SINGAPORE: In exchange for “commissions”, a company director agreed to help receive money transfers from Wirecard Asia and to issue fake invoices to legitimise the flow of funds.
In total, he helped embezzle S$123,070 (US$91,200) from the bank account of the payment services company in a scheme fronted by a vice-president at Wirecard Asia, who has fled Singapore.
Henry Yeo Chiew Hai, 67, was sentenced to a year’s jail on Tuesday (Jun 27). He pleaded guilty to three charges of conspiring to commit criminal breach of trust, falsifying an invoice and transferring criminal proceeds.
Another five charges were taken into consideration.
The court heard that Yeo was the managing director of Jacobson Fareast Marketing Services, which dealt in textiles and furniture, as well as spare parts.
At the time of the offences in 2018, Yeo and his company were in debt to various banks.
Yeo heard from a friend about a “business deal” that he could get a 3 per cent commission from. His friend said an Indonesian friend named Edo would help in the deal.
This was Edo Kurniawan, the vice-president of controlling and international finance at Wirecard Asia.
He headed the company’s finance department and the German parent company’s finance matters in the Asia-Pacific region.
Edo contacted Yeo for the first time on Oct 6, 2018 for a discussion. After this, he arranged for his subordinate and international finance process manager at Wirecard Asia, James Aga Wardhana, to transfer S$41,200 from Wirecard Asia’s account to the bank account of Yeo’s company.
Yeo then withdrew S$40,000 from the account and handed it to Wardhana. He was allowed to retain S$1,200, or about 3 per cent of S$41,200, as a commission.
After receiving the money, Yeo knew that it came from Wirecard Asia.
Yeo later met Edo and found out about his position at Wirecard Asia. Edo then set up a group chat on Telegram, comprising himself, Yeo and Wardhana.
They used the chat to make further transfers. To conceal the purpose of the transfer, Edo instructed Wardhana to help Yeo falsify invoices issued to Wirecard Asia.
Using templates from Wardhana for “marketing and intelligence reports” services, Yeo prepared four fake invoices from his company to Wirecard Asia.
Because of the criminal scheme, Wirecard Asia suffered a loss of S$123,070. Yeo has made restitution of S$3,585.
Edo left Singapore before investigations into him began. A warrant of arrest and an Interpol red notice have been issued against him.
Wardhana was sentenced to 21 months’ jail last week.
The Wirecard convictions in Singapore are linked to the broader international scandal, which broke three years ago.
This was after an auditor could not verify €1.9 billion (US$2.07 billion) supposedly held abroad in escrow by third-party partners, and subsequently refused to sign off on 2019 accounts.
Top executives, including former chief executive Markus Braun, face allegations of fraud and market manipulation in what has been termed Germany’s biggest post-war fraud.
Prosecutors in the Munich trial against Braun charged that those involved had invented phantom revenue through bogus transactions with partner companies to mislead creditors and investors.