Asia

Siblings found guilty of offences committed in China involving about $2.3 million in bribes

SINGAPORE – Two Singaporean siblings conspired to secure tenders for two companies in China in exchange for bribes amounting to about 11.3 million yuan ($2.3 million).

The tenders were awarded by technology firm Seagate Technology International, where Teo Chu Ha, also known as Henry Teo, now 71, worked as senior director of logistics.

Teo used his position in the company and also his position as a member of the committee awarding the tenders to obtain confidential information belonging to Seagate.

His sister, Judy Teo Suya Bik, now 68, then used the information to help Shanghai Long-Distance Transportation (SLT) and Feili International Transport (FIT) get the tenders.

After a trial, both siblings were convicted on Wednesday (Aug 12) of 50 counts of engaging in a conspiracy for Judy Teo to receive the bribes in exchange for helping the companies.

The court also found them guilty each of one charge involving Henry Teo’s transfer of $703,480 – which formed part of the bribes – from his sister’s bank account to his own accounts.

According to court documents, Seagate held a tender for trucking routes in China in 2006 and 2009. On both occasions, Henry Teo was in the committee awarding the tender.

In their submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutors Navin Naidu and Ang Siok Chen said that Judy Teo used the confidential information provided by her brother “as an advantage” to assist SLT and FIT in securing the tenders.

In exchange, she was given a 10 per cent “commission” of the revenue they earned based on payments made by Seagate, they added.

The “commission” sums were paid to Judy Teo as “consultancy fees”, under a contract entered between the two companies in China and another company, Twin Palms.

The DPPs said that both siblings also used the bank account of Judy Teo’s ex-boyfriend, Ong Eng Kiow, to receive the bribe amounts.

As Judy Teo had control over Ong’s bank account, she was able to withdraw the sums and deposit them into her own bank accounts in China, they said.

The DPPs also said that Judy Teo hatched a plan in July 2009 to purchase a property using the bribes she received.

She then entered into an arrangement with Henry Teo, whereby the brother transferred $703,480 from one of his sister’s bank accounts into his personal accounts between July 2009 and September 2010.

The sum was eventually used to buy a property at Hume Avenue in Singapore under Judy Teo’s name.

The siblings’ lawyers, Mr Bachoo Mohan Singh and Mr Too Xing Ji, had argued that the “commissions” paid by SLT and FIT were for legitimate consultancy services rendered by Twin Palms.

District Judge Ng Cheng Thiam disagreed on Wednesday, noting that Twin Palms should have drafted the contract between the companies if it were so.

“Instead, the contract was drafted by Henry and sent to Judy as early as September 2006,” he said.

In contrast, the judge agreed with the DPPs’ submission that the siblings were using Twin Palms as a “conduit” in their conspiracy involving the bribes.

They are expected to be sentenced on Oct 19.

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