Singapore convicts first suspect in record money laundering case

In Asia

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A Porsche 911 Targa vehicle seized by police at a residence of Su Jiafeng, one of the suspects in the S$2.8 billion money-laundering case, in Singapore, on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. Allegations have erupted that wealthy Chinese have been pouring ill-gotten gains into the Asian financial hub, in what the government itself describes as potentially one of the world’s largest money-laundering cases.

Ore Huiying | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Singapore on Tuesday sentenced the first person to plead guilty in the Southeast Asia island-state’s biggest money laundering scandal to a 13-month imprisonment.

Cambodian national Su Wenqiang had faced 11 charges relating to forgery and laundering criminal proceeds. Public prosecutors went ahead with two counts of money laundering after an agreement to consider the remaining nine charges for sentencing.

The Singapore police said it has seized around 6 million Singapore dollars ($4.44 million) worth of assets from Su. According to court documents emailed to CNBC, this includes more than 2 million Singapore dollars in a bank account with United Overseas Bank, a Mercedes Benz, Chinese Moutai liquor and jewelry from Tiffany’s and Dior.

Su was charged for laundering income from his part in abetting the operation of an illegal offshore remote gambling service out of the Philippines, which catered to mainland Chinese clients, according to court documents.

Su, 32, was arrested in August last year along with nine others of Chinese origin, in a case that has stunned many and raised doubts over Singapore’s reputation as a financial hub. Two suspects are still on the run.

The value of all assets seized to date now exceeds more than 3 billion Singapore dollars, according to court documents.

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