Business

MAS issues lifetime ban against key figure in 1MDB probe

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued a lifetime ban against former BSI Bank wealth manager Yeo Jiawei, and a three-year ban against NRA Capital founder Kevin Scully, which took effect on Monday.

These bans, or prohibition orders (POs), prevent Yeo and Mr Scully from providing any financial advisory services, taking part in the management of, acting as a director of, or becoming a substantial shareholder of any financial advisory firm in Singapore.

Yeo, who emerged as a key figure in Singapore's probe into Malaysian state wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), was investigated by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and "convicted on a number of charges, including money laundering, cheating and tampering of witnesses", the MAS said. It found that Mr Scully, chief executive of licensed financial adviser NRA Capital, which had been appointed to value PetroSaudi Oil Services, "failed to ensure NRA's valuation of PetroSaudi was carried out with sufficient care, judgment and objectivity".

Investigators claimed inflated PetroSaudi valuations were used to justify and obscure improper fund transfers at the heart of the 1MDB scandal.

The US Justice Department also alleged US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion) from Malaysia's government coffers, meant for 1MDB's joint venture with PetroSaudi, was siphoned off to Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho.

When contacted, Mr Scully told The Business Times that he will resign from his designation at NRA.

Including these latest actions, the MAS has issued POs against eight people involved in 1MDB-related breaches.

Other POs served include six-year bans to Maybank Kim Eng Securities' former representative Kelvin Ang and NRA former head of research Lee Chee Waiy; a 10-year ban to former director of Goldman Sachs (South-east Asia) Tim Leissner, the lead banker to the fund; and a 15-year ban to former representative of BSI Bank Yvonne Seah. 1MDB's bonds were underwritten by Goldman Sachs International, the bank's London-based unit.

Two other individuals related to the 1MDB case have been slapped with lifetime bans - BSI Bank's former managing director Yak Yew Chee and former branch manager of Falcon Private Bank (Singapore) Jens Sturzenegger.

BUSINESS & FINANCE