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Third accused in S$3B money laundering case sentenced to 13 months’ jail

Wang Baosen, third convicted in S$3B money laundering case after Su Wenqiang & Su Haijin, gets 13 months in jail. Wang has consented to the forfeiture of 100% of the seized assets. Judge backdates his sentence to mid-August 2023.

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SINGAPORE: Wang Baosen, a 32-year-old Chinese national, was convicted on Tuesday (16 April) in Singapore’s landmark S$3 billion (US$2.2 billion) money-laundering case, making him the third individual to be sentenced to 13 months imprisonment.

In his plea, Wang admitted to possessing nearly S$600,000 in illegal proceeds in his wife’s bank account and laundering an additional S$1.48 million to purchase a luxury Park Nova apartment on Tomlinson Road.

Six other charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Wang was among the 10 Fujian-origin individuals apprehended in an islandwide police operation in August 2023, following approximately two years of investigative efforts prompted by tipoffs regarding potential illicit activities involving a group of foreign nationals.

Assets totalling more than S$8 million, comprising cash, vehicles, properties, and collectable items, belonging to Wang, including those registered under his wife’s name, have been seized.

On 2 April, Su Wenqiang (苏文强) became the 1st accused in the case to be convicted, sentenced to 13 months in jail for money laundering charges; followed by SuHaijin (苏海金) who received a 14-month prison sentence on 4 April.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Foo Shi Hao indicated a reasonable suspicion that the assets stemmed from illegal gambling activities abroad.

Wang, who also possesses a Vanuatu passport, has consented to the forfeiture of 100% of the seized assets.

Investigation revealed Wang’s involvement in illegal remote gambling activities overseas

The court learned that approximately S$600,000 was deposited into Wang’s wife’s Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) account around 19 January last year.

Wang presented a falsified loan agreement to the bank to support this transaction, a charge that was considered during the proceedings.

Investigations conducted by the Singapore Police Force’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) revealed Wang’s involvement in illegal remote gambling activities overseas.

During the investigation, Wang was unable to provide comprehensive details or evidence of his employment history and lacked any verifiable sources of lawful income, as stated in court.

Initially, Wang claimed the S$600,000 was repayment for loans.

Subsequently, he asserted it originated from his father’s sale of property abroad but couldn’t substantiate this assertion.

Wang lied to CAD about wealth source

Around June 2021, Wang’s wife entered an agreement with Shun Tak Cuscaden Residential (STCR) for property acquisition.

On 30 March 2022, Wang utilized S$1.48 million from Hornet Bee International Trading to make a 10% down payment to STCR for a property situated on the 19th floor of Park Nova, a luxury apartment complex on Tomlinson Road.

Once again, Wang failed to provide a satisfactory explanation to investigators regarding the source of the funds.

Initially, he denied the funds were his, later claiming they originated from trading Bitcoin.

The prosecution sought a jail term ranging from 13 to 15 months, while defence counsel Favian Kang advocated for a 13-month sentence.

Mr. Foo, the prosecutor, drew parallels between Wang’s case and that of Su Haijin, highlighting more similarities with the former than with Su Wenqiang’s.

According to Mr Foo, Wang’s alleged offences fall under section 55 of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (CDSA), mirroring Su Haijin’s charges.

This carries a penalty of up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to S$150,000.

Su Haijin retains approximately S$17 million of his assets

In contrast, Su Wenqiang’s charges are governed by Section 54 of the CDSA, a graver offence carrying a maximum imprisonment term of up to 10 years.

The prosecutor pointed out that Su Haijin had a greater number of charges considered during the proceedings.

Furthermore, Su Haijin was found to have defrauded the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), a factor absent in Wang’s case.

Interestingly, Su Haijin opted to forfeit only around 90% of his assets, retaining approximately S$17 million, whereas Wang agreed to forfeit all his assets.

Defence counsel Mr Kang expressed that his client eagerly anticipated concluding this chapter and serving his sentence to be reunited with his two young daughters and wife.

“In his plea for mitigation, we have refrained from presenting his version of events,” stated the lawyer, emphasizing Wang’s earnestness in the proceedings rather than nonchalance.

Mr. Kang asserted that Wang was “highly unlikely” to engage in further criminal activities. He also highlighted that the assets seized in Su Haijin’s case amounted to around S$170 million, approximately 20 times more than those seized in Wang’s case.

Additionally, Su Haijin deliberately resisted lawful arrest.

Judge backdated Wang’s sentence to his date of remand in mid-August 2023

During sentencing, District Judge James Elisha Lee emphasized the necessity for deterrence to safeguard Singapore’s reputation as a prominent financial hub.

He noted that the factors attracting investors to Singapore were the same ones enticing criminals to launder their proceeds here, emphasizing Singapore’s responsibility to earnestly address anti-money laundering concerns.

Judge Lee backdated Wang’s sentence to his date of remand in mid-August 2023.

Following the sentencing, the prosecution applied for the seized assets to be forfeited to the state, after deducting relevant costs.

The vehicles will be sold, and the proceeds will be forfeited.

Additionally, other assets registered under Wang’s wife’s name were voluntarily surrendered for forfeiture.

In a statement issued after the hearing, the police announced that the court had ordered the forfeiture of 100% of the seized assets linked to Su Wenqiang, amounting to about S$6 million.

Similarly, approximately 95% of Su Haijin’s assets, totalling about S$166 million, were also forfeited.

Together with Wang’s assets, a total of about S$180 million in seized assets will be forfeited to the state.

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Might as well just let them all off. Give them the keys to their cuffs and shake their hands.
Kangaroo court system.

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