Oei halts S'pore leg of case against Canada firm

Mr Oei says he "does not wish to waste any more time arguing with Concord on this question of jurisdiction, which could drag on for many months".
Mr Oei says he "does not wish to waste any more time arguing with Concord on this question of jurisdiction, which could drag on for many months".

Businessman Oei Hong Leong has halted the Singapore leg of legal proceedings over a disputed prime Vancouver property.

Mr Oei and Canadian developer Concord Pacific Acquisitions have been arguing over whether Singapore or Canada is the more appropriate forum for the case.

A hearing was scheduled for April 15 in Singapore but Mr Oei yesterday said he "does not wish to waste any more time arguing with Concord on this question of jurisdiction, which could drag on for many months". He added that he is prepared to litigate in Canada.

The dispute centres on a 550,000 sq ft site known as the Plaza of Nations.

Concord was to acquire 50 per cent interest in a company held by Mr Oei that owns the property.

The site, which was the centre of the city's 1986 Expo World Fair, has been valued at about C$500 million (S$518 million).

Mr Oei plans to build a massive mixed-use development with 1,700 to 2,000 homes, retail and office space and a hotel. He started legal action here in October to terminate a heads of agreement he had signed with Concord.

Under the agreement, Concord had paid the initial deposit of C$10 million for the stake in the company but defaulted on the second payment of C$40 million, he claimed.

Concord filed a civil claim against Mr Oei in Canada later that month, alleging that it had an agreement, made partly in writing and partly verbally, with Mr Oei and his companies to jointly develop the plot.

In December, Concord filed an application in Canada and another in Singapore, arguing that Canada would be the appropriate forum for the case.

Mr Oei responded to Concord's Canadian legal proceedings in February, first arguing that Concord had submitted a false claim and abused the court process. Earlier this month, he filed an application for summary dismissal of the alleged false claim.

Concord Pacific was founded by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka Shing but is now owned by Mr Terry Hui, whose family bought Mr Li's controlling stake in the 1990s.

In the Singapore legal proceedings, Mr Oei was represented by WongPartnership's Mr Alvin Yeo and Ms Koh Swee Yen, and Concord by Cavenagh Law's Mr Harpreet Singh and Mr Jordan Tan.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2016, with the headline 'Oei halts S'pore leg of case against Canada firm'. Print Edition | Subscribe