- Yak's bank accounts were among those frozen in Singapore probe
- Banker denied wrongdoing and said didn't get unlawful benefits
Yak Yew Chee, a BSI Bank Singapore executive whose financial accounts were frozen as part of a probe related to a Malaysian government fund, left the bank last month, according to the firm.
Yak, 58, had been a relationship manager for 1MDB Global Investments Ltd., a unit of 1Malaysia Development Bhd., whose advisory board is headed by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. 1MDB has been the subject of investigations stretching from the U.S. to Singapore amid allegations of financial irregularities.
The banker’s accounts were frozen by Singapore authorities in September and he’s been questioned as part of the city-state’s 1MDB inquiry. Yak was placed on leave from May to September while BSI conducted investigations, according to court papers. He hasn’t been charged.
“He is no longer employed by BSI,” Valeria Montesoro, a spokeswoman at the Lugano, Switzerland-based bank said in an e-mailed response to queries. “We fully cooperate with all authorities and regulators if and whenever necessary.” Yak’s lawyer Roderick Martin declined to comment.
Yak said in a declaration to BSI on April 27, and reproduced in court papers, that he didn’t get unlawful benefits from managing the 1MDB account.
Yak last month asked the Singapore High Court for permission to transfer funds from overseas bank accounts and unfreeze his funds in the city. A senior vice president at BSI, he was until recently paid a monthly salary of about S$82,000, ($59,000).
Both Najib and 1MDB have consistently denied any wrongdoing. Singapore’s authorities have seized “a large number” of bank accounts in connection with possible money-laundering in the country.
BSI said on Wednesday Hanspeter Brunner, its Singapore-based head of Asia operations who will turn 64 in April, is to retire in the coming weeks. His replacement will be Raj Sriram who will be appointed in the interim, pending the Singapore regulator’s approval, Montesoro said.