SINGAPORE: Two foreign nationals were sentenced to three years' imprisonment and eight months on Monday (August 20) for their involvement in a scrapping action of S $ 1.5 million.
Romanian Kiss Iosif, 40, and Frenchman David Weidmann, 37, had pleaded guilty earlier this month for a charge to help another to preserve the benefits of criminal behavior.
They had tried to leave Singapore with more than S $ 400,000 filled in their underwear, but were stopped at Woodlands Checkpoint.
The case was linked to a scam last year, in which cruise and leisure company Oceanic Group was deceived when it brokered the sale of a ship to a foreign buyer, whose identity was not mentioned in court documents.
In September last year, director Daniel Chui Mun Yew from Oceanic Group traveled to Paris to collect a deposit for the ship. After receiving the payment of what he thought to be 3.5 million euros (S $ 5.6 million), Mr. Chui instructed his employees to pay S $ 1.5 million as commission to the buyer's representatives – Iosif and Weidmann – both of whom were in Singapore.
But Chui later discovered that the deposit had been paid with counterfeit banknotes. He instructed his staff to recover the S $ 1.5 million from the two men, but they could not and a police report was filed.
According to court records, Iosif and Weidmann were contacted last August by a person known only as Boris, to come to Singapore to collect cash.
They had to hand over the money to another and in return receive a commission of S $ 5000.
THE COUPLE DIVIDED THE MONEY AND TRY TO FLOW
After collecting the money from the employee of the Oceanic Group, Weidmann and Iosif returned to their hotel. Boris contacted them and told them to bring an amount of S $ 205,000 each to Malaysia.
The remaining money had to be handed over to another person, Boris instructed and told them to ensure that there were no cameras where they would pass the money.
The couple packed their suitcases and left the hotel before they went to City Square Mall. They handed over a suitcase with S $ 1.08 million to a Dutch accessory, Nikolic Predrag, who had been ordered to wait for them in a toilet.
That same day, Iosif and Weidmann hid more than S $ 200,000 each in their underwear and tried to take a bus to Malaysia.
However, they were arrested at Woodlands Checkpoint and the money was reclaimed.
Of the S $ 1.08 million that received Predrag, about S $ 738,000 was reclaimed after being arrested together with another woman, the French Nikolic Dalida. However, the remaining amount of approximately $ 339,000 was waived and could not be recovered by the police.
Iosif and Weidmann could have been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined S $ 500,000.
Predrag and Dalida were each sentenced to two years and a half in prison in June this year.