Ex-BSI S'pore banker issued stern warning for secret profit arrangements involving 1MDB investments

A third party who was involved in the arrangement was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison.

Matthias Ang | January 28, 2022, 01:36 PM

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Between October and December in 2021, the police issued stern warnings against BSI Singapore employee Kevin Michael Swampillai and accomplice Samuel Wu, in lieu of prosecution for four counts of cheating BSI Singapore, a joint press release by the police and the Attorney-General's Chambers stated.

The offences pertained to a secret profit arrangement established in relation to 1MDB-related investments.

How was the profit arrangement established?

The press release further highlighted that officers from the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) had investigated Swampillai in relation to his role as Head of Wealth Management Services at BSI Singapore, where he oversaw the bank’s advisory and wealth management businesses with the subsidiaries of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Between 2012 and 2013, Swampillai and his then-colleague, Yeo Jiawei, had assisted subsidiaries of 1MDB to invest assets through subscriptions into three funds.

The 1MDB subsidiaries would pay annual management fees to the respective investment managers of these funds.

Both Swampillai and Yeo subsequently devised a plan to obtain a cut of the management fees paid by the 1MDB subsidiaries for themselves and without the knowledge of their then-employer, BSI Singapore.

They enlisted Wu in their endeavour.

Wu incorporated an intermediary company, Bridge Global Managers Inc, that entered into secret agreements with the three funds’ investment managers and was paid a share of the management fees as referral fees.

Wu then distributed the resulting payments received by Bridge Global Managers Inc among the three of them.

Yeo has been sentenced to 4 and a half years imprisonment

The press release added that Yeo was prosecuted in 2016 for cheating and attempting to pervert the course of justice, among others, by asking Swampillai and Wu to lie that the distributions made by Bridge Global Managers Inc were Wu’s investments.

In July 2017, Yeo pleaded guilty to cheating and money laundering charges, for which he was sentenced to 54 months (4.5 years) in jail.

The police added that the decision to issue stern warnings to Swampillai and Wu in lieu of prosecution followed "careful consideration" of the circumstances and consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

This decision included consideration "of all relevant factors", including Swampillai and Wu's full cooperation with authorities throughout the course of investigations by disclosing their secret profits arrangement, and disgorging the illicit profits they received, including voluntarily repatriating overseas-held assets to Singapore.

Both Swampillai and Yeo also received lifetime Prohibition Orders from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, on October 22, 2020, and December 18, 2017, respectively,

As for Wu, the press release said that MAS will take his conduct into account in assessing any future applications that he makes to be a representative who provides financial advisory services, given that he was not one at the time of his involvement in the secret profit arrangement.

S$10.3 million of seized 1MDB-assets was returned to the Malaysian government in December 2021

With regard to 1MDB-related money, the press release pointed out that in December 2021, Singapore authorities filed further court applications to return approximately S$10.3 million of seized 1MDB-related money to the Malaysian government.

These applications have been granted by the Court, and the money has been transferred to the Malaysian government.

Thus far, a total of about S$88 million of seized 1MDB-related monies have been repatriated to the Malaysian government.

The press release said, "All requests for repatriation of assets and monies seized pursuant to investigations into 1MDB-related fund flows, including those disgorged by Mr Swampillai and Mr Wu, have been and will continue to be dealt with in accordance with Singapore’s legal framework."

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