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Four more people in Singapore charged over Wirecard case, taking total tally to seven

Four more people in Singapore charged over Wirecard case, taking total tally to seven

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Wirecard AG is pictured at its headquarters in Aschheim, near Munich, Germany, July 1, 2020. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert/File Photo

SINGAPORE: Four more people were charged in court on Wednesday (Aug 17) in connection to the Wirecard investigation, taking the total tally to seven.

This comes after investigations by the Singapore Police Force's Commercial Affairs Department into the activities of two Singapore subsidiaries of the German company Wirecard AG.

Three of the four - James Aga Wardhana, Chai Ai Lim and See Lee Wee - were former employees of Wirecard Asia Holding, while Yeo Chiew Hai Henry was a director at Jacobson Fareast Marketing Services.

The four individuals allegedly conspired with Edo Kurniawan, then Wirecard Asia's vice president of controlling and finance, to dishonestly misappropriate amounts ranging between S$41,200 and S$100,000 from the company.

Edo left Singapore before investigations into the offences commenced, and a warrant of arrest has been issued against him in connection to the case, said the police.

Wardhana, See and Yeo are also accused of committing money laundering by allegedly transferring most of the misappropriated amounts to other individuals.

Additionally, Wardhana has also been charged for allegedly abetting Yeo to falsify four invoices totalling S$184,870 from Jacobson Fareast to Wirecard Asia.

The four individuals will be charged with criminal breach of trust. If convicted, they could be jailed for up to 15 years and be liable to a fine for each charge. 

Wardhana, See and Yeo have also been charged with the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act. If convicted, face jail terms of up to 10 years and fines of up to S$500,000 for each charge.

Wardhana and Yeo have also been charged with falsification of accounts. If convicted, they could be jailed for up to 10 years and be liable to a fine for each charge.

Before this, three other men had been charged in connection to the Wirecard investigation.

In May, James Henry O'Sullivan was given two additional counts of allegedly abetting to falsify documents.

He had purportedly instigated R Shanmugaratnam - the director of local accounting firm Citadelle Corporate Services - to issue letters to Wirecard that falsely confirmed that Strategic Corporate Investments, another company, held certain sums of money under escrow in its bank account, which it did not.

In September last year, O'Sullivan had been handed five charges of abetting Shanmugaratnam in the falsification of documents. 

Shanmugaratnam had been charged with 14 counts of falsification of documents for allegedly issuing 14 letters from Citadelle to Wirecard, its subsidiaries and an audit firm.

The letters falsely claimed that Citadelle held large sums of money in its escrow accounts at various points in time between 2015 and 2017, when the company did not maintain such accounts or hold such balances in its accounts.

Strategic’s director Thilagaratnam Rajaratnam was also charged in court in May this year.

Munich-based Wirecard collapsed in June 2020 after its auditor refused to sign off on its 2019 accounts because it could not verify €1.9 billion (S$2.7 billion) supposedly held abroad in escrow by third-party partners.

Several Wirecard executives, including former chief executive Markus Braun, have been arrested on fraud charges.

In September 2020, MAS directed Wirecard to cease its payment services in Singapore and to return all customers' funds.

Source: CNA/fh(jo)


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