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HomesingaporeBillion-dollar money-laundering case: Wanted man accused of laundering S$500k by buying car...

Billion-dollar money-laundering case: Wanted man accused of laundering S$500k by buying car denied bail

SINGAPORE: Yet another accused person in the billion-dollar money laundering probe has been denied bail, with the investigating officer alleging that Su Wenqiang was wanted in China and worked in a remote lottery business operating from the Philippines and Cambodia.

Su, a 31-year-old man listed as a Cambodian national in charge sheets, is accused of two offences: Having S$601,706 (US$441,000) that comes at least in part from illegal remote gambling offences, and using S$500,000 in illegal proceeds to buy a Mercedes Benz AMG C63S in January last year.

Su has passports from China, Cambodia and Vanuatu and is shown in his Chinese passport to be from Fujian.

His lawyers, Mr Sameer Amir Melber and Mr Manoj Nandwani from Gabriel Law Corporation, applied for him to be released on bail on Thursday (Nov 2).

Mr Sameer said there has been extensive media attention surrounding this case, but the prosecution has tried to group all 10 accused people together and link them.

He argued that his client was not a flight risk. Most of his assets have been seized, and even if he has a house in China, he is wanted there.

Mr Sameer said it was unlikely that further evidence would be obtained through remanding his client further, and said there has been no charge for common intention or conspiracy involving his client.

While the prosecution had said there were four individuals who could help Su escape, Mr Sameer said that by the prosecution’s own submissions, the four people were simply not in Singapore at the time of the police raid.

It was not as if they had escaped, he said.

He said his client was a father of two young children aged five and six and that he had moved them to Singapore intending to live here permanently and to benefit from the “robust education system”.

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Deputy Public Prosecutor Edwin Soh pointed to the affidavits filed by the investigating officer on Su’s case in objecting to bail.

According to Senior Investigation Officer with the Criminal Investigation Department Mr Francis Lim, Su was arrested on Aug 15 after the islandwide raid conducted by the Singapore Police Force linked to money-laundering offences.

A total of S$601,706 in cash linked to Su has been seized, along with his wife’s bank account containing about S$2 million and two vehicles worth at least S$584,000 in his wife’s name.

The second charge for the Mercedes Benz was tendered after investigations found that Su had bought it with S$500,000 in cash, Mr Lim said.

In total, Su faces offences involving suspected criminal proceeds of over S$1.1 million, which Mr Lim said was “no small sum”.

He said further charges may be tendered against Su as investigations are still at an early stage and the police are still examining the sources of Su’s wealth.

THE IO’S INVESTIGATIONS SO FAR

Mr Lim said investigations so far show that Su was recruited to be an executive in a remote lottery business operating from the Philippines and Cambodia.

The business targeted gamblers from China, and investigations show that he was paid for his work in cash. There is also evidence that the money in Su’s charges can be linked to these illegal remote gambling operations overseas, Mr Lim said.

He said it would be “a great injustice” if Su managed to abscond and evade the charges.

He said Su has been wanted by Chinese authorities for his illegal gambling activities since 2017, and knows this.

He admitted that an associate in the remote lottery business arranged for him to procure a passport from Vanuatu through a courier, and he used this passport to travel, said Mr Lim.

He said Su has no strong roots in Singapore. His parents live in China while his wife and children are Chinese nationals.

He has a house in Xiamen worth around S$1.9 million under his wife’s name, and accomplices who may help him abscond, said Mr Lim.

“Based on the mobile phones seized from the accused, he and his accomplices would communicate with each other in WhatsApp and Telegram group chats to discuss the operations of their remote gambling websites,” said Mr Lim. “They would also discuss the transnational movement of funds from the remote gambling websites.”

He said these accomplices are at large and can help Su abscond.

The judge dismissed the bail application, saying Su has only been in Singapore for two years after moving here with his family in 2021 and is neither a citizen nor a permanent resident. She fixed the case for a pre-trial conference in December.

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