DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE SERVICE PROVIDER, BANK OFFICER & NOMINEE DIRECTORS CHARGED FOR ASSISTING ANOTHER TO RETAIN BENEFITS FROM CRIMINAL CONDUCT

Five individuals have been charged for their involvement in seven shell companies which were suspected to be used, or intended to be used, to launder monies obtained from criminal conduct.

Between 2016 and 2019, CAD received eight police reports from victims who were allegedly deceived into wiring a total of USD 1,676,737 into the corporate bank accounts of six Singapore-registered companies, namely Plutusteam Pte Ltd, Glidertex Pte Ltd, Birseltex Global Pte Ltd, Temco Industrial Pte Ltd, Integrated Invest Pte Ltd and Modelana Trading Pte Ltd. In addition, there was an attempted transfer of HKD 3,244,282 into the corporate bank account of Jiangsu Chengde Steel Tube Share Co Pte Ltd, which did not go through because the bank account was closed.

Investigations revealed that Tan Hock Keat, who was a director of DM Advisory Pte Ltd, a company which provided corporate secretarial services, had purportedly assisted and taken instructions from one unidentified “George Clarke”, who was believed to be engaged in criminal conduct, to incorporate shell companies in Singapore to set up corporate bank accounts. Tan Hock Keat allegedly engaged Phua Wee Hao, who was working as a bank officer at the material time, to recruit local nominee directors, including Wong Poh Kiong, Wong Zhang Jie, and Low Ruey Ming, to incorporate the above-mentioned shell companies and set up the associated bank accounts. Thereafter, control over the corporate bank accounts were believed to be handed over to “George Clarke” via Phua Wee Hao and Tan Hock Keat.

On 29 March 2021, Tan Hock Keat was charged in court with entering into an arrangement to assist “George Clarke” to retain benefits from criminal conduct under Section 44(1)(a) of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, Chapter 65A (“CDSA”).

On 8 April 2021, Phua Wee Hao and Wong Zhang Jie were charged in court with entering into an arrangement to assist “George Clarke” to retain benefits from criminal conduct under Section 44(1)(a) of the CDSA. In addition, Phua Wee Hao was also charged with abetting Wong Zhang Jie and Low Ruey Ming to fail to act honestly and exercise reasonable diligence as company directors under Section 157(1) of the Companies Act, Chapter 50 (“CA”) read with Section 109 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224. Wong Zhang Jie, Wong Poh Kiong and Low Ruey Ming were also charged with failing to act honestly and exercise reasonable diligence as company directors under Section 157(1) of the CA.

Under Section 44(1)(a) of the CDSA, a person who enters into or is otherwise concerned in an arrangement, knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that, by the arrangement, the retention or control by or on behalf of that other person’s benefits of criminal conduct is facilitated, and knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that that other person is a person who engages in or has engaged in criminal conduct or has benefited from criminal conduct, shall be liable on conviction, to a fine not exceeding $500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to both.

Under Section 157(1) of the CA, a director who fails to act honestly and use reasonable diligence in the discharge of the duties of his office shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months.

 

 

Source: Singapore Police Force