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Affidavits regarding the accused in the S$28b money laundering case reveal information about purchased passports and shell corporations


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    SINGAPORE: Two months have passed since the mid-August simultaneous arrests of 10 foreign suspects in a transnational money laundering probe involving S$2.8 billion (US$2 billion) in assets seized or frozen, with the accused returning to court for multiple bail reviews and further mentions.

    At the heart of the broader case is a remote gambling operation based in the Philippines, which several of the accused are allegedly linked to and a scheme that generated proceeds from punters in China.

    Despite a wanted notice issued by China in 2015 naming some of the accused, they managed to set up shop in Singapore, with some running alleged shell companies, from as early as 2019.

    The illegal gambling proceeds are alleged to have been laundered in Singapore through luxury property purchases, jewellery, liquor, bags and watches. Some of the proceeds were also found in cash or stashed in safe deposit boxes.

    Voluminous documents have been shared by both defence and prosecution in multiple full-day hearings, with investigation officers on the respective cases providing affidavits - or statements made on oath - on their accounts of the probe, and some of the accused giving their own affidavits to gain temporary freedom in the form of bail.

    While bail has been denied across the board, whether in the State Courts or the High Court, the exchanges of documents have revealed nuggets of information about the accused even at this early stage of proceedings.

    Not one of the 10 has indicated in open court that they would be pleading guilty. In fact, at least one has indicated his intention to claim trial.

    As bail reviews become more and more heated, with a raft of defence lawyers largely from top-tier firms taking up battle positions and some accused switching counsel more than once, CNA sifts through the details of the affidavits for an update on what they have revealed about the accused.

    On top of the fresh details, passport photos of some of the accused have been released in court documents for the first time.

    SU JIANFENG

    • Age: 35
    • Nationality in charge sheets: Ni-Vanuatu
    • Passports: China, Vanuatu, Saint Kitts and Nevis
    • Charges he faces: Four of possessing illegal proceeds from illegal remote gambling offences, comprising S$17 million in three safe deposit boxes and S$550,903 in cash
    • Assets seized from him or his wife: S$231 million in cash, bank accounts, cryptocurrency, real estate and vehicles
    • Defence: Senior Counsel N Sreenivasan from K&L Gates Straits Law, Mr Ravindran Ramasamy from CNPLaw

    In Commercial Affairs Officer Lye Jia He's two affidavits, he said investigations reveal that Su was involved in a remote lottery business operating from the Philippines.

    Su was paid for his work in cash, said the officer. The investigation officer (IO) also alleged that there is evidence pointing to Su submitting forged documents to open bank accounts and to obscure the source of funds received in them.

    The IO said Su has been wanted by Chinese authorities for illegal online gambling activities since 2017, and claims Su is aware of this.

    A wanted notice posted online stated that Chinese police in places such as Jiangsu, Liaoning, Yunnan and Shaodong had "significant suspicions" that Su is involved in cases of cross-border online gambling and that Su is "on the run", the IO said.

    Su's parents live in China, while his wife has passports from China, Vanuatu and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

    Su's three children are American and Chinese nationals.

    According to the IO's affidavits, Su's overseas wealth is concentrated in Dubai, with a villa, two offices, rooms in condominiums or "hotel condominiums" and a bank account worth about S$12.1 million.

    Su purportedly told the IO that the money in his charges involved a friend he met in Dubai known as "Ah Ler". Su said he could not contact Ah Ler or gather supporting documents of the source of the funds because he has been remanded.

    Su holds an employment pass in Singapore and is listed as the chief executive officer of local company An Xing Technology, but the IO said his investigations show that this is a shell company.

    In Su's two Chinese passports, his place of birth is listed as Fujian.

    LIN BAOYING

    • Age: 44
    • Nationality in charge sheets: Chinese
    • Passports: China, Dominica, Turkey, Cambodia
    • Charges she faces: Three charges for forging documents to sell a property in Macau and for lying that she had not prepared the sale document
    • Assets seized from her: S$215.6 million in cash, bank accounts, cryptocurrency, real estate and vehicles, as well as jewellery, collectibles, luxury watches and bags
    • Defence: Chew Kei-Jin from Ascendant Legal

    According to Commercial Affairs officer Seow Jing Min's affidavits, Lin is in a romantic relationship with co-accused Zhang Ruijin and calls him "husband".

