For six years, an Australian girl named Julie O’Connor (above) has vainly been tilting towards the Singapore institution in an effort to boost claims of fraud and what she calls a cover-up by highly effective folks over the acquisition of the Singapore and Vietnam belongings of an Australia-based agency, Strategic Marine Pty Ltd. She alleges her husband Terry O’Connor, a shareholder, was thwarted in his makes an attempt to accumulate a controlling curiosity by way of pre-emptive rights he possessed.
For her efforts, O’Connor says she has been vilified on social media, publicly referred to on-line as a cockroach, overweight, her pictures have been doctored into information articles which falsely confirmed her relations as being convicted pedophiles, all whereas she says she has in any other case been ignored by Singapore officers, all of whom repeatedly argue that proof of any crime in Singapore is missing.
O’Connor says she has not too long ago been notified by Fb (beneath) that she has been focused by refined spyware and adware not usually utilized by people however slightly intrusive states, together with a number of different Singaporeans at odds with authorities together with unbiased journalists Terry Xu and Kirsten Han and others. There is no such thing as a indication of the place the assaults are coming from.
Makes an attempt even have been made to hack O’Connor’s web site, www.bankingonthetruth.com, and intimidating messages have been posted threatening that somebody would fly to Australia to kill her, because the screenshots beneath present.
So far as O’Connor is aware of, these on-line assaults/emails have by no means been investigated by Singapore police, regardless that some have been despatched to her husband and daughter at their place of job. Senior figures from DBS, Singapore Police, and the Singapore Authorities have been copied in, she says.
O’Connor has bombarded DBS Financial institution, Southeast Asia’s and Singapore’s largest by way of belongings, with emails and letters and has sought assist from Marcus Lim, supervisor of the DBS account for the Financial Authority of Singapore, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a Senior PAP minister and chairman of the MAS, Lucien Wong, Singapore’s legal professional normal, Ok Shanmugam, the Singapore regulation minister, and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong himself, to no avail.
Enquiries by Asia Sentinel to the Financial Authority of Singapore, the Ministry of Legislation, and different companies have been met with minimal remark. A spokeswoman for the MAS stated ‘MAS takes all allegations of fraud severely, and had responded to Ms. O’Connor earlier and adopted up on her considerations. Our engagements with members of the general public and monetary establishments are confidential, and the main points of such interactions aren’t shared with third events.”
The workplace of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong instructed Asia Sentinel by e mail that the workplace has “corresponded instantly with Ms. Julie O’Connor concerning her allegations, and can proceed to interact her as needed. We is not going to be commenting additional on the matter, or responding to the questions you’ve got posed, as it’s inappropriate for us to debate such issues with third events.”
Allegations towards tycoon
O’Connor’s allegations contain Lionel Lee Chye Tek, who on the time was managing director of Ezra Holdings and chairman of its subsidiary Triyards, which have been concerned in offshore companies, ship building, international offshore, and marine industries. The group at the moment was aiming to consolidate its place as one of many largest offshore companies gamers within the Asia-Pacific area and was, at that time, darling on the Inventory Change of Singapore
Lionel Lee was alleged by others to have triggered 4 cast signatures to be affixed to authorized paperwork on behalf of a no-longer-operating Bahamas firm, paperwork which associated to Strategic Marine, the agency Lionel Lee’s firm was trying to accumulate. An affiliate of Lee, the then-CEO of KTL International, Tan Kheng Yeow, was allegedly enlisted to enter into an irrevocable possibility deed to accumulate energy of legal professional for the corporate. O’Connor charged that was an try to defraud her husband by persuading him his declare was nugatory and that he ought to promote his 4 % shareholding for A$1.
After Lee’s preliminary try to accumulate Strategic Marine by means of Tan – for A$7 – was annoyed as a result of allegations of forgery, DBS would enter the world. At situation with DBS, she stated, have been two letters purportedly from financial institution officers that have been used to downgrade Strategic Marine’s week-old unbiased valuation by A$30-40 million and retroactively strip away O’Connor’s exercised pre-emptive proper, previous to Lee’s try to accumulate the agency for simply A$1.265 million. A request to the DBS regulation agency Wong Partnership to elucidate the valuation downgrade was not answered.
DBS’s authorized workers, O’Connor alleged, was requested by Australian authorized agency Minter Ellison to authenticate the 2 letters, which she displayed for Asia Sentinel and which she describes as affected by errors or irregularities that banks aren’t speculated to make, together with lack of a financial institution tackle on the stationery, absence of reference, and lacking or duplicate bullet factors. After eight weeks, she says, throughout which period Lee accomplished the acquisition, DBS refused to authenticate the letters, citing banking secrecy obligations.
DBS, by means of Wong Partnership, says its investigations “confirmed that the 2 letters in query are genuine and originated from our purchasers. Additional, the outcomes of those investigations have been offered to Mr. & Mrs. O’Connor on earlier events and that the O’Connors refused to simply accept the findings.”
