SINGAPORE, Dec 22 (Reuters) - A Singapore court jailed a former wealth manager for Swiss bank BSI for 30 months on Thursday on charges of perverting the course of justice in a case linked to a money-laundering investigation involving Malaysian fund 1MDB.
Prosecutors said Yeo Jiawei, the third BSI banker sentenced in the city-state this year, urged witnesses to lie to police and destroy evidence during the investigation of illicitly transferred funds linked to the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
“There was planning and premeditation for the commission of the offence,” District Judge Ng Peng Hong said.
Prosecutors said Yeo, 33, played a central role in the illicit movement of S$23.9 million ($16.54 million) of 1MDB-linked funds both while he was working at the now defunct BSI Bank Singapore, and afterwards.
Yeo repeatedly denied any wrongdoing during the month-long trial.
Defence lawyer Philip Fong told Reuters Yeo was “seriously considering appealing the conviction and sentence”.
Singapore authorities have called the 1MDB-linked investigation the most complex, sophisticated and largest money laundering case they have handled.
Singapore’s central bank in May ordered the closure of the operations in Singapore of the Swiss private bank and asked the Attorney General’s Chambers to investigate six members of its senior management and staff.
Two other former BSI staffers have been convicted and sentenced on charges stemming from the money-laundering investigation linked to 1MDB.
Switzerland has begun criminal proceedings against the bank, in the biggest international crackdown on financial entities dealing with 1MDB.
Yeo is facing another seven separate charges, including money laundering, cheating and forgery, which the prosecution said he would be tried for next year. Prosecutors have said he “could face more charges”.
Founded by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who previously chaired its advisory board, 1MDB is the subject of money laundering investigations in at least six countries, including Switzerland, Singapore and the United States.
Najib has denied any wrongdoing and said Malaysia will cooperate with the international investigations. ($1 = 1.4447 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Robert Birsel)