Doc's 'flippant' expenses scrutinised in court

Ms Anita Hatta (left) is accusing Dr Georgia Lee of misleading her into investing $2 million and spending funds on expenses not incurred for business purposes.
Ms Anita Hatta (left) is accusing Dr Georgia Lee of misleading her into investing $2 million and spending funds on expenses not incurred for business purposes.PHOTOS: LIANHE ZAOBAO, WONG KWAI CHOW

Aesthetics doctor Georgia Lee was accused yesterday of claiming "flippant" expenses from her skincare companies even though the business was facing cash flow problems, in an ongoing High Court case brought against her by an investor.

One of the petty cash claims highlighted in court by Mr Wendell Wong, the lawyer for movie and TV producer Anita Hatta, was a sum of $18,655.93, made in July 2012. It was recorded as "grooming, refreshments, P&S and transport" and there were no supporting documents for the transaction.

Dr Lee told the court that she had no access to the books and did not know what P&S stood for or why her accountant recorded the expenses that way. She said she believes the claim was for expenses incurred during a Dubai trip to meet people who had expressed interest in her skincare products.

Dr Lee said that when claiming for business expenses, she would pass the receipts to her employee or scribble the amount.

Mr Wong contended that as the sole director of the companies, Dr Lee was able to make ad hoc claims as there were no checks on her. She disagreed.

Dr Lee and three companies she set up to package, market and sell skincare products under her brand Dr GL are being sued for fraudulent misrepresentation and minority oppression.

Ms Hatta claims that Dr Lee had misled her into investing $2 million in the companies for a 5 per cent stake. She claims Dr Lee had failed to act in the companies' best interests by spending funds on expenses not incurred for business purposes.

Yesterday, Dr Lee was questioned by Mr Wong on several expenses. Justifying a claim of $833.50 for make-up, she said she has to look well-groomed for events on her skincare brand.

A sum of $2,283.38 recorded in the books under "grooming, refreshments and transport" was for a dinner meeting at Marina Bay Sands with a photographer and designer who did jobs for her brand, she said.

A $1,818.17 claim was made for Chanel ornaments that were gifts for the daughters of a Hong Kong businessman who helped to market her products, she said. It was recorded in the books as "welfare and transport".

A claim for a HK$10,000 (S$1,730) Chrome Hearts belt buckle was paid to a Lou Chuan Linn but Dr Lee said she did not know the person.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2019, with the headline 'Doc's 'flippant' expenses scrutinised in court'. Print Edition | Subscribe