SINGAPORE: Su Haijin, one of the individuals implicated in a significant billion-dollar money laundering case, holds partial ownership in an enterprise that has acquired two London properties for a sum exceeding S$73 million.
The properties in question, located at 283 Oxford Street and 11 Princes Street, are adjacent to one another and were officially sold for £43.3 million (approximately US$53 million) on 17 December 2021.
According to the Straits Times, property records in the United Kingdom attribute the purchase to a company named New Yihao.
Presently, a Foot Locker store occupies the premises on Oxford Street, which happens to be Europe’s busiest shopping street.
Interestingly, New Yihao was established in the offshore tax haven of Jersey, a British Crown Dependency located near the northwestern coast of France.
This company came into existence a mere two months before the acquisition.
Notably, Su Haijin is identified as a beneficial owner of New Yihao, holding more than a 25 percent stake in a trust that exercises control over the company.
Another entity, Fiduchi Trustees Limited, also holds a stake of over 25 percent in New Yihao.
Su Haijin’s money laundering schemes and global property portfolio
The involvement of Su in the property transactions was initially reported by Radio Free Asia, an American media company, and the investigative reporting platform Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.
Su, a 40-year-old Cypriot national originally from Fujian, China, faces charges of money laundering and resisting arrest in Singapore.
It is alleged that he possesses over S$4 million in a UOB bank account, believed to be proceeds from unlawful remote gambling activities.
To date, authorities have seized assets worth more than S$170 million belonging to Su and his spouse.
Su’s ownership of a property on London’s Oxford Street was highlighted during a court hearing on Wednesday (13 Sept), in which he was denied bail.
According to a police affidavit, Su admitted to possessing ten overseas properties with a total value exceeding S$14.2 million.
Apart from the London property, he claims ownership of a condominium in Cambodia, three condominiums in Cyprus, and five condominiums in Macau.
Meanwhile, Su’s wife and four children are reportedly relocating from their rented good-class bungalow in Bukit Timah to Gramercy Park, a condominium in the Orchard Road area.
Business records for Su indicate that his registered address is a unit within this condominium.
London property deal of Lin Baoying and Fiduchi Group’s involvement in money laundering case
In a related development, Radio Free Asia disclosed that another individual implicated in the money laundering case, Lin Baoying, had purchased a penthouse apartment in a 65-storey luxury residential skyscraper in Canary Wharf, London’s prominent financial district, for £1.78 million (approximately S$3.01 million) in December 2021.
Lin, a 43-year-old Chinese national, is facing charges of forgery and perverting the course of justice in Singapore.
Authorities in Singapore have seized assets belonging to Lin valued at approximately S$200 million, one of the highest amounts among the ten individuals implicated in the case.
Additionally, Radio Free Asia reported that New Yihao was established by the Fiduchi Group, which counts luxury yacht-broker Imperial Yachts and its owner, Mr Evgeniy Kochman, among its clients.
It is worth noting that Imperial Yachts and Mr Kochman, a Russian national, were sanctioned by the United States Treasury in 2022 for their alleged assistance to Russian oligarchs in “hide, move and maintain their wealth and luxury assets”.
Passports and offshore wealth as indicators of Su Haijin’s flight risk
Previously, Deputy Public Prosecutor Eric Hu stressed that Su Haijin’s extensive wealth abroad and possession of multiple passports were clear signs of his being an “extremely high flight risk.”
It was uncovered that Su Haijin possesses passports from Cambodia and Turkey that the police did not recover, as cited in the investigating officer’s affidavit presented in court, which also revealed the presence of a Saint Lucian passport under the name Su Junjie on the accused’s phone.
District Judge Brenda Tan pointed out that the circumstances surrounding Su Haijin’s arrest strongly indicated his propensity to flee.
Julian Tay of Lee & Lee, representing Su Haijin, contended that his client’s wealth outside Singapore constituted only a small fraction, approximately 10%, of the assets seized in Singapore.
“My client has strong personal and financial connections to Singapore and he has made Singapore his home since 2017, ” said Mr Tay.
He further noted that Su’s immediate family, including his wife, four children, and parents, also reside in Singapore.
Tay argued that his client had no intention of abandoning his family to become a fugitive.
Su Haijin will next be in court on 11 October.
Su Haijin is one of ten individuals, comprising nine men and one woman aged between 31 and 44, who were detained in an islandwide operation on 15 August, involving over 400 officers under the leadership of the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).
These individuals have various nationalities but share a common origin in Fujian.
The other nine accused persons are awaiting bail review at later dates.