4 Singaporeans charged with conspiring to launder over $2m

Five men were charged yesterday with being part of a conspiracy to launder more than $2 million through shell companies.

One of them, Tan Hock Keat, a 34-year-old Malaysian, had allegedly taken instructions from an unidentified man to open corporate bank accounts in the name of shell companies.

Tan was previously the director of DM Advisory, a Singapore-based company providing corporate secretarial services.

He is accused of engaging bank officer Phua Wee Hao, a 33-year-old Singaporean, to recruit nominee directors for the shell companies.

From 2016 to 2019, the Singapore Police Force's Commercial Affairs Department received eight reports from victims who were allegedly deceived into wiring, in total, around US$1.67 million (S$2.24 million) into the bank accounts of six shell companies - Plutusteam, Glidertex, Birseltex Global, Temco Industrial, Integrated Invest and Modelana Trading.

Tan and Phua were charged with entering an arrangement to retain benefits from criminal conduct under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes Act (CDSA).

The Singaporean nominee directors - Wong Zhang Jie, 32, Wong Poh Kiong, 47, and Low Ruey Ming, 32 - were charged with failing to act honestly and exercise diligence as company directors.

For each count under the CDSA, a person may be jailed for up to 10 years or fined up to $500,000, or both.

For each count of failing to act honestly as a director, a person may be jailed for up to a year or fined up to $5,000. - THE STRAITS TIMES