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Ex-BSI banker in 1MDB probe remanded for another week
SINGAPORE'S state court granted an application by prosecutors to remand for another week former BSI Singapore banker Yeo Jiawei who has been charged with money laundering, cheating and obstructing the course of justice in the ongoing massive probe into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
However, District Court Judge Christopher Goh said that the court is unable to say if it will grant any further remand request after this, and asked the prosecution to prepare its submission to deny Yeo bail at the next mention.
Second Solicitor-General Kwek Mean Luck had earlier indicated that the prosecution was likely to apply for Yeo to be denied bail, and that he did not expect to seek further remand beyond two weeks from Thursday.
Pointing out that Yeo, 33, has already been remanded for one month and four days, and that this was the sixth remand application by prosecutors, Mr Goh said that the onus on the prosecution to show why Yeo needed to be further remanded would be more onerous to ensure that a balance is struck between the interest of the state and the accused.
Yeo has so far been slapped with seven charges ranging from money laundering and cheating to obstructing the course of justice. According to Mr Kwek at Thursday's mention, Yeo had played no small part in the last three years in attempting to "mask and then suppress incriminatory evidence" in relation to illicit transactions and money flows in and out of Singapore. This was the sixth time that Yeo appeared in court via video link.
"Indeed, we have just ascertained that the accused has told yet another individual with knowledge of some of these questionable transactions, to delete all relevant e-mails and to make himself unavailable for questioning by the CAD," said Mr Kwek, adding that he may have likely told others as well to "suppress and tailor" information.
He submitted that a further period of remand was necessary to facilitate ongoing investigations into new lines of "critical inquiries" that have opened up since the tendering of the previous seventh charge and that new charges could follow as other aspects of the transactions involving criminal offences are being investigated.
Last week, the seventh charge involving forgery was filed against Yeo which shed intriguing details on the complex 1MDB money trail that is being investigated by Singapore's Commercial Affairs Department. Documents submitted in court had revealed that key executives of the scandal-hit Malaysian state-backed firm and a linked entity - SRC International (Malaysia) Limited - had authorised a transfer of US$11.95 million to a firm beneficially owned by Tan Kim Loong, better known as Eric Tan, a close business associate of Malaysian tycoon Low Taek Jho.
"A few new witnesses were interviewed since last week, and some witnesses have been recalled for interviews," said Mr Kwek.
Yeo's lawyer, Philip Fong of Harry Elias Partnership, submitted that there was no further evidence that can be obtained from the accused as he claimed that the prosecution "already has all the evidence they need". "There is nothing else the accused can say which has not been said already. The accused should be released on bail and be allowed to start preparing his defence in advance of his trial," Mr Fong added.
The prosecution also said that it no longer objected to providing Yeo supervised access to his wife.