Court urged to deny bail to lawyer linked to missing $33m

In Jeffrey Ong Su Aun's bail review yesterday, the prosecution stressed that Ong is a "high flight risk".
In Jeffrey Ong Su Aun's bail review yesterday, the prosecution stressed that Ong is a "high flight risk".

The prosecution has reiterated its stand that the court should not grant bail to a lawyer who left Singapore after more than $33 million parked in his firm went missing.

In Jeffrey Ong Su Aun's bail review yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo stressed that Ong had left for Malaysia in 2019 after allegedly committing criminal breach of trust and should not be granted bail as he is a "high flight risk".

The Singaporean, now 43, was the managing partner of law firm JLC Advisors at the time. The monies were held in escrow for a client, Allied Technologies.

Escrow is an essential service in capital markets that supports transactions such as mergers as well as acquisitions.

Ong, who is in remand, is no longer with the law firm.

In total, he is facing 31 criminal breach of trust charges and 45 charges for offences such as forgery and cheating. They allegedly involve $69.2 million and US$4.85 million (S$6.5 million).

Yesterday, the DPP told the court that Ong's case involved "the largest amount of money ever misappropriated by a lawyer in Singapore".

He also said that five of Ong's charges have been amended and Allied Technologies' executive director Kenneth Low Si Ren is now named as a co-accused in them.

The charges were mainly for offences in 2017 involving acts of criminal breach of trust. The Straits Times understands that Mr Low has not been charged in court.

After the monies went missing from the law firm, Ong left Singapore for Malaysia in a private-hire car on May 13, 2019.

He moved into a hotel in Kuala Lumpur and became uncontactable three days later. However, he was tracked down and officers from the Royal Malaysia Police arrested him that same month.

He was found to be in possession of a stolen Malaysian passport issued to a 43-year-old man whose photograph is said to bear some resemblance to Ong.

After his arrest, Ong was brought back to Singapore on May 30, 2019.

Yesterday, one of his lawyers, Mr Tan Hee Joek, urged the court to grant his client bail, saying he is not a flight risk.

Without revealing details, Mr Tan said a former Singapore Armed Forces overseas scholarship holder is willing to be Ong's bailor.

According to Mr Tan, the man in the Malaysian passport also bears no resemblance to Ong.

The bail review has been adjourned to Tuesday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 10, 2021, with the headline 'Court urged to deny bail to lawyer linked to missing $33m'. Subscribe