SINGAPORE: The extravagance of Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, extended to his “consultant and adviser”, former BSI Bank staff Yeo Jiawei, the court was told yesterday.
According to financial firm Amicorp Group’s relationship manager Jose Renato Carvalho Pinto, Yeo’s relationship with Low was so close that he travelled on his private jet and accompanied him on his luxury yacht on a business trip to the Caribbean, The Straits Times reported today.
Pinto was testifying on the fifth day of the trial against Yeo on four counts of obstructing justice by allegedly urging witnesses to lie to police and destroy evidence while out on bail after being arrested on March 17 in connection with money laundering.
Yeo, who used to work with BSI Bank before being recruited by Low, had allegedly gained USD18 million from his series of deals and transactions done involving 1MDB money.
Pinto said that Yeo had become arrogant after becoming a “consultant and adviser” to Low and Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny, who is a former high-level official of Abu Dhabi state fund International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC).
Talking about Yeo’s relationship with Low, Pinto said Yeo travelled on his private jet and had accompanied Low on his luxury yacht Equanimity on a business trip to the Caribbean.
“Yeo stayed at five-star beach-front resort Sandy Lane, one of the most luxurious hotels in Barbados,” Pinto was quoted as telling the court by the Straits Times.
Another major extravagance for which Pinto had helped facilitate payment was in getting ringside seats to watch a Manny Pacquiao boxing match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, which cost a total of USD1.36 million (RM5.73 million) for 27 tickets.
The payment instruction had come from Yeo on behalf of his bosses Low and Ahmed Badawy. The cheapest seat for the bout was USD30,000, while the most expensive was USD75,000, according to Pinto.
On another occasion, Pinto said that Yeo had instructed him to top the Las Vegas casino membership cards of Low and his close associate, Eric Tan Kim Loong, by at least US$1 million each.
Pinto also alleged Yeo told him that after leaving BSI, he would work for Ahmed Badawy and “collect a 5 per cent fee on every invoice to Aabar”. Ahmed Badawy was the chief executive of Aabar Investments, which is a unit of IPIC
Ahmed Badawy, is also one of four people named in the United States Department of Justice’s civil suits to seize assets purchased with funds allegedly embezzled from 1MDB. The other three are Riza Aziz, who is Prime Minister Najib Razak’s stepson, Low, and Abu Dhabi government official Khadem al-Qubaisi.
Ahmed Badawy was chief executive of IPIC unit Aabar Investments and a former chairman of Falcon Bank, whose licence was withdrawn by the Monetary Authority of Singapore last month, ST reported.
Yeo also claimed that he would be working for sovereign wealth funds that were part of a “highly confidential government-to-government arrangement involving Saudi Arabia and Malaysia”, Pinto said. He testified that he had later learnt that the sovereign funds were 1MDB and SRC International, both of which were set up by Najib’s government. – FMT