    They have known each other for more than 10 years. Co-accused Su Haijin and Su Baolin are also her friends, by her own admission, the IO said.

    Lin has gone on holiday with Zhang and the two Sus and their respective wives.

    Lin, whose value of assets seized is among the highest of the 10 accused, has one Chinese passport that remains unaccounted for.

    She holds an employment pass for her position of assistant chief investment officer with locally registered company Golden Eagle Family Office.

    The IO said the company was set up to manage Lin's own wealth, and that she makes the investment decisions.

    Lin also has registered businesses in Singapore called Eagle77 and Ban Tian Yao Catering Management, but the IO said they do not have any substantive operations, with Eagle77 set up solely to facilitate Lin's purchase of property in Singapore.

    Lin has a 15-year-old daughter who lives with a helper on Beach Road, in the same building as Lin's sister, Lin Xiaozhen.

    Lin lives in Sentosa, where she was arrested with her lover Zhang.

    Lin's son is studying in the United Kingdom, and her parents live in China, while her siblings live in China and the United Arab Emirates.

    Lin has S$30.7 million in estimated wealth overseas, comprising six residential properties worth S$10 million in the UK, one property in the Philippines worth S$5.7 million, one property in Dubai worth S$3.7 million and bank accounts containing a total of S$11.3 million in Hong Kong, Macau and the UK.

    According to Lin's Chinese passport, she is from Fujian.

    She obtained passports from Dominica and Cambodia after paying an agent US$130,000 and US$160,000 respectively, the IO said.

    ZHANG RUIJIN

    Age: 45

    • Nationality in charge sheets: Chinese
    • Passports: China, Saint Kitts and Nevis
    • Charges he faces: Three forgery charges over Macau property and loan agreement for funds from a Hong Kong company
    • Assets seized from him: S$109.8 million in cash, bank accounts, four real estate properties, four vehicles, as well as liquor, gold and luxury watches
    • Defence: Mr Loo Choon Chiaw, Mr Chia Foon Yeow and Mr Lewis Lew Jia Rong from Loo & Partners

    According to affidavits from Commercial Affairs Officer Daniel Neubronner, the S$109.8 million in assets seized or frozen from Zhang are maintained in his name and two companies, Golden Eagle Assets and Golden Eagle Family Office.

    Zhang has three passports - two from China and one from Saint Kitts and Nevis - and his newer Chinese passport is unaccounted for. He claims to not remember where it is kept, the IO said.

    He obtained citizenship and a passport from Saint Kitts and Nevis upon purchasing a property worth US$250,000 there, the IO said.

    Zhang has an employment pass for the position of chief investment officer with local company Golden Eagle Family Office.

    According to Zhang's statement, the company was primarily set up for him to obtain an employment pass in Singapore and manage his own wealth, said the IO.

    In other words, the company is used solely to make investment decisions on Zhang's own wealth.

    Zhang's son and daughter study in Japan and China respectively, while his parents and two older brothers live in China.

    According to Zhang, he has about S$41 million in overseas wealth. This includes S$93,000 in Chinese bank accounts, S$931,000 in cash in a Chinese trading company he partly owns, and about S$2.8 million in shares bought with funds held in a Hong Kong bank account.

    He also has about S$37 million worth of shares in a Philippine real estate development company.

    Zhang is linked to a man dubbed Suspect X, who is wanted by Singapore police. The Singapore Police Force (SPF) is seeking information from overseas law enforcement agencies about Suspect X's locations and activities, and seized or frozen properties worth S$127 million from this suspect.

    Zhang is also friends with co-accused Su Haijin and played golf with Su Baolin, going on overseas vacations with the pair and their wives along with his lover Lin Baoying.

    According to Zhang's Chinese passports, he is originally from Fujian.

