Assets worth S$240m seized as part of Singapore's 1MDB probe

Assets worth S$240m seized as part of Singapore's 1MDB probe

Of these, about S$120 million belong to Mr Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low, and his immediate family, say AGC, CAD and MAS.

1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, faces allegations that billions were pilfered from it by
Logo of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is seen on a building in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo: AFP/Manan Vatsyayana)

SINGAPORE: The Republic's investigations into various fund flows related to Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) began in March 2015 and, to date, has resulted in assets amounting to S$240 million seized.

According to a joint statement by the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday (Jul 21), the investigation on possible money laundering, securities fraud, cheating and other offences committed in Singapore is still in progress.

The statement comes on the heels of the US Attorney General Loretta Lynch announcing the filing of a civil suit to seek the forfeiture and recovery of more than US$1 billion in assets associated with 1MDB.

The fund flows being investigated include those connected with Good Star Limited (Seychelles), Aabar Investments PJS Limited (BVI), Aabar Investments PJS Limited (Seychelles), and Tanore Finance Corp. (BVI).

The criminal investigations by CAD are targeted at individuals suspected of committing offences in Singapore related to these flows, while MAS has been examining the financial institutions through which the funds flowed for possible regulatory breaches and control lapses, the press release said.

In the course of investigations, bank accounts belonging to various individuals have been seized and dealings in properties belonging to some of these individuals have been curtailed, the authorities said. Of these, about S$120 million belong to Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, and his immediate family.

Malaysian businessman Jho Low

Malaysian businessman Jho Low. (Photo: Jho Low/ Facebook)

The Malaysian businessman is one of the figures involved in the 1MDB saga and is said to have close family ties with Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Singapore has made a number of requests for information to countries where these funds originated from or were subsequently sent to, and similar requests have been made of Singapore, the authorities revealed.

"Appropriate actions will be brought against those who have broken Singapore's laws," the agencies said. "To-date, two individuals – Mr Yeo Jiawei and Mr Kelvin Ang – have been charged for various offences. Several other individuals are still being questioned or investigated."

Yeo is a former wealth manager of BSI Bank, which had its merchant bank status withdrawn after MAS found serious AML breaches. The 33-year-old Singaporean is facing nine charges, including forgery and money laundering, and is currently still in remand.

Source: CNA/kk