Man in money laundering case jailed, forfeits highest amount of assets seized, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Man in money laundering case jailed, forfeits highest amount of assets seized

The accused in Singapore’s $3 billion money laundering case who faces the most number of charges has also forfeited the most amount of assets seized to the state.

Vang Shuiming, 43, was sentenced to 13 months and six weeks’ jail after pleading guilty on May 14 to two counts of money laundering and one count of submitting a forged document to a bank.

Nineteen other charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Vang agreed to forfeit about $180 million of the $199 million worth of assets, cash, vehicles, properties and luxury items belonging to him and his wife which were seized by the police.

This is the highest amount forfeited by an accused person in this case, so far.

Five others convicted had forfeited between $5.9 million and $165 million in assets.

Also known as Wang Shuiming, the Turkish national who is originally from China is one of 10 foreigners arrested in a money laundering probe in August 2023 that saw more than $3 billion in cash and assets seized.

Vang faced 22 charges in total – four counts of money laundering and 18 counts of submitting forged financial documents to banks.

Deputy Public Prosecutor David Koh told the court that in 2021, Vang arranged for HK$299 million (S$51.8 million) to be remitted from Indonesia to his Citibank Singapore account.

When Citibank asked him about the remittance, Vang submitted documents through former Citibank employee Wang Qiming, claiming all the funds transferred came from Vang himself.

UOB Kay Hian and Swiss bank Bank Julius Baer & Co, whom Vang had accounts with, also queried him on his source of wealth.

Vang told them his money came from three companies in China, and provided financial statements from these firms to substantiate his claim.

These statements were all forged, said DPP Koh.

Vang’s money laundering charges state he had a total of about $2.4 million held in four bank accounts, purportedly benefits from an unlicensed moneylending business in China.

Vang eventually admitted to the police he used falsified books of accounts to move funds from China to Singapore.

He said all the money was from gambling winnings and real estate investments in the Philippines.

The prosecution sought a total of 14 to 16 months’ imprisonment, while his defence lawyer Wendell Wong asked for 13 months.

Mr Wong said his client felt a profound sense of remorse and wanted to apologise to the court and to the Singapore Government.

Said Mr Wong: “He did not intend to cause harm to Singapore, Singaporeans or any persons in Singapore.

“Mr Vang’s hope is that in agreeing to forfeit (the) $180 million, it will go to some measure to restore any actual or perceived harm the justice system may feel he has committed.”

The lawyer added that Vang had brought his entire family to Singapore around five years ago, including his three children and elderly parents.

District Judge Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz said Vang’s offences disclose an entrenched and concerted effort to deceitfully legitimise funds and circumvent checks.

Said the judge: “I find myself unable to accept the defence’s curious and ultimately strained characterisation of Mr Vang as an individual who had not intended to cause any trouble in Singapore.”

Judge Sharmila added that Vang’s decision to surrender his assets is reflective of his contrition, and that she gave significant weight to this factor in sentencing.

Vang has been remanded for almost nine months since his arrest at a good class bungalow at Bishopsgate, near Orchard Road, on Aug 15, 2023. With one-third remission, he may be out of jail by early June.

Originally from Fujian province in China, Vang is wanted by the Chinese authorities for his involvement in the Heng Bo Bao Wang gambling syndicate uncovered in 2022.

His brother, Wang Shuiting, is allegedly an associate of the syndicate. The brothers are among nine members of the gang on the run from the Chinese authorities.

In a bail review hearing, Vang admitted to having more than $35.5 million worth of assets overseas. The judge who denied him bail said this shows he clearly has the means to relocate comfortably.

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