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Ex-broker fined S$9k for corruption in 1MDB probe

SINGAPORE — Former remisier Kelvin Ang Wee Keng was fined S$9,000 on Wednesday (May 24), making him the fifth person to be convicted and sentenced on charges in relation to a probe on a Malaysian state investment fund.

REUTERS file photo

REUTERS file photo

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SINGAPORE — Former remisier Kelvin Ang Wee Keng was fined S$9,000 on Wednesday (May 24), making him the fifth person to be convicted and sentenced on charges in relation to a probe on a Malaysian state investment fund. 

Ang, 35, who used to work at Maybank Kim Eng Securities, admitted that he made a corrupt payment of S$3,000 to a research analyst to “induce him” to speed up work in preparing a valuation report for a company.

Court documents stated that Ang used to earn S$100,000 a year from commissions. At the time of the offence, he was taking instructions from his friend Yeo Jiawei, a former banker from Swiss-bank BSI, who is also one of the five prosecuted in Singapore’s investigations into money-laundering allegations tied to 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). 

On Wednesday, the court heard that sometime in August 2013, Yeo asked Ang to obtain a valuation of an entity called PetroSaudi Oil Services Limited, which was incorporated in the Cayman Islands, and Yeo’s client was willing to fork out US$300,000 (S$416,514) for the report. 

Ang then contacted NRA Capital, a Singapore equity research company, to do the job. When NRA asked for supporting financial documents, Yeo gave Ang the annual report of PetroSaudi Oil Services Limited, and asked if it could be valued at US$2.4 billion. 

NRA Capital said that it could be done, and assigned Mr Lee Chee Waiy, a research analyst, to the task. 

Pressed by Yeo to get the valuation report done urgently, Ang informed Mr Lee that it must be completed “within a week”, but Mr Lee said that he would only be able to work on it a week later. 

Concerned that the delay might compromise his own referral fees of US$235,000, Ang decided to meet 

Mr Lee, and prepared S$3,000 as an offer to get him to speed up the work. 

Mr Lee accepted the money and submitted the report as needed. 

Yeo’s client then paid NRA Capital US$300,000, of which US$235,000 was transferred to the bank account  of Pinewoods Global Limited. Ang is the sole director and shareholder of Pinewoods.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Vincent Ong on Wednesday asked for a fine of at least S$10,000, arguing that Ang initiated the bribe, and that he had “significant personal gain” from the offence. 

In his mitigation plea, defence counsel Hamidul Haq said that Ang was contrite about his wrongdoing. 

He also said that Ang’s actions, though wrong, were “not as serious”, and that the fine imposed should be “a lower figure” than what the prosecution was asking. 

In sentencing Ang, District Judge Lim Keng Yeow said that he had taken into account the amount involved and the purpose of the payment, and noted that a “fine will be sufficient”. 

For corruptly giving gratification, Ang could have been jailed up to five years, or fined up to S$100,000, or both. 

Yeo Jiawei was sentenced to 30 months’ jail on four charges of tampering with witnesses. He still faces more charges involving cheating, money laundering and forgery. Two other BSI senior employees, Yak Yew Chee and Yvonne Seah Yew Foong, as well as a former branch manager at Falcon Private Bank Ltd, Jens Fred Sturzenegger, were given jail terms and fined.

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