As an “adviser” to Malaysian tycoon Jho Low, ex-BSI banker Yeo Jiawei instructed a relationship manager at Amicorp bank to set up bank accounts for two shell companies, a Singapore court heard on Monday (Nov 7).
Mr Jose Renato Carvalho Pinto, an employee at Amicorp Group, was giving evidence in the trial of Yeo, who faces four counts of perverting the course of justice by allegedly urging witnesses to lie to the police and destroy evidence.
Prosecutors have charged that Yeo, 33, carried out illicit transactions through Amicorp Group.
Mr Pinto testified that Yeo asked him to set up bank accounts for two offshore companies – Aabar Investments PJS (incorporated in Samoa) and Aabar International Investments PJS (incorporated in BVI).
It was only after Yeo was charged in April this year – and after Yeo was paid US$4 million in bogus referral fees – did Mr Pinto realise these entities were fake and were meant to be confused with the original Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments PJS, he claimed. “Amicorp was cheated," Mr Pinto said.
Mr Pinto also testified that he set up bank accounts for Mr Low and his family on Yeo’s instructions. Yeo took charge of the Low family’s accounts at Amicorp, and communicated with Mr Pinto at least once a week, the relationship manager said.
When Yeo was questioned by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) on suspicion of money laundering, he allegedly called Mr Pinto, based on Hong Kong by that time, and asked him to destroy his laptop. He also told Mr Pinto not to travel to Singapore, lest he be questioned by the CAD.
YEO WAS 'ARROGANT, AGGRESSIVE' WHILE WORKING UNDER JHO LOW: PINTO
Testifying in court on Monday, Mr Pinto recounted meeting Yeo in 2011 when the latter was a wealth planner at BSI bank. He described Yeo as a “hard worker, very intelligent, knowledgeable about the financial industry.”
Things changed when Yeo left to work for Mr Low, travelling around with the billionaire on his private jet and super yacht. He became “arrogant and aggressive”, Mr Pinto said, calling his associates Mr Samuel Goh and Kelvin Ang “working level” because their jobs were to follow Yeo’s instructions.
According to Mr Pinto, Yeo also had a penchant for showing off. For example, he sent Mr Pinto a picture of himself at the Mayweather vs Pacquiao boxing match in Las Vegas, for which Yeo had ordered 27 tickets for US$1.36 million.
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