Singapore

'Corporate money mule' accountant's jail term cut by more than half

'Corporate money mule' partly wins appeal against sentence

The first person to be prosecuted here as a "corporate money mule" had his jail term cut by more than half by the High Court, in a decision which also laid down sentencing guidelines for future cases.

Abdul Ghani Tahir, 52, partly won his appeal against his sentence and will serve a year in jail for his neglect in allowing the bank account of a company - of which he was a director - to be used for money laundering. He was also fined $50,000.

He was originally sentenced last year to a jail term of 26 months and four weeks.

As a chartered accountant, he provided corporate secretarial services, including incorporating companies on behalf of clients and acting as the resident director of companies with overseas directors.

In December 2011, he incorporated World Eastern International on behalf of a Romanian man and agreed to be the resident director of the firm, which was supposedly in the business of "wholesale of parts and accessories for vehicles".

He had never met the company owner but set up the firm on the request of a Romanian agent.

Between April 11 and May 28, 2012, $321,954 was deposited into the firm's UOB bank account from Singapore, Austria, Sudan and Canada, and $637,300 was transferred to accounts in China, Morocco, the United States, Geneva, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong.

After an eight-day trial in 2015, Abdul Ghani was convicted of six counts under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act and one count under the Companies Act. He appealed against the conviction and sentence.

In a 93-page written judgment released yesterday, Justice Chan Seng Onn dismissed his appeal against conviction.

The judge also said jail should not ordinarily be imposed for purely negligent breaches.

But in Abdul Ghani's case, his culpability "evolved from mere negligence to sheer recklessness" as UOB had specifically alerted him to a probable fraudulent transaction.

courtcorruptionBANKS