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Singapore prosecutors charge 5th person in 1MDB probe

Thursday, January 5, 2017 - 11:15

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Singapore prosecutors slapped 16 charges on a 42-year-old former branch manager here of Swiss bank Falcon in relation to the massive probe into the fund flows involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

SINGAPORE prosecutors slapped 16 charges on a 42-year-old former branch manager here of Swiss bank Falcon in relation to the massive probe into the fund flows involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Jens Sturzenegger, a Swiss national, who was arrested on Oct 5 by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) with bail set at S$80,000, appeared in court clad in a white long-sleeve shirt at the mention in the State Court on Thursday.

At the request of Sturzenegger's lawyer Tan Hee Joek, the accused is expected to plead guilty at a session fixed for Jan 11.

The latest charge would bring the tally up to five so far, the number of individuals charged here in relation to offences involving the high profile case of Malaysia's state-backed 1MDB money flows.

Falcon Bank became the second Swiss bank - the other was BSI Singapore - whose licence to operate here was withdrawn by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in October last year for serious failures in anti-money laundering (AML) controls and improper conduct by senior management at the head office in Switzerland as well as the Singapore branch.

Sturzenegger is alleged to have connived in Falcon Bank's failure to flag suspicious transactions involving inflows of US$1.265 billion into two accounts at the bank's Singapore branch around March 2013.

He is also accused of failing to disclose suspicious transactions to the authorities totalling some US$71 million of funds transferred via several accounts at Falcon Bank which may constitute criminal conduct.

Six charges involved providing false information to officers of MAS and the CAD on the beneficial owner of four bank accounts maintained at Falcon Bank and the links between Low Taek Jho and Eric Tan Kim Loong, intending thereby to cause the officers to omit to probe the involvement of Mr Low (better known as Jho Low) in the accounts and Mr Low's connections to the accused.

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