Judge Revokes Bail for Billionaire’s Assistant

     MANHATTAN (CN) – A Macau billionaire’s assistant had his bail revoked at a hearing on Tuesday, after federal agents discovered that he failed to disclose a Chinese passport and access to half a million dollars in a safety deposit box.
     Jeff Yin was arrested with his boss, the Chinese real estate mogul Ng Lap Seng, on Sept. 19 on suspicion of lying to customs officials about why they brought $4.5 million into the United States over a period of more than two years.
     They carried the cash over the course of 10 trips in batches of between $200,000 and $900,000, prosecutors say.
     While Yin has no criminal record, his boss Ng’s name popped up in a 1998 Senate report identifying him as the source of hundreds of thousands of dollars illegally funneled to the Democratic National Committee during the Clinton administration, ABC News and other outlets reported.
     A prosecutor with the public corruption unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office has been assigned to the latest case.
     On the day of the arrests, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn allowed Yin’s elderly mother, other family and friends to post $250,000 bail on condition that he submit to home incarceration and electronic monitoring.
     That hearing occurred before prosecutors learned that Yin had a bag in the custody of a person identified in the complaint as “Individual 1.”
     Prosecutor Daniel Richenthal told the magistrate that this bag showed that Yin had an unused Chinese passport, $15,000 U.S. currency, five credit and bank cards, and a key for a safe deposit box containing more than $430,000 and “figurines and pottery, of apparent great value.”
     Yin’s attorney Sabrina Shroff downplayed the revelations at a hearing.
     She said that Yin carried the unused passport in the same compartment as family photos and letters for “sentimental” reasons, and that the contents of the safety deposit box belonged to his boss.
     Shedding new light on “Individual 1,” Shroff told the court this suspect is a woman arrested and then released on bail in a sealed case in the Eastern District of New York.
     Shroff depicted her client as a minor catch for prosecutors who had “bigger fish to fry.”
     “Link by link, they planned to move up the ladder to really charge the person they are after,” she said.
     Prosecutor Richenthal scoffed at the notion that Yin forgot to declare the items.
     “He kept his Chinese passport because he knew one day he might need it,” he said, noting that Yin also kept a photocopy of it.
     The magistrate did not believe Yin’s memory failed him, either.
     While Yin may be a “low-level player in this larger scheme,” Netburn said: “His boss has every incentive to facilitate his fleeing if he is released.”
     Ng, who was denied bail on Sept. 21, also remains in pretrial detention.

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