Allied Technologies has instructed its legal counsel to lodge a report with the Singapore Police Force over S$33.15 million missing from an escrow account held by Singapore law firm JLC Advisors LLP.
In a filing to SGX Thursday, Allied Tech said it has made repeated demands for repayment since 23 March, including a letter of demand from its counsel, Messrs Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP, but JLC has failed to release the funds.
“At all material times, JLC’s managing director, Mr. Ong Su Aun, Jeffrey, had repeatedly represented to the company that the release of the escrow funds would be forthcoming, and had never once stated that the escrow funds were missing, that it had already been paid out or that JLC would not comply with the company’s request to release the escrow funds,” Allied Tech said.
Ong did not immediately respond to Shenton Wire’s request for comment, which was sent via a LinkedIn message after office hours. The Business Times reported Thursday that Ong has been uncontactable.
Allied Tech said that on Wednesday, it received a letter on JLC’s letterhead stating the escrow funds have purportedy been paid out and that, while JLC is still investigating, it has “reasons to believe” it was on Ong’s instructions and “might have been unauthorized.”
The letter also stated JLC has filed reports with relevant authorities, the filing said.
The company noted the letter from JLC included an incorrect total for the account.
Instructions for disbursements from the escrow funds were required to be in writing, but the people authorized to make the request have confirmed they did not provide either verbal or written instructions to release the funds, other than the March payment demand, Allied Tech said.
Allied Tech said it instructed its counsel to urgently respond to JLC’s letter and seek documentary evidence and an update on Ong’s whereabouts, as well as to file a police report, inform the Law Society of Singapore and begin appropriate legal proceedings.
In a separate statement, SGX directed the company to require its special auditor to report only to SGX RegCo on the results of its special audit, which would include investigating the placement of the funds with JLC and later developments.
SGX also noted that Annica Holdings announced Wednesday Ong had resigned as non-executive and independent director and acting non-executive chairman, citing personal reasons. But Annica’s sponsor has been unable to arrange an exit interview with Ong, SGX said.
The exchange added that it would object to any future appointments of Ong as a director or executive officer of any SGX-listed company until the situation has been resolved.
On Thursday, the Straits Times reported the Law Society has intervened in the JLC’s client account, saying it “has reason to suspect dishonesty.”
The Law Society’s governing council has told law firms with pending matters related to JLC’s client account to provide details about the funds, the Straits Times report said.
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