    WANG DEHAI

    • Age: 34
    • Nationality in charge sheets: Cypriot
    • Passports: Vanuatu, Cyprus, Cambodia, China
    • Charges he faces: Two charges of laundering gambling proceeds by buying a unit in The Marq, possessing S$2.3 million in illegal gambling earnings
    • Assets seized from him and his wife: S$51 million in cash, cryptocurrency, bank accounts, real estate and vehicles
    • Defence: Ms Megan Chia of Tan Rajah & Cheah

    According to the Assistant Superintendent of Police Lim Yong Khiang, who is on Wang's case, Wang was recruited into the online gambling business operating in the Philippines in 2012.

    He first worked in customer service dealing with punters before becoming a promoter, posting advertisements for online gambling on popular websites, ASP Lim said.

    He was purportedly paid in cash or through bank transfers.

    Wang has been wanted by Chinese authorities for illegal online gambling activities since 2017, ASP Lim charged.

    Wang's wife and three children, like him, are Cypriots. His parents live in China, and Wang has substantial wealth overseas.

    This comprises S$1.06 million in two houses in Xiamen, about S$2.9 million in a house in Cyprus, and more than S$10 million in Hong Kong bank accounts, ASP Lim said.

    Wang is linked to four other alleged accomplices who are wanted by the SPF. Two of them are wanted by Chinese authorities for illegal online gambling activities since 2017, and two of the four who are at large are Wang's relatives, ASP Lim said.

    Wang claimed in his own affidavit that he and his wife began exploring moving their family to Singapore so their three children could have a better education.

    He also said he and his wife intended to relocate their parents to Singapore in the near future.

    VANG SHUIMING

    • Age: 42
    • Nationality in charge sheets: Turk
    • Passports: China, Vanuatu, Cambodia, Turkey
    • Charges he faces: Five for possessing criminal benefits worth S$2.4 million from unlicensed moneylending in China and of using a forged document
    • Assets seized from him and his wife: More than S$200 million, including cash, bank accounts, 15 properties and vehicles.
    • Defence: Mr Wendell Wong, Mr Andrew Chua and Ms Yang Xinyan from Drew & Napier

    According to the lead investigation officer on Vang's case, Mr Teh Yee Liang, Vang is wanted by Chinese authorities for illegal online gambling activities.

    His brother, Wang Shuiting, who is at large, is also wanted by Chinese and Singapore authorities, said Mr Teh.

    Vang's wife, son and daughter also have passports from Turkey, China and Vanuatu. Vang has other family members based in the UK and China.

    Mr Teh said Vang claimed to have obtained the passports from Turkey and Vanuatu by making financial contributions.

    He claimed to have acquired Cambodian citizenship by donating money to the Cambodian government, who "offered" him a passport, Mr Teh alleged.

    This passport is missing. Vang also has three land plots in Cambodia with an estimated value of US$18 million.

    Other than this, he has wealth overseas, including 32 million yuan in investments in Chinese private companies, US$500,000 in investments in Turkey, two condominium units in Xiamen, China, worth 20 million yuan, a factory unit in Xiamen worth a few million yuan, HK$2 million in a Hong Kong bank account and US$110,000 in USDT tokens.

    Vang has multiple links to other wanted suspects, Mr Teh said. These include his brother Wang Shuiting, a suspect who has had more than S$260 million in assets seized by Singapore police, and another relative who has been convicted for illegal gambling activities in China.

    Two days after Vang was arrested in August this year and while he was still remanded, more than US$2.8 million worth of cryptocurrencies were withdrawn from his Binance account.

    This was purportedly by "a person of interest", Mr Teh said.

    Vang moved his family to Singapore in 2019 and has stayed here since. His two older children are studying in international schools here, while his youngest is an infant.

    Most of the 10 accused in the case are now at the pre-trial conference stage, which cannot be attended by the public or the media.

    This is with the exception of Su Wenqiang, who is set for a bail review in November, and Chen Qingyuan, who changed lawyers from Mr Mark Tan to a team from Drew & Napier led by Mr Gary Leonard Low.

    Chen will return to court in November for a further mention.

    Editor's note: An earlier version of the article said Zhang Ruijin faces two forgery charges, and that his seized or frozen assets are from two companies in his name. These are incorrect. Zhang faces three forgery charges, and his seized or frozen assets are maintained in his name and two companies. We are sorry for the errors.

    Sources


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