2 men linked to scam jailed after trying to leave Singapore with S$400,000 hidden in underwear
The foreign pair were linked to a S$1.5 million vessel purchase scam.
SINGAPORE: Two foreign nationals were each sentenced to three years and eight months' jail on Monday (Aug 20) for their involvement in a S$1.5 million vessel purchase scam.
Romanian Kiss Iosif, 40, and Frenchman David Weidmann, 37, had pleaded guilty earlier this month to a charge of assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct.
They had tried to leave Singapore with more than S$400,000 stuffed in their underwear, but were stopped at Woodlands Checkpoint.
The case is linked to a scam last year in which cruise and leisure firm Oceanic Group was cheated when it brokered the sale of a vessel to a foreign buyer, whose identity was not disclosed in court documents.
In September last year, Oceanic Group’s managing director Daniel Chui Mun Yew travelled to Paris to collect a deposit for the vessel. After receiving the deposit of what he thought was 3.5 million euros (S$5.6 million), Mr Chui instructed his employees to pay S$1.5 million as commission to the buyer's representatives - Iosif and Weidmann - who were both in Singapore.
However, Mr Chui discovered later that the deposit had been paid with counterfeit notes. He instructed his staff to recall the S$1.5 million from the two men, but they could not and a police report was filed.
According to court documents, Iosif and Weidmann were last August contacted by a person known only as Boris, to come to Singapore to collect cash.
They were to hand the money over to another person and receive a commission of S$5,000 each in return.
THE PAIR SPLIT THE MONEY AND TRIED TO FLEE
After collecting the money from the Oceanic Group employee, Weidmann and Iosif returned to their hotel. Boris contacted them and told them to bring a sum of S$205,000 each to Malaysia.
The remaining money was to be handed over to another person, Boris instructed, telling them to ensure there were no cameras where they were to pass the cash.
The pair packed their bags and checked out of the hotel before going to City Square Mall. They handed over a suitcase containing S$1.08 million to a Dutch accomplice, Nikolic Predrag, who had been instructed to wait for them in a toilet there.
That same day, Iosif and Weidmann hid more than S$200,000 each in their underwear and tried to take a coach bound for Malaysia.
However, they were arrested at Woodlands Checkpoint and the money was recovered.
Of the S$1.08 million that Predrag received, about S$738,000 was recovered after he was arrested along with another woman, French national Nikolic Dalida. The remaining amount of about S$339,000 had, however, been remitted and could not be recovered by the police.
Iosif and Weidmann could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined up to S$500,000.
Predrag and Dalida were each sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ jail in June this year.