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Director jailed for cheating banks, getting others to make false declarations about company ownership

Director jailed for cheating banks, getting others to make false declarations about company ownership

File photo of a gavel. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A company director was sentenced to four weeks' jail on Wednesday (Sep 8) for conspiring to cheat banks by making false declarations about the beneficial owners of several firms.

Russian national Koryagin Vadim, 53, was the director of MEA Business Solutions. It was set up in 2014 to help foreign clients to incorporate companies and set up bank accounts in Singapore, said the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB). 

Vadim acted as a local resident director for these companies. 

He also engaged a number of Singaporeans to serve as local resident directors for companies that he set up on behalf of foreigners, said CPIB. This is to fulfil the requirement under the Companies Act of having at least one director whose usual place of residence is in Singapore.

Vadim would register each company with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) in the name of the local resident director and list them as the sole shareholder of the company.

He would also instruct the local resident director to open a corporate bank account for the company.

"Vadim was convicted after trial in relation to three such instances, whereby he abetted a local resident director to falsely declare himself to the banks as the ultimate beneficial owner of the companies/bank accounts in question," said CPIB.

"Vadim had also provided the local resident director with the necessary information to answer the questions posed by bank representatives who were trying to establish the true beneficial ownership of these companies/bank accounts."

The offences, committed between 2014 and 2017, had circumvented the banks’ anti-money laundering procedures, CPIB noted.

Vadim faces four more charges for cheating various banks in his capacity as a local resident director, as well as 22 charges of abetting other local resident directors to do the same.

"Singapore adopts a strict zero-tolerance approach towards corruption and financial crimes such as money laundering that threaten the integrity of our financial system," said CPIB.

MEA BUSINESS CONSULTANCY BARRED AS FILING AGENT

In a separate press release, ACRA said it has cancelled the registration of MEA Business Consultancy as a filing agent after it failed to conduct due diligence to establish the identities of the beneficial owners of the registered entities.

ACRA said this is the first time it has cancelled a filing agent's registration for breaches of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing rules. It has also been barred from acting as a filing agent for two years until Mar 7, 2023.

MEA Business Consultancy was engaged by MEA Business Solutions to set up 14 local companies and provide corporate secretarial services, said ACRA, noting that some of these companies were later used for cheating offences which were investigated by CPIB.

The names of filing agents whose registration have been suspended or cancelled are published on BizFile and on ACRA's website. 

Source: CNA/lk(gs)

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