Ex-property agent fined for deal linked to $10.8b Ponzi scheme

Romesh Navaratnarajah6 Jun 2018

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The former agent failed to alert the authorities that his client likely used money obtained from illegal activities to buy a Sentosa Cove bungalow costing $23.8 million.

The court has imposed a $10,000 fine on a former property agent for failing to alert the authorities that his client likely used money obtained from illegal activities to buy a bungalow costing $23.8 million in Sentosa Cove’s Lakeshore View, reported the Straits Times.

The defendant is 37-year-old Tan Yen Hsi, a former senior marketing director at CBRE Realty Associates, who admitted the wrongdoing.

More: Lawyer Fined $10,000 For Failure To Report Suspicious Property Transaction

“Your failure to do your duty as a property agent is liable to impose significant reputational risks on the image of Singapore as an incorrupt and transparent jurisdiction to invest and conduct business in,” said District Judge Marvin Bay when reading out the sentence on Tuesday (5 June).

Tan previously brokered the sale of the Lakeshore View property to Chinese national Zhang Min, the ex-president of Yucheng International Holdings Group, which had operated China’s biggest online peer-to-peer lender Ezubao.

She made a downpayment of nearly $5.5 million, but before the completion of the transaction and the due date for the remaining balance in January 2016, the attorney handling the conveyancing informed Tan that Zhang had become uncontactable.

This prompted Tan to check on Yucheng Group. He later found out that the company was investigated for fraud. Later, the agent saw a video where Zhang admitted to running a Ponzi scheme, with Ezubao scamming 50 billion yuan (S$10.8 billion) from around 900,000 investors.

While Tan shared this with CBRE’s higher-ups, who instructed him to file a suspicious transaction report, he failed to do so. The agent said “you do not get money out of it” and he “hates to do paperwork”.

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Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg


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