Singapore—Forty-year-old Thye Wee Boon was scheduled to face charges of money laundering over S$10 million in a Covid-19 scam on Wednesday, Feb 24, but could not come to court as he had developed a fever.
According to Mr Thong Chee Kun, Thye’s lawyer, the accused needs to take a swab test.
He will be back in court on March 3, reported the straitstimes.com.
Nineteen charges have been filed against him, which include dealing with the benefits of criminal activities.
So far, over $6.4 million from the amount involved in the scam has been recovered by officials. This is the biggest single amount recovered since the Singapore Police Force’s (SPF) anti-scam centre was established in 2019.
In March of last year, the police were first alerted to Thye’s case, when a pharmaceutical firm in France had been scammed €6.636 million (S$10.2 million) after it had placed an order for hand sanitizers and surgical masks.
After it made the payment, the delivery of goods was never made and the company could no longer reach the supplier.
On March 25, 2020, Thye was arrested by officers from the Commercial Affairs Department.
He is said to have used and transferred part of the money to another country, while being aware that it had come from criminal proceeds.
Europol said in a statement, “Having previously received a Suspicious Transaction Report from the recipient bank, Singaporean authorities were quick to act and were able to block part of the payment and to identify the man who had received the funds and subsequently arrested him on March 25 (2020).”
The accused is expected to be charged under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.
Should Thye be found guilty of money laundering, he could be made to pay a fine as large as S$500,000 or be jailed for as long as 10 years, or both.
According to a spokesman from the SPF, “Through quick intervention and close collaboration with seven banks, namely UOB, OCBC, DBS, SCB, CIMB, Maybank and HSBC, the police’s anti-scam centre managed to recover more than S$6.4 million of the amount scammed.
This is the biggest single recovery since the formation of the centre. Efforts are under way to trace and recover the remaining monies.”
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