Another Swiss ex-banker jailed over 1MDB scandal

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Another Swiss ex-banker jailed over 1MDB scandal

Former Falcon bank's Singapore branch manager Jens Fred Sturzenegger was sentenced to 28 weeks' jail and fined S$128,000 on Wednesday (Jan 11) for failing to report suspicious transactions and for providing false information to the authorities as part of Singapore's 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) money-laundering probe.

Falcon Private Bank is owned by Abu Dhabi's International Investment Company (Ipic).

Singapore, a regional financial hub known for its transparency and tough stance on corruption, a year ago kicked out Falcon Bank and BSI for what regulators called massive lapses in financial controls.

Singaporean prosecutors had told the court Malaysian businessman Jho Low had control over four accounts with the bank.

BSI wealth planner Yeo Jiawei was sentenced to 30 months' jail for tampering with key witnesses in Singapore's 1MDB probe.

Sturzenegger was said to have lied to investigators about never having made contact with Low.

Two other ex-BSI bankers, Yak Yew Chee and Yvonne Seah Yew Foong, were sentenced to jail terms of 18 weeks and two weeks, respectively, for forging documents and failing to disclose suspicious transactions allegedly related to Low.

The United States and Switzerland have also launched investigations into the 1MDB fund but only Singapore has meted out convictions so far.

Another 10 charges were for giving false information to Singapore authorities who were investigating the use of the city-state's banking system as a conduit for the transfer of illicit funds involving 1MDB. The other charges were taken into consideration in the sentencing.

Last Thursday, Sturzenegger, 42, was accused of, among other things, failing to disclose suspicious transactions totalling some US$1.3 billion and giving false information between July 2015 and October past year that were meant to cause enforcement officers to omit to probe Low Taek Jho's involvement in several bank accounts managed by Falcon Bank.

But he also acknowledged that Sturzenegger "fully cooperated" with the investigation and was a first-time offender.

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