Sentenced To Imprisonment Over Cheating Banks
On 8 September 2021, Koryagin Vadim (“Vadim”), a 53-year-old male Russian national, was sentenced to 4 weeks’ imprisonment for engaging in a conspiracy to cheat various banks.
2. Investigations had revealed that Vadim was the director of MEA Business Solutions Pte Ltd (“MEA”) at the material time. MEA was set up in 2014 and was in the business of assisting foreign clients to incorporate companies and set up bank accounts in Singapore. This involved Vadim himself acting as a local resident director as well as finding others to serve as local resident directors of the companies.
3. It was revealed that Vadim had a pool of Singaporean individuals whom he engaged to serve as local resident directors for companies which he set up on behalf of foreigners, in order to fulfil the regulatory requirement of having at least one director in the company who is ordinarily resident in Singapore. Vadim would register each company with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA”) in the name of the local resident director and list them as the sole shareholder of the company in ACRA’s records. Vadim would also instruct the local resident director to open a corporate bank account for the company in certain instances.
4. Vadim was convicted after trial in relation to three such instances, whereby he abetted a local resident director to falsely declare himself to the banks as the ultimate beneficial owner of the companies/bank accounts in question. Vadim had also provided the local resident director with the necessary information to answer the questions posed by bank representatives who were trying to establish the true beneficial ownership of these companies/bank accounts. Vadim and the director thereby circumvented the banks’ anti-money laundering procedures  and deceived the banks as to the true beneficial owner in their decision to open the bank accounts. These acts were committed between 2014 to 2017.
5. Vadim still faces four charges for cheating various banks in his capacity as a local resident director, offences punishable under Section 417 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224, and 22 counts of abetting other local resident directors to cheat banks, offences punishable under Section 417 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.
6. In relation to Vadim’s cheating offences, four other individuals who acted as the local resident directors for such companies were also charged in Court on 13 December 2019:
a) Tang You Liang Andruew (鄧有量), a 32-year-old Singaporean male, was the local resident director abetted by Vadim in relation to the above three instances of cheating various banks. Tang has similarly been convicted on three counts of abetment by conspiracy to cheat, punishable under Section 417 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224. On 8 September 2021, he was sentenced to 14 days’ imprisonment.
b) Joel Sam Thomas, a 37-year-old Singaporean, was charged with four counts of abetment by conspiracy to cheat, punishable under Section 417 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224. His case is still before the Court.
c) Seet Mei Siah (薛美霞), a 64-year-old Singaporean female, was charged with three counts of abetment by conspiracy to cheat, punishable under Section 417 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224. On 23 September 2020, she was sentenced to five days’ imprisonment.
d) Phee Sim Gek (彭心月), a 43-year-old Singaporean female, was charged with four counts of abetment by conspiracy to cheat, punishable under Section 417 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224. On 26 August 2020, she was sentenced to five days’ imprisonment.
7. In its investigation, CPIB was supported by an inter-agency task force, including the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”), the Commercial Affairs Department from the Singapore Police Force, and ACRA. Such inter-agency coordination serves to expedite, amongst other elements, the tracing of potentially illicit funds and gathering of information to establish the criminal offences. Singapore adopts a strict zero-tolerance approach towards corruption and financial crimes such as money laundering that threaten the integrity of our financial system. Any person who is convicted of a cheating offence under Section 417 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224, can be sentenced to imprisonment of up to 3 years or be fined, or to both.
8. CPIB looks into all corruption complaints and reports, including anonymous ones, and can be reached via the following channels:
9. Where possible, the report should include the following information:
a) Where, when and how the alleged corrupt act happened?
b) Who was involved and what were their roles?
c) What was the bribe given and the favour shown?
CORRUPT PRACTICES INVESTIGATION BUREAU
 Pursuant to s 145(1) of the Companies Act, every company shall have at least one director who is ordinarily resident in Singapore. Directors are required to carry out duties and fulfil the statutory obligations as set out under the Companies Act. All directors must take their duties seriously, conduct due diligence checks, and act in the best interest of the company.
 Banks in Singapore are subject to anti-money laundering requirements from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”). Pursuant to MAS Notice 626, which is targeted at the prevention of money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, banks are to exercise customer due diligence including establishing the beneficial owners of customers, and are to “guard against establishing any business relations or undertaking any transaction, that is or maybe connected with or may facilitate money laundering or terrorism financing”.