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  • Writer's pictureJulie O'Connor

SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS IN SINGAPORE AND ARE A PROTECTED SPECIES - BUT HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY THEM TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM BEING EATEN?


How can you identify a scammer?


We were given two DBS letters that had been used to wipe 92.2% - 96.6% off a one week old valuation of a group of companies that an influential client of Singapore Government linked bank DBS was attempting to acquire.


The valuation of the group of companies undertaken by BDO was between A$34M - A$42M. But just 7-days later, because of the timely threats by DBS, the valuation was decimated to A$1.17M - A$3.26M. This opened the door for the DBS client to attempt to acquire the group of companies for just A$1.265M.


The perfect timing and poor quality of the DBS letters was highly suspicious, so DBS Legal was asked by lawyers if the letters were authentic. DBS Legal took almost eight-weeks to respond and during that time the DBS client would be forced to change his plan. The DBS client would need to resort to stripping the assets from the company instead of buying the group, due to allegations of forgery which implicated him.


The SGX listed company of which the DBS client was Chairman and MD of its largest shareholder, went on to raise over $20M from SGX investors to purchase the assets of the company for A$23.3M. But the DBS client failed to declare his interest in a shareholder of the seller of the assets and misled investors. The DBS client failed to disclose that the shareholder in which he held a claim to a beneficial interest, was entitled to up to 98.8% of any dividends declared by the seller of the assets.


This meant that the DBS client could have pocketed up to A$23,020,400 out of the A$23,300,000 the SGX company he was Chairman of had paid for the assets. The seller of the assets ceased to trade shortly after the A$23.3M sale due to lack of funds, even though prior to the asset sale it had reported a NPAT of over A$15M.

When DBS Legal did finally respond it refused to authenticate the letters citing banking secrecy obligations. Which I presume means that any Tom, Dick or Harry can go around defrauding clients with potentially forged bank documents.


DBS Legal later demanded that no reference to the DBS letters be made in a whistleblower submission. Even though DBS by then had finally admitted that it sent the letters which were full of errors, and stated that they were indeed authentic.


This of course makes it difficult for anyone to identify documents used by scammers. The perfect letters could be those sent by scammers, and those full of errors could be the genuine ones!


The DBS client later offered the authorised representative of a plaintiff A$3.5M so that the allegations of forgery contained in a writ and served on his SGX listed companies was hidden from investors prior to his group of companies announcing over $2billion of transactions. The group collapsed a short time later leaving DBS and other Singapore banks financially exposed by over S$1 billion, and investors facing significant losses.


DBS is a Government Linked Bank, and the client was legally represented by a law firm formerly headed up by the current Attorney General. The client's former lawyer is now a prominent Government Minister. The Singapore authorities have REFUSED to INVESTIGATE the client and his accomplices.


If the client had not been a client of a Government Linked Bank, and had been legally represented by an opposition MP, would the story have had a different ending? Call me cynical, but I think so...







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