SINGAPORE – Five men were charged on Thursday (April 8) with being part of a conspiracy to launder more than $2 million through shell companies.
One of them, Tan Hock Keat, a 34-year-old Malaysian, had allegedly taken instructions from an unidentified man to open corporate bank accounts in the name of shell companies.
Tan was previously the director of DM Advisory, a Singapore-based company that provided corporate secretarial services.
He is accused of engaging bank officer Phua Wee Hao, a 33-year-old Singaporean, to recruit nominee directors for the shell companies.
Between 2016 and 2019, the Singapore Police Force’s Commercial Affairs Department received eight police reports from victims who were allegedly deceived into wiring around US$1.67 million (S$2.24 million) into the bank accounts of six shell companies.
The companies are Plutusteam, Glidertex, Birseltex Global, Temco Industrial, Integrated Invest and Modelana Trading.
The police added that there was also an attempted transfer of around HK$3.24 million (S$558,000) into the bank account of Jiangsu Chengde Steel Tube Share – a Chinese company that produced steel tubes – but it did not go through as the bank account was closed.
Tan and Phua were charged on Thursday with entering into an arrangement to retain benefits from criminal conduct under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes Act (CDSA).
The Singaporean nominee directors – Wong Zhang Jie, 32, Wong Poh Kiong, 47, and Low Ruey Ming, 32, – were charged with failing to act honestly and exercise diligence as company directors.
For each count under the CDSA, a person may be jailed for up to 10 years or fined up to $500,000, or both.
For each count of failing to act honestly as a director, a person may be jailed for up to a year or fined up to $5,000.