Singapore jails Swiss banker in 1MDB corruption probe | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 11.01.2017
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Singapore jails Swiss banker in 1MDB corruption probe

Jens Fred Sturzenegger has pleaded guilty to money laundering and giving false information to investigators. Regulators said he failed to report "astronomical sums" from a financier tied to the defunct 1MDB fund.

A Singaporean district court on Wednesday found Swiss banker Jens Fred Sturzenegger guilty of failing to report suspicious transactions amounting to more than $1 billion (95 million euros) involving the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a failed Malaysian state fund.

"The accused had deliberately omitted to report the suspicious transactions, despite the obligation … to do so. I find you guilty and convicted of six charges," said Judge Ow Yong Tuck Leong, while announcing Sturzenegger's 28-week jail-term.

The court also fined Sturznegger $89,000 (84,600) after he pleaded guilty to three counts of money laundering and three counts of giving false information.

According to prosecutors, Sturnegger, who headed Swiss lender Falcon Private Bank's Singapore branch, gave investigators false information concerning Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho's transactions.

'Astronomical sums'

Low, a family friend of Malaysian premier Najib Razak, allegedly setup the 1MDB bank after it was created by the premier. At least $1 billion flowed into Low's accounts at Falcon.

However, Sturzenegger failed to report the "astronomical sums" to Singaporean regulators. The Swiss banker later told investigators that he did not know Low, despite evidence showing he had met with the Malaysian financier, who held accounts at Falcon under the alias Eric Tan.

He has become the first foreigner to be charged by Singaporean authorities in connection with a multinational investigation into allegations that Najib siphoned more than $1 billion from 1MDB.

Sturzenegger's lawyer announced that his client would likely not file an appeal and, instead, begin serving his sentence on Wednesday.

ls/ksb (AP, AFP)