Billionaire Peter Lim's ex-wife sues HSBC

Ms Teo claims she suffered losses because of the bank's negligence. HSBC has denied wrongdoing.
Ms Teo claims she suffered losses because of the bank's negligence. HSBC has denied wrongdoing.

Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim's ex-wife is suing HSBC Holdings, claiming she suffered losses because of the bank's negligence.

Ms Teo Geok Fong, who started investing with private banks after her divorce settlement in 2002, claimed she was misled into believing certain products were suitable for her risk profile, according to her lawsuit filed against HSBC's Singapore unit.

The London-based bank has denied wrongdoing.

HSBC "was always eager, motivated by their own commercial interests and/or financial benefits" to persuade her to buy products, including accumulators, decumulators and equity-linked notes, according to Ms Teo's complaint filed in the Singapore High Court.

The homemaker with high school education trusted her banker's advice, she said in the suit.

"Our client is pursuing this action rigorously in the courts and expects a favourable outcome," Ms Teo's lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam said in an e-mail yesterday.

HSBC, Europe's largest bank, asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, according to its defence filed last month.

Mr Gareth Hewett, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for HSBC, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Ms Teo presented herself as a sophisticated and experienced investor, and stated she had at least five other private banking accounts, according to HSBC's filing. As her portfolio grew, so did her risk appetite, and she alone was responsible for her investments, HSBC said.

Ms Teo received as much as $50 million from her divorce settlement with Mr Lim, HSBC said in court papers.

In 2006, Ms Teo told her other bankers to deliver $500,000 profits a year on her individual accounts, according to court papers.

Mr Lim, who is also known as the Remisier King, has offered to buy Valencia football club, a two- time Champions League finalist.

In 2010, he offered £320 million (S$665 million) to buy Premier League team Liverpool, which were later acquired by the Boston Red Sox's owner-group.

Mr Lim, a former stockbroker, became a billionaire through holdings in palm oil producers and a chain of Manchester United cafes in Asia.

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