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  • Julie O'Connor

CHAMBERS - CONFLICTED, CONFUSED OR CORRUPTED - OPEN LETTER TO SINGAPORE'S ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Updated: May 30





2 February 2021



Dear Attorney-General Lucien Wong,

CHAMBERS - CONFLICTED, CONFUSED OR CORRUPTED

1. I read your Opening of the Legal Year 2021 Speech with great interest. You said that your Chambers (AGC) has 2 roles, namely, (a) providing “critical legal support to the Government” and (b) serving as “prosecutors in the criminal justice system” of Singapore.


2. About (a), I understand AGC supporting good governance. But I am shocked by political persecution as seen in the cases of Li Shengwu, Lee Suet Fern, Terry Xu and Jolovan Wham. About (b), I understand AGC keeping Singapore safe from criminals. But I am shocked by unethical prosecution as seen in the case of Parti Liyani.


3. You said that you and AGC will “do the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons.” But I am not convinced in light of the above cases. I think it would be difficult going forward because you are in a serious conflict of interest situation.


4. In my case, one Mr Lionel Lee (Lee), a Singapore elite and client of your former firm, Allen & Gledhill (A&G), conspired with others to defraud my husband out of his shareholding in an Australian company. You were head of A&G at the time, and Lee was represented by Mr. Edwin Tong, your colleague at A&G. (Mr. Edwin Tong is now Second Minister for Law, working for Mr. Shanmugam, another A&G alumnus.)


5. A&G drew up the documents for use by Lee. It also later assisted Lee in negotiating for the retraction of a Writ that implicated him in a pattern of fraud, including the offer of hush money to me! Part of the deal was that Lee would purchase my husband's shares on the condition that we provide to Lee letters retracting complaints we had made to the Audit Committees of the companies under Lee's control, Board Members, MD DBS Legal, Compliance and Secretariat, SGX, Major Fraud Squad and many others.


6. Lawyers, including one from A&G, met us in Perth. They stated that if the Writ were made public there would be “fireworks” in Singapore. I totally agree that it would raise serious questions about the involvement of DBS and others in a fraudulent transaction. I totally disagree that it should be hidden from stakeholders.


7. To this day, I am not sure whether I was being enticed or induced to look away and keep silent to protect Lee, DBS, the US$300M Rights Issue [iii] and/or the US$1.25Bn JV that Lee would head. The world witnessed the failure of the JV within 12-months, with massive losses faced by Chiyoda, NYK, DBS and OCBC to name a few [iv, v, vi]. EMAS Chiyoda was just one of the Dis-Joint Ventures which Prof. Mak referred to in his excellent series of articles [vii, viii].


8. Although I contacted various regulatory and legal bodies and requested that they investigate the substantial evidence I had accumulated, what I saw instead was a massive cover up. If Lee could not be investigated and prosecuted then, how can he be investigated and prosecuted today, when the same lawyers have even more power and discretion to protect him?


9. I blew the whistle on Lee for the public good. Instead of prosecuting him, AGC is protecting him. This leaves me wondering how you could claim that “the lodestar for [AGC] is to serve the public interest” or that “integrity guides [y]our conduct of proceedings from start to end.” As we can see from the examples above, Singaporeans and the rest of the world should ask if there is any integrity in the AGC

Yours sincerely,


Julie O’Connor

Footnotes

[i] https://www.facebook.com/LeeHsienYangSGP/photos/a.1898738403699593/2728841250689300/

[ii] https://kenjeyaretnam.com/2020/09/15/lucien-wongs-controversial-past-points-to-need-for-reform-of-the-ags-office/

[iii] https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/ezra-plans-us300m-rights-convertible-bonds-issues

[iv] https://splash247.com/emas-chiyoda-subsea-files-bankruptcy/

[v] https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Houston-energy-jobs-left-to-the-whims-of-10946423.php

[vi] https://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/ezra-liquidation-hit-dbs-hardest-043100679.html

[vii] https://governanceforstakeholders.com/2020/05/30/ezra-and-the-tri-tanic-part-iv-dis-joint-ventures/

[viii] https://governanceforstakeholders.com/2020/05/31/ezra-and-the-tri-tanic-part-v-the-reckoning/


UPDATE - Additional information


https://www.bankingonthetruth.com/dbs-he-who-rides-a-tiger


https://www.bankingonthetruth.com/navigating-the-corporate-snake-pit


https://www.bankingonthetruth.com/dark-underbelly-of-singapore



I



Website as at 10 April 2017 - Allen & Gledhill the law firm, but AGC email address. Hence, my correspondence addressed to Mr. Wong as AG and Chairman/Senior Partner of Allen & Gledhill.


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