SINGAPORE – The district court has denied another bid for bail by the lawyer who left Singapore after more than $33 million parked in his firm went missing.
District Judge Terence Tay on Monday (April 12) rejected Jeffrey Ong Su Aun’s application, with the 43-year-old appearing before the court via video-link.
Ong, the former managing partner of law firm JLC Advisors, has been in remand since June 2019 after he was arrested in a Kuala Lumpur hotel.
The monies that went missing were held in escrow for a client, Allied Technologies.
Escrow is an essential service in capital markets that supports transactions such as mergers and acquisitions. Ong is no longer with the law firm.
In total, he faces 31 criminal breach of trust charges and 45 charges for offences such as forgery and cheating.
They allegedly involve $69.2 million and US$4.85 million (S$6.5 million).
After the monies went missing from the law firm, Ong left Singapore for Malaysia in a private-hire car on May 13, 2019.
He checked into a hotel in Kuala Lumpur and became uncontactable three days later.
However, he was tracked down and officers from the Royal Malaysia Police arrested him that same month.
Ong was found in possession of a stolen Malaysian passport issued to a 43-year-old man whose photograph is said to bear some resemblance to Ong.
After his arrest, Ong was brought back to Singapore on May 30, 2019.
During the bail review hearing on Friday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo stressed that Ong had left for Malaysia in 2019 after allegedly committing criminal breach of trust and should not be granted bail as he is a “high flight risk”.
The DPP added that Ong’s case involved “the largest amount of money ever misappropriated by a lawyer in Singapore”.
Ong’s lawyer Mr Tan Hee Joek, had urged the court on Monday to grant his client bail, saying he is not a flight risk. But after a review, Judge Tay denied him bail.
Ong had made an application for bail in 2019 which was also denied.
If convicted of criminal breach of trust as an attorney, Ong can either be jailed for life or jailed for up to 20 years and fined.
For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to three years and fined.
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