'Service provider' paid Slovak's firm millions of euros, court hears

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 June, 2014, 4:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 June, 2014, 4:27am

The firm of a Slovak businessman on trial over an international money-laundering plot received millions of euros in payments from a "service provider" in Hong Kong, the District Court heard.

Elitecon Ltd received €3 million in 2012 from Likewise Ltd, another Hong Kong-incorporated firm, run by a compatriot of defendant Juraj Jariabka, the prosecution said. "Why would a service provider give so much money to a client," senior public prosecutor Derek Wong asked.

But Judge David Dufton objected to the line of questioning, saying Elitecon was not relevant to the charge at hand.

Jariabka, 36, stands accused of hiring an Italian man - an undercover journalist - to come to Hong Kong to set up two companies and a bank account, which the prosecution argue were to receive the proceeds of crime.

Arrested in June last year on video evidence obtained by journalist Antonio Papaleo, he denies one count of incitement to deal with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence.

Footage played in court appeared to show Jariabka instructing Papaleo how to set up companies and bank accounts in Hong Kong. He advises Papaleo to avoid HSBC, although in court this week he denied saying it was because the bank had "anti-money laundering measures".

"HSBC had very complicated rules for opening accounts for new companies," Jariabka said.

Judge Dufton later pointed out that Jariabka already had an HSBC company account for Elitecon in Hong Kong and the process took only a matter of days. "They told me with new firms, it is not very easy to open accounts," Jariabka said.

The case resumes for submissions on August 12.