Singapore: A 65-year-old Indian-origin man has been sentenced to 20 months in jail in Singapore for laundering over 2,00,000 dollars from a Swiss bank account and giving it to a third party he never met.
S Kabaleeswaran had accepted 246,960 Singaporean dollars in his account and transferred 235,000 dollars from the total to one Rosidah Said in 2013, The Straits Times reported today.
He transferred the money to his Singapore account, and later gave it to a third party on the instructions of a woman he was attracted to online.
Investigations into the fraud transaction followed in Switzerland and Singapore but the money was never recovered.
Kabaleeswaran, defended by his lawyer Suresh Damodara, said he did not have reasonable grounds to believe the money was stolen.
He, however, admitted that he used the balance of 11,690 dollars to take his children to Bangkok.
District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt, in a judgement released yesterday, said Kabaleeswaran was no “babe in the woods” and rejected his claim of being duped by the woman online, named “Lilian”, whom he asked many times to meet in person but never did.
“He is not as simplistic and naive as counsel would like the court to believe. No doubt he was hoping that he could forge a long-term love relationship with Lilian, but it was clear from his evidence and statements that he was at all times, mature and sensible enough to be realistic about the outcome of such online dalliances,” the judge said.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Gregory Gan said Kabaleeswaran was laundering fraudulently obtained funds on the orders of two unknown individuals known only as “Lilian” and “Fayez”, both of whom he never met.
The Court heard that fraudsters had impersonated a client of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi Private Bank (Suisse) in Geneva and had the USD 200,000 transaction executed in October 2013.
“…It was far from a case of someone blindly and unconditionally assisting someone whom he had fallen in love with. It may well be argued that as much as Lilian was baiting him, he was also baiting her by agreeing to assist her in order to get her to meet him in person,” Fatt said.
Kabaleeswaran, who was remanded last year, had his jail term backdated and has completed serving his sentence, but is now appealing against his conviction and sentence.