Shell heist: Man received up to US$1.6m for role in crime, used monies to buy car, condo, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Shell heist: Man received up to US$1.6m for role in crime, used monies to buy car, condo

A process technician at oil giant Shell worked together with his colleagues to misappropriate gas oil from the firm worth more than US$93 million (over S$127 million) between August 2014 and January 2018.

For his role in the offences, Cai Zhi Zhong received between US$1.3 million and US$1.6 million in ill-gotten gains.

The court heard that he used a portion of the monies to pay for a condominium unit at the Vue 8 Residence in Pasir Ris Heights, an Audi A3 car, as well as luxury watches worth between $57,000 and $73,500 each.

On Wednesday, Cai, 39, pleaded guilty to multiple offences including criminal breach of trust and dealing with the benefits of criminal activities. He has made no restitution to Shell.

Gas oil is refined crude oil and is often used as fuel and as an alternative to diesel in some countries.

One of the masterminds of the heist, Juandi Pungot, 45 , was jailed for 29 years in March for siphoning nearly $128 million worth of gas oil.

He was the first key player to be dealt with for his role in the conspiracy, and had been given one of the longest prison terms for a commercial crime.

Several offenders linked to the case including Sadagopan Premnath, then 40,( and Quek Rong Hong, 38, were also dealt with in court earlier.

The cases involving several others are still pending. They include Koh Choon Wei, 40, Muzaffar Ali Khan Muhamad Akram, 41, and Tiah Kok Hwee, 45.

Cai joined Shell in 2008 and six years later, Juandi recruited him into the plan involving misappropriation of gas oil.

Applying his in-depth knowledge of the panel and pipeline network, Caiidentified tanks from which gas oil could be misappropriated.

Heused methods including adjusting flow rates to allow for the fuel to be siphoned off without creating suspicious drops in tank levels.

He had also assisted to set up Whatsapp groups for coordination among the conspirators.

Cai earned up to US$1.6 million.

On about 30 occasions between July 2015 and December 2017, he used more than $450,000 of his ill-gotten gains to make payments for the condominium unit. The full price of the apartment was not disclosed in court documents.

Separately, on more than 20 occasions around the same period, he used over $106,000 of the monies to make payments for the Audi A3.

In 2017, he bought three Patek Philippe watches and one Audemars Piguet watch that cost up to $73,500 each.

On Aug 1, 2017, a Shell representative made a police report stating that the company had suffered an unidentified loss of fuel.

Cai was then arrested on Jan 8, 2018, and the authorities seized from him items including multiple luxury watches.

He is expected to be sentenced on Oct 20.

For criminal breach of trust, an offender can be jailed for up to 15 years and fined.