Ex-lawyer on trial over charges of cheating company director of more than $8 million
A former lawyer is on trial for allegedly tricking a director of two companies into transferring more than $8 million to his own company over a deal to buy a foreign bank.
Then Feng, 40, faces a total of 16 charges, including eight cheating charges involving Mr Andrew Ling Hui, the director of Providence Asset Management and 5 and 2.
Then also faces forgery charges and others under the the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.
The Singaporean was ordered by the Singapore International Commercial Court to pay US$5.27 million (S$7.29 million) and $1.22 million as damages to Mr Ling's two firms on Nov 9 last year.
In her opening statement on Wednesday (May 4), Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Pei Wei said Then had been working for Walkers (Singapore), a branch of international law firm Walkers, since September 2011.
In May 2015, Walkers launched an entity named Walkers Professional Services in the Cayman Islands where it is headquartered.
On June 30 that year, Then incorporated a different but identically named company in the British Virgin Islands without Walkers' knowledge, said DPP Tan, adding that while his wife was the sole director and shareholder of the company, Then had full control over its bank accounts in Singapore.
In April 2018, Then and Mr Ling agreed to buy a foreign bank together.
DPP Tan said: "(Then) falsely represented to Andrew that Walkers would provide escrow services for the transaction, and therefore that the monies provided for the acquisition would be held in a bank account controlled by Walkers."
Mr Ling then delivered or caused his investors to deliver US$5.57 million and $1.8 million to Then or his company, on his instructions and relying on his representation, the prosecution said.
DPP Tan said Then made four documents in relation to these dealings, appended the Walkers logo to them and provided them to Mr Ling.
She added that after the money was transferred to his company's bank accounts, Then had various sums transferred out for various purposes unrelated to the purported acquisition of the bank.
According to the prosecution, Then also falsely represented to Mr Ling on a separate occasion that Walkers could assist him to acquire a company incorporated in the United States and Mr Ling delivered US$50,005 to Then's company's bank account.
If found guilty of forgery for the purpose of cheating, Then can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined for each charge.
He can receive the same punishment for each count of cheating and dishonestly inducing a delivery of property.
He can be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to $500,000 or both for each charge under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.
The trial continues this week.