Over US$2.8 million in cryptocurrencies moved from Vang Shuiming’s account while he was remanded

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SINGAPORE: More than US$2.8 million (S$3.8 million) in cryptocurrencies from a suspect’s account was withdrawn while he was remanded in relation to a S$2.4 billion money-laundering probe, the lead investigating officer (IO) has revealed. This information came in an affidavit by the IO tendered to the court in support of the prosecution’s objection to bail for Vang Shuiming on Friday (Sep 29). Vang currently faces five charges – one of using a forged document and four of possessing criminal benefits worth S$2.4 million from unlicensed moneylending in China. The 42-year-old Turk with multiple passports was arrested on Aug 15 this year, said Mr Teh Yee Liang of the Singapore Police Force’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) in his affidavit. Two days after this, while Vang was remanded, more than US$2.8 million worth of cryptocurrencies was withdrawn from his Binance account. “Information gathered suggests that the movement of assets was by a person of interest after the accused had been arrested,” said Mr Teh. Vang is linked to three other wanted suspects who are on the run, including his brother. Mr Teh said CAD had not known of these assets initially, and was alerted to them only after receiving information from “foreign authorities”. Mr Teh said the overall quantum of cryptocurrency assets is believed to amount to more than US$30 million and investigations on this front are ongoing. “This further strengthens my belief that the accused has connections and assets to allow him to relocate outside of Singapore, despite the seizure of his local assets, should he be released on bail,” said Mr Teh. More than S$200 million in assets linked to Vang have been seized in Singapore. According to Mr Teh, this comprises S$962,000 in cash, S$128.8 million in his bank accounts, S$5.5 million in his wife’s bank accounts, 15 properties worth S$104.8 million in his wife’s name but funded by him and three vehicles worth S$3.4 million in his wife’s name but funded by him. Vang relocated to Singapore with his wife, son and daughter in 2019, and his children are attending international schools, the court heard. He has substantial wealth and assets overseas, said the IO. This includes an estimated 32 million yuan (US$4.4 million) worth of investments in Chinese private companies, US$18 million worth of land plots in Cambodia, US$500,000 of investments in Turkey, two condominium units in Xiamen, China, worth 20 million yuan, HK$2 million in a bank account in Hong Kong and US$110,000 worth of USDT or Tether tokens. In response to Vang’s arguing that his parents were “not physically mobile” in his bid for bail, Mr Teh pointed to travel records. These showed that Vang’s parents recently travelled out of Singapore, returning from Hong Kong via a private jet in March this year. Vang was ultimately denied bail, and his lawyers said he intended to contest his charges. He will return to court for a pre-trial conference next month.

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