Stockbroker Fined S$9,000 For Corruption In Latest 1MDB-Linked Prosecution

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The latest prosecution linked to scandal-hit Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) involves a stockbroker, a bribe and a US$2.4 billion valuation of certain assets controlled by convicted former BSI banker Yeo Jiawei and Mr Tan Kim Loong, a close associate of Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, who has been accused of misappropriating billions from 1MDB.

Yeo’s friend, stockbroker Kelvin Ang Wee Keng, 35, pleaded guilty to corruption on Wednesday (May 24) for giving a research analyst S$3,000 to “expedite the preparation of a valuation report for PetroSaudi Oil Services Limited (PSOSL)”, which was expected to “meet the clients’ target valuation figure of US$2.4 billion”, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Vincent Ong said.

Ang was fined S$9,000.

Yeo had approached Ang, who worked for Maybank Kim Eng Securities, in August 2013 for help to obtain a valuation of “certain assets” on behalf of “a client”.

The assets turned out to be two oil ships owned by PSOSL, and the clients, Ang found out later, were Bridge Partners Investment Management (Cayman) Limited and Affinity Equity International Partners Limited – companies controlled by Yeo and Mr Tan, Mr Low’s close associate, respectively.

Yeo told Ang he was willing to pay US$300,000 for a valuation report to be prepared within a week. The process usually takes a month.

Ang offered the job to equity research firm NRA Capital, and negotiated a referral fee totaling US$235,000 – nearly 80 per cent of the US$300,000 – to be paid into the Hong Kong bank account of Pinewoods Global Limited, a shell company he set up to receive the money.

Research analyst Lee Chee Waiy was given the task of preparing the valuation report, and to encourage Mr Lee to “prioritise” and “expedite” the job to meet Yeo’s timeline, Ang handed Mr Lee an envelope containing S$3,000 in cash when the men met for coffee around that time.

Mr Lee accepted the bribe, and issued a valuation report on PSOSL dated Sep 16, 2013, valuing the company at US$2.4 billion. Ang got his US$235,000 referral fee, but DPP Ong noted Ang, who earned about S$100,000 a year for the seven years he worked at the bank, had agreed to forfeit the entire sum upon his conviction on Wednesday.

Mr Lee has not been charged.

DPP Ong urged the court to impose a fine of S$10,000. “Corruption is a cancer that eats away at our society”, the DPP said. He added Ang had reaped “significant personal gain from his corrupt act, which contributed to the completion of the favourable valuation report”.

DPP Ong said that in asking for a fine in this case, the prosecution had taken into account the three weeks Ang spent in remand when he was first arrested.

Ang’s lawyer Hamidul Haq said a fine of S$9,000 would suffice. Mr Haq said his client had made “a simple-minded error” and is “repentant”. Ang will continue to cooperate with the authorities, the lawyer said.

Mr Haq added Ang has been “affected” by the case. Although he is at the “bottom of the echelon, this is a high-profile case and (Ang’s) name has been tarred with the same brush”, the lawyer said, adding Ang is finding it difficult to secure a job.

For corruption, Ang could have been jailed for up to five years and/or fined up to S$100,000.

1MDB was a shareholder in PSOSL until September 2012, when it reportedly sold its shares for US$2.3 billion. The money was managed by Bridge Partners International Investment Limited, which Yeo controlled, and held in BSI Bank, where Yeo was a wealth planner.

Later, BSI Bank brokered a deal involving the US$2.3 billion with 1MDB subsidiary Brazen Sky Limited. Yeo earned about US$5 million from the illicit deal.

Yeo was jailed 30 months for tampering with key witnesses to hide his involvement in a money-laundering operation linked to 1MDB.

Ang is the fifth person to be dealt with in Singapore in relation to 1MDB – the others being Yeo, his former BSI colleagues Yak Yew Chee and Yvonne Seah, and Jens Fred Sturzenegger, a former branch manager of Falcon Private Bank in Singapore.

Source: CNA

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