Unit's ex-interim CEO suing Pine Capital for alleged discrimination and/or prejudice

SINGAPORE - The former interim chief executive officer and executive chairman of Pine Capital Group's 51 per cent-owned subsidiary, Advance Capital Partners Asset Management (ACPAM), is suing Pine Capital for alleged discrimination and/or prejudice.

Tan Choon Wee, who quit ACPAM effective March 1 after shareholders called for a vote to remove him as a director, alleges that the affairs of ACPAM were conducted in a manner that unfairly discriminates against and/or is prejudicial to him, Pine Capital said in a bourse filing on Tuesday night (May 21).

The Catalist-listed investment firm said it was served with a writ of summons issued by the High Court of Singapore on April 8, and that it is a co-defendant in the lawsuit.

Mr Tan and Lin Kuan Liang Nicolas were removed as directors of ACPAM at an April 5 extraordinary general meeting (EGM), while new directors were appointed to ACPAM's board.

Mr Tan is seeking to, among other things, invalidate those resolutions that were passed to remove him and Mr Lin as directors, and/or for ACPAM to be wound up, Pine Capital said.

There are no claims for damages against Pine Capital.

Pine Capital said it is seeking legal advice from its legal advisers and will take the necessary steps to "vigorously defend" the lawsuit and Mr Tan's application for leave to appeal.

"At this juncture, the financial impact, if any, arising from these legal proceedings cannot yet be determined," it said in the bourse filing.

Pine Capital said that ACPAM held another EGM on May 10, during which a resolution was passed to approve the earlier April 5 EGM resolutions which removed Mr Tan and Mr Lin as directors and appointed new directors.

Mr Tan had also on April 8 applied for an injunction seeking court orders, among other things, for him and Mr Lin to be reinstated as directors of ACPAM, and to restrain the appointment of new directors pending the final determination of the discrimination and/or prejudice lawsuit.

The Court dismissed Mr Tan's injunction application on April 24, and ordered him to pay costs to Pine Capital. Mr Tan has applied for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal against this decision, which will be heard on May 31 at 10am.

Pine Capital clarified on Monday that it had requisitioned the April 5 EGM because its board had received numerous allegations from various parties concerning the operations of ACPAM, including allegations relating to potential conflict of interest and possible lapses in internal control.

Pine Capital recommended on March 21 that the trading of its shares be suspended, as it was concerned about the notice of termination of management agreement between ACPAM and Advance Opportunities Fund I, which ACPAM received on March 19.

Its shares have been suspended since March 22.