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‘One of the most serious if not the worst money laundering case in Singapore’: DPP

SINGAPORE – Su Haijin, one of the 10 accused in the billion-dollar money laundering case, is an extreme flight risk and could have passports issued by as many as five countries, said the prosecution on Wednesday.

During a court session that lasted more than two hours, Deputy Public Prosecutor Eric Hu said that apart from Cypriot and Chinese passports, Su has Cambodian and Turkish passports that have not been recovered by the police.

The DPP added that the police found a photo of a passport from St Lucia – a small island-state in the Caribbean – in his phone under the name Su Junjie, and he did not tell the police about this.

These passports mean that Su can leave Singapore easily, DPP Hu said.

The 40-year-old Cypriot national already faces one charge of money laundering and another for resisting arrest.

Su allegedly has over $4 million in a UOB bank account, said to be benefits from unlawful remote gambling offences.

DPP Hu said the investigating officer’s affidavit showed that at least a part of this sum is proceeds from an online gambling business operating in the Philippines, targeting gamblers from Taiwan or China.

Su has been in remand since Aug 15 and was applying on Wednesday for bail, appearing in court via video-link from Changi Medical Centre. The application for bail was rejected.

He fractured his hands and legs after jumping from the second-floor balcony of his home at Ewart Park in Bukit Timah on Aug 15, allegedly while trying to escape from the police.

DPP Hu said Su was a flight risk and added: “Despite breaking both legs and injuring his wrists, he still mustered the will to leave his house to hide in a drain from the police.”

In arguing against bail, DPP Hu said there was early credible evidence that Su committed the offences and there would be significant risk of collusion should he be released.

DPP Hu added: “This case is one of the most serious, if not the worst, money laundering case in Singapore. We see huge amounts of assets, including many of which are overseas, and time must be given for investigators to do their job.”

Su’s lawyer, Mr Julian Tay, said his client had voluntarily disclosed the existence of his Cambodian and Turkish passports, and that there were valid business and investment reasons for him to have them.

He added that there was no allegation that these passports were fake or illegally obtained. 

As for the St Lucian passport, the lawyer said it had already been cancelled and that Su Junjie had been his client’s alias since primary school, and was not an attempt to hide his name.

He added that his client’s Chinese passport had been cancelled.

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DPP Hu said the authorities are verifying with their international counterparts the claim that some of these passports have been cancelled.

Arguing for bail for his client, Mr Tay cited the case of alleged nickel trading scammer Ng Yu Zhi, who faces 105 criminal charges. Ng, who is at the centre of an alleged $1 billion scam, was first offered $1.5 million in bail, then $4 million, and later $6 million.

Mr Tay said Ng had family and substantial assets overseas.

DPP Hu said Ng is a Singaporean, but stressed that each case arguing for bail must be taken on its own merit.

In denying bail, District Judge Brenda Tan said she was satisfied Su was a flight risk, as there was evidence he had multiple passports and resources to relocate comfortably, referring to his considerable wealth overseas in Cambodia, Cyprus and London.

She had earlier clarified with the prosecution that a property mentioned in the investigating officer’s affidavit in Oxford Street was in fact in London.

Responding to a question from the judge about Su’s links to Singapore, DPP Hu said his wife and four children – aged between seven months and 19 years old – were here, but they were not citizens or permanent residents.

The authorities have seized more than $170 million in assets from Su and his wife.

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So far, nine men and one woman, aged between 31 and 44, have been nabbed following islandwide raids on Aug 15 by more than 400 officers led by the Commercial Affairs Department.

Prosecutors told the High Court last week that the police have taken control of more than $1.8 billion in assets to date. All 10 have been remanded in custody since they were charged in court on Aug 16.

One of the 10 charged was Su Baolin, who faces two charges in total.

His second charge, which was recently amended, states he had allegedly conspired with one Wang Qiming to make a false document to cheat Standard Chartered Bank in December 2020.

On Wednesday, DPP Hu said Su Haijin had not been forthcoming with the full extent of financial dealings with other suspects, notably Su Baolin.

Details of Su Haijin’s relationship with Su Baolin were revealed in court for the first time on Sept 6.

DPP Ng Jean Ting had said Su Baolin, a 41-year-old Cambodian national, had made payments in 2021 amounting to $2.2 million in Su Haijin’s name towards two properties in Beach Road.

In 2022, Su Baolin, Su Haijin and two other people paid for a yacht, which was registered in the name of a fifth person. The three unnamed people left Singapore before or soon after investigations began.

DPP Ng had applied for no bail for Su Baolin, saying he had refused to divulge the true extent of his relationship with Su Haijin, and giving him bail would heighten the risk of collusion.

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Judge Tan had said there was a real and high flight risk for Su Baolin, as there is evidence he owns a condominium in China and has the means to relocate.

She accepted the risk of collusion and did not grant Su Baolin bail. His case is scheduled for a pre-trial conference on Oct 4.

Su Haijin’s case is scheduled for a pre-trial conference on Oct 11.

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