Lee, performing on behalf of Triyards, finally acquired the Strategic Marine belongings regardless of the Triyards Board’s consciousness of O’Connor’s husband’s train of his pre-emptive proper, the O’Connors cost. Lee on the time was represented by the high-profile Singapore regulation agency Allen & Gledhill, which was headed by the present Legal professional Common Lucien Wong. Lee’s private lawyer was stated to be Edwin Tong, now Singapore’s second regulation minister.
Lee empire capsizes
Lee’s personal empire was headed for a figurative iceberg. KGI Securities Singapore analyst Joel Ng in a analysis word wrote that Ezra Holdings had been reporting damaging free money flows within the earlier 10 years, even when oil costs have been above US$100 a barrel.
“Ezra leveraged up an excessive amount of in the course of the oil increase years, and the low oil worth surroundings over the previous two years dealt the ultimate blow,” he wrote, including that the group’s persistently weak free money flows had resulted in a “extremely unsustainable” stability sheet.
“Ezra mainly needed to compete towards its friends funded with debt slightly than fairness. I might say it was blinded by its ambition and the truth that credit score was available throughout that point,” Ng stated.
Examine highlights mismanagement
In response to an exhaustive, five-part evaluation of Ezra Holdings and its subsidiaries by Nationwide College of Singapore Professor Mak Yuen Teen, titled EZRA and the Tri-tanic: “Based mostly purely on public data, there have been arguably failure to reveal materials data on a well timed foundation, false or deceptive disclosures, failure to reveal pursuits in transactions, insider buying and selling, and failure to discharge administrators’ duties.”
There have been different questions, Mak wrote, “whether or not contract wins introduced by the businesses and the secondary itemizing of EOL simply 15 months earlier than it began reporting quarterly losses lured buyers into shopping for notes, convertible bonds, and shares of the businesses.”
Mak, in an e mail, stated he was conscious of O’Connor’s objections and stated there was good trigger to research them. Lim Tean, a lawyer and founding father of the opposition Individuals’s Voice political get together, stated O’Connor’s allegations are well-known within the opposition political neighborhood and bear wanting into.
Makes an attempt by Asia Sentinel to succeed in Lee by means of an affiliate received no response. By one report, he has moved to Thailand though that has not been verified.
Having paid greater than A$300,000 for the shareholding solely to be instructed all different SM shareholders had agreed to promote their shares to Lee’s acquaintance Tan for $1, O’Connor says she grew to become suspicious and started digging. She says she discovered proof of 4 cast signatures on Strategic Marine paperwork. A handwriting knowledgeable employed by the O’Connors analyzed the alleged cast signatures beneath. The supposedly precise signatures are on the left and alleged cast signatures are on the suitable. Vincent Lau instructed the O’Connors he hadn’t signed the paperwork.
O’Connor possesses a sworn assertion from Vincent Lau that he had by no means seen, signed nor licensed anybody to make use of his signatures on paperwork, on behalf of the Bahamas entity which had been wound up 18 months earlier than.
Livid DBS response
DBS Financial institution answered Asia Sentinel’s queries in regards to the matter with a bristling letter from Wong Partnership, during which the regulation agency, which represents the financial institution, demanded that Asia Sentinel repeat the regulation agency’s letter verbatim in its story and reserved the suitable to sue.
O’Connor, the letter stated, has not been ignored and the couple have raised the issues repeatedly with them. The central situation, in line with the regulation agency, “pertains to the authenticity of the 2 letters, and investigations confirmed the letters are genuine. The contemporaneous report reveals the circumstances below which these letters have been despatched totally justified their existence. There is no such thing as a proof of wrongdoing on the a part of DBS or its staff.”
The financial institution, in line with the regulation agency, “had continuously engaged with Mrs. O’Connor in addition to Mr. O’Connor and different third events. It’s unlucky that Mrs. O’Connor has since been trying an ex publish facto criticism of our consumer’s investigations as she has merely refused to simply accept any of the conclusions. Our consumer, subsequently, noticed no additional functions in persevering with to interact together with her.”
Financial institution refuses additional response
A follow-up e mail with extra questions elicited the response that “Until you’ll be able to furnish any new and related data and/or paperwork to substantiate the allegations made in your emails of 10 December 2021 and 24 December 2021, our purchasers don’t see any goal in additional partaking with you.” It added that Mrs. O’Connor had acted with malice, which appears far-fetched however in authorized phrases would seem like preparation for a lawsuit.
O’Connor’s campaign might or will not be legitimate. The paperwork present irregularities though even banks may commit errors. On the very least, there is no such thing as a motive these irregularities and the many other serious concerns she raises shouldn’t be defined by DBS, the Singapore regulators, and authorized our bodies.
As she says, “Who’s being protected and why?” she requested. “Is it Lee, DBS, Allen & Gledhill, the regulators who didn’t act, the Audit Committee who stood down and never up? Who didn’t look out for the Ezra Holdings and Triyards shareholders?”