SINGAPORE - A lawyer who left Singapore after more than $33 million parked at his firm went missing faces 12 new charges related to the sum.
Eleven of the charges involve the allegation that Jeffrey Ong Su Aun had committed criminal breach of trust as an attorney between October 2017 and August 2018. The charges involve sums of between $9,967.10 and $12,200,005 each.
Ong, who appeared in a district court via video-link on Monday (Feb 24), was also charged with one count of forgery.
On April 15 last year, he allegedly forged on a cheque the signature of Mr Vincent Lim Puay Chong, a partner at law firm JLC Advisors. Ong, 42, had previously worked at the firm.
Ong now faces 38 charges in all.
He first made the headlines last year after more than $33 million that was held in escrow by JLC Advisors for client Allied Technologies went missing.
Escrow is an essential service in capital markets that supports transactions such as mergers and acquisitions.
Ong disappeared soon after.
It later emerged that Ong had left Singapore for Malaysia in a private-hire car on May 13 last year after making arrangements with