$1.5m vessel sale scam: Two more charged with cheating

Predrag Nicolic was arrested on Tuesday, along with Dalida Nikolic. More than $730,000 was recovered from them.
Predrag Nicolic was arrested on Tuesday, along with Dalida Nikolic. More than $730,000 was recovered from them.

Two more people were charged yesterday over their alleged roles in a ruse that cheated cruise and leisure firm Oceanic Group of $1.5 million.

Dutchman Predrag Nicolic and Dalida Nikolic are accused of working with Frenchman David Weidmann, 36, and Romanian Iosif Kiss, 39, to commit the offence.

Nicolic, 45, was charged in the State Courts, while Nikolic, 36, who is French, was charged in hospital.

It was not mentioned in court why she was in hospital.

The duo were arrested at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront hotel in Havelock Road on Tuesday. More than $730,000 was recovered from them.

All four Europeans are accused of cheating the Oceanic Group at around 7.40pm last Saturday.

According to earlier reports, the firm, which has offices in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, was duped into believing that someone in France wanted to buy one of its vessels.

Court documents did not provide details of the vessel or the deal.

The company's founder and managing director, Mr Daniel Chui Mun Yew, travelled to France to close the deal. By then, Oceanic Group had already been paid a deposit.

While Mr Chui was in France last Saturday, Weidmann and Kiss allegedly turned up at the company's Singapore office on the same day at 7.40pm to collect the $1.5 million. They said it was their commission for the deal.

Mr Chui authorised the release of the cash, and the men allegedly walked out with the sum.

Around 20 minutes later, in France, Mr Chui learnt that the deposit had been paid with counterfeit money.

He immediately informed his Singapore office to stop the sales commission. However, Weidmann and Kiss had already left with the money.

The police were notified and officers also alerted the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

The two men were arrested at Woodlands Checkpoint within three hours of the police report.

Nicolic, Kiss and Weidmann are now remanded at the Central Police Division. The three men will be back in court next Monday.

Offenders convicted of cheating can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2017, with the headline '$1.5m vessel sale scam: Two more charged with cheating'. Print Edition | Subscribe