SINGAPORE, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 11th Nov, 2016 ) : A Singaporean private banker was jailed on fraud charges relating to Malaysia's 1MDB financial scandal Friday, becoming the first figure to be convicted in the multi-billion-dollar saga. Allegations that huge sums were misappropriated from the Malaysian state fund through money-laundering have triggered a massive corruption scandal that has embroiled Prime Minister Najib Razak. Prosecutors said Yak Yew Chee, a former managing director at the Singapore branch of Swiss bank BSI, helped manage funds linked to 1MDB, which was set up by Najib with the help of a close family friend, Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho.
Prosecutors said Yak, who was also a private banker to Low, forged reference letters to Swiss banks and funds, and failed to report suspicious money transfers involving accounts belonging to his client. Yak, 57, was sentenced to 18 weeks in jail after pleading guilty to four charges of forgery and failure to report suspicious transactions related to the investment fund. He was also fined Sg$24,000 ($17,000) by a Singapore district court.
Najib, Low and 1MDB have all strongly denied any wrongdoing. Singapore, a regional financial hub, last year launched a probe into alleged illicit fund flows linked to 1MDB and closed down the local branches of two Swiss banks -- BSI and Falcon Private Bank -- involved in the scheme. Singapore authorities also seized nearly $180 million in assets during their investigation. Half of the assets were linked to Low. Another private banker, Singaporean Yeo Jiawei, 33, is also on trial in the city-state on charges of obstructing the investigation into the financial scandal. The scandal is also being investigated by Switzerland -- because Swiss banks were allegedly used to transfer illicit funds -- and the United States, where assets were purchased using allegedly laundered 1MDB money.