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1MDB fallout: MAS slaps prohibition orders on ex-BSI Bank wealth manager, NRA founder

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File photos of former BSI Bank wealth manager Yeo Jiawei (left) and NRA Capital's founder Kevin Scully. The prohibtion orders (POs) prevent Yeo and Mr Scully from providing any financial advisory services.

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued a lifetime ban against former BSI Bank wealth manager, Yeo Jiawei, and a three-year ban against NRA Capital's founder, Kevin Scully, with effect from Dec 18, 2017.

These bans, or prohibition orders (POs) prevent Yeo and Mr Scully from providing any financial advisory services; taking part in the management of, acting as a director of, or becoming a substantial shareholder of any financial advisory firm in Singapore.

Yeo, who emerged as a key figure in Singapore's probe into Malaysian state wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), was investigated by the the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and "convicted on a number of charges, including money laundering, cheating, and tampering of witnesses during CAD's investigation", the MAS said.

The MAS found that Mr Scully, CEO of licensed financial adviser NRA Capital - which had been appointed to perform the valuation of PetroSaudi Oil Services Limited (PSOSL), had "failed to ensure that NRA's valuation of PSOSL was carried out with sufficient care, judgement and objectivity".

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Investigators have claimed that inflated PetroSaudi valuations were used to justify and obscure improper fund transfers at the heart of the 1MDB scandal. In addition, the US Justice Department alleged that US$1 billion of Malaysia's government coffers meant for 1MDB's joint venture with PetroSaudi was siphoned off to Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho.

When contacted, NRA's founder Mr Scully told The Business Times that he will resign from NRA and that "the staff will take over the business if they want to". He had previously appealed against the ban issued by the MAS.

Including these latest actions, the MAS has to date issued POs against a total of eight persons involved in 1MDB-related breaches.

Other POs served by the MAS include: six-year bans to ex-representative of Maybank Kim Eng Securities, Kelvin Ang, and former head of research at NRA, Lee Chee Waiy; as well as a 10-year ban to former director of Goldman Sachs (South-east Asia), Tim Leissner, who was the lead banker to the fund, and a 15-year ban to ex-representative of BSI Bank, Yvonne Seah. 1MDB's bonds were underwritten by Goldman Sachs International, the bank's London-based unit.

In its November statement, the MAS said Ang had bribed Mr Lee with S$3,000 to expedite the preparation of a valuation report on PetroSaudi. Mr Lee was alleged to have been the primary person from NRA working on this valuation. He had accepted the bribe from Ang and "applied inappropriate methodology and assumptions in the valuation" of PetroSaudi, the MAS noted.

Besides Yeo, two other individuals related to the 1MDB case have also been slapped with lifetime bans, namely BSI Bank's former managing director, Yak Yew Chee and ex-branch manager of Falcon Private Bank (Singapore), Jens Sturzenegger.

According to the MAS, Sturzenegger has been convicted of financial crimes including providing false information to the authorities in an attempt to cover up his knowledge of Falcon Bank's relationship with Mr Low.