Former accounting manager with luxury watch firm charged over $11m in losses

Chopard’s LUC Tourbillon QF Fairmined is the world’s first timepiece to be created from Fairmined gold. A former accounting manager with a luxury watch firm was charged in court on Tuesday over some $11 million in losses she had allegedly ca
Chopard’s LUC Tourbillon QF Fairmined is the world’s first timepiece to be created from Fairmined gold. A former accounting manager with a luxury watch firm was charged in court on Tuesday over some $11 million in losses she had allegedly caused. -- PHOTO: CHOPARD

SINGAPORE - A former accounting manager with a luxury watch firm was charged in court on Tuesday over some $11 million in losses she had allegedly caused.

Chew Siew Lang, 52, is said to have dishonestly misappropriated $11,210,006.26 from the Asian unit of Swiss-headquartered Chopard between Jan 17, 2006 and Aug 21, 2012.

Around the same period, she allegedly made false entries in the firm's accounts for expenses that had not been incurred.

Chew allegedly used more than $2 million of the proceeds for personal expenses, spending the bulk on 4D betting.

Only about $200,000 has been recovered from Chew, who faces 243 charges in all.

On Tuesday, District Judge Eddy Tham set bail for Chew at $500,000. He agreed with the prosecution that the number of charges was high, and that the amount involved was large.

However, it was not mentioned in court whether Chew's family, whom defence lawyer Daniel Chia said are all in Singapore, will be able to raise the sum. Neither did the court hear whether Chew intends to claim trial to the charges.

She will next appear in the State Court on Jan 20 next year, pending a pre-trial conference at the High Court.

For each count of criminal breach of trust she faces, Chew could be jailed for up to 15 years and fined if convicted. The maximum penalty for falsifying documents is seven years in prison and a fine.

For using the proceeds of her alleged wrongdoing, Chew could be jailed for up to $500,000 and jailed up seven years.