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HomesingaporeMoney laundering suspect Su Baolin allegedly made millions from illegal gambling sites...

Money laundering suspect Su Baolin allegedly made millions from illegal gambling sites in Myanmar

SINGAPORE – Money laundering suspect Su Baolin was allegedly involved in operating illegal gambling websites based in Myanmar, with the police saying he made $5 million to $6 million from these sites between 2020 and 2022.

Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) officer Louis Tey Jijie said in an affidavit that Su helped run these sites between 2019 and 2023, and purportedly received his earnings in the form of cryptocurrency.

These sites targeted users in Brazil and China.

This is the first time links have been drawn between gambling sites based in Myanmar and one of the 10 foreigners arrested on Aug 15 in an anti-money laundering probe which saw the police seize $2.8 billion in cash and assets.

The claims were made in court on Dec 15 at Su’s second attempt to be granted bail.

His first application was denied on Sept 6.

Su faces two charges – one for allegedly using a forged document to show he was the executive director of an import-export company, and a second in which he is said to have conspired with former Citibank employee Wang Qiming to make a false document with the intention to cheat Standard Chartered Bank.

The affidavit also revealed that Wang Qiming was investigated by CAD for the forgery-related offences from October 2021, and subsequently arrested. He has been on bail since Nov 16, 2021.

The Government had in October 2023 revealed that money laundering investigations started in 2021, after the authorities became aware of the use of suspected forged documents to substantiate sources of funds in bank accounts in Singapore.

Su was called in to give a statement in relation to the forgery claims in 2021. Mr Tey said that despite the scrutiny, Su allegedly continued to be involved in illicit activities.

In arguing against granting him bail, Mr Tey said the accused is a flight risk as he allegedly holds undisclosed assets abroad and has the means to abscond if released on bail.

The CAD officer said that from early 2023, Su had been directing an individual, “Person A”, allegedly based in Dubai, to transfer cryptocurrency worth more than $5 million into various wallets, some of which were provided by “Person B” – one of Su’s associates.

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The associate is said to have then assisted Su to convert the cryptocurrency to physical fiat, a government currency, or make payments via bank transfers on Su’s behalf for his expenses, Mr Tey added.

The CAD officer said: “Within this year, Person B assisted Su to convert approximately $4.7 million worth of cryptocurrency to physical fiat or to make payments on the accused’s behalf in Singapore.”

He added that it demonstrates Su allegedly has means to bring monies from suspicious sources into Singapore.

“His lack of candour on this gives rise to a strong suspicion that there are more instances of such fund movements,” added the investigator.

Mr Tey also pointed out that in Su’s submissions to the court, the accused referred to his condominium in Xiamen, worth $2.1 million, as “pittance to sustain him and his family in the long run”.

“The fact that the accused would refer to $2.1 million as mere ‘pittance’ adds to my belief that he continues to hold undisclosed assets abroad,” said the CAD officer.

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During the hearing on Dec 15, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Jean Ting told the court the police are considering more charges against Su for money laundering, forgery and falsification of accounts.

The DPP said, citing Mr Tey’s affidavit, that the police have uncovered more instances of forged documents being submitted to banks by Su to explain his sources of wealth.

She added: “The police are looking into the financial statements of one of Su’s companies, Xinbao Investment Holdings, and found that its financial statements and income tax returns are likely falsified to give the impression that the company is profitable.”

In arguing for Su to be released on bail, defence lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said Changi Prison is not able to meet his client’s medical needs.

He said that no gastroscopy has been done for his client more than three months since Su was found to be at high risk of gastric cancer.

Mr Sudheesan said: “A medical report (on Su’s cancer risk) was given to the prosecution on Aug 23. Since then, all the follow-up given to my client is a five-minute appointment with a Changi General Hospital (CGH) gastroenterologist on Dec 11.

“If it were any one of our relatives, we would have been insistent on an early gastroscopy. I am not mincing my words when I say that SPS (Singapore Prison Service) is gambling with the accused person’s life.”

The defence lawyer added that his client, who has congenital heart disease, was not given oxygen therapy on Oct 10 even though his oxygen saturation level fell to 84 per cent.

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In response, DPP Ng said that while Su is at risk of gastric cancer, he does not currently suffer from an advanced stage of the disease.

She said: “There is no affidavit from the accused or his doctors to show the immediate need for a gastroscopy.

“Su has been seen by a specialist in CGH, and there is nothing to suggest that the doctor was negligent or flippant in his review of the accused.”

As for the allegations on oxygen therapy, DPP Ng cited an affidavit by SPS chief medical officer Noorul Fatha As’art which states that Su’s oxygen saturation level was recorded at 86 per cent on Oct 9 and Oct 10.

“The need for oxygen therapy did not arise as the accused’s oxygen saturation did not fall below 85 per cent,” the DPP said.

DPP Ng added that Su is being housed in a medical centre, where his vital signs are monitored regularly and he has access to a bedside call bell.

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The defence argued that the prosecution had overstated the seriousness of Su’s alleged offences, as the CAD’s investigations since 2021 found “only around $4.7 million (out of the $90 million seized from Su and his wife) allegedly came from an illegal source”.

DPP Ng responded, saying that the CAD is continuing to investigate the seized assets.

As for why former Citibank employee Wang Qiming, who is mentioned in one of Su’s charges, was granted bail, the prosecution said Wang does not appear to have substantial assets at his disposal or affluent foreign connections who may help him abscond.

At the end of the hearing, District Judge Brenda Tan denied Su bail.

She said the accused is a serious flight risk, and there is a risk of collusion between Su Baolin and Su Haijin, another suspect in the money laundering case.

The judge added that she is satisfied the SPS is able to manage Su’s medical conditions safely, and that his conditions are not “exceptional” so as to justify granting bail.

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