Singapore ex-banker convicted in 1MDB Malaysia fund case

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TOKYO (AP) — A court in Singapore found a former private banker guilty Wednesday of trying to obstruct investigations linked to the indebted Malaysian State Fund 1MDB.

The State Court convicted Yeo Jiawei, a former wealth planner at Swiss private bank BSI, on four charges related to obstructing, preventing or perverting the course of justice.

Yeo denied involvement in the case.

He was alleged to have asked three key witnesses to lie to the authorities, dispose of a laptop and avoid traveling to Singapore, according to charge sheets. Prosecutors alleged he pocketed $26 million Singapore dollars ($18 million) in relation to the case.

In announcing his ruling Judge Ng Peng Hong said he found Yeo "to be an unreliable and not a credible witness."

Investigators in Singapore, Switzerland, Hong Kong and the U.S. have been probing allegations that people close to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak stole over $1 billion from 1MDB, or 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

In February, Singapore authorities said they had seized a large number of bank accounts in probe. Regulators are expected give a final update on their findings in early 2017.

Singapore ordered BSI to stop operating in the city in May due to violations of anti-money laundering requirements, among other problems. Yeo still faces seven other charges related to alleged money laundering, cheating and forgery linked to 1MDB.

For attempting to obstruct, prevent or pervert the course of justice, Yeo faces a maximum sentence of 3.5 years in jail and possible fines on each charge.

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