave money via a loan to Blackstone Asia Real Estate Ltd which investigators said was beneficiary owned by Tan.
Yeo also worked with corporate service company Amicorp to create the Bridge Global Absolute Return Fund which described itself as a high risk fund in which investors could lose all their money.
Brazen Sky invested US$2 billion in that fund whose custodian bank was BSI. This is the fund which subsequently became infamous in Malaysia when 1MDB and the ministry of finance later admitted that there was no cash in that account but just “units”.
Based on what has been revealed in Yeo’s trial so far, these units were either promissory notes or loans and sales and purchase agreements with third parties.
Yeo’s trial continues on Wednesday. — theedgemarkets.com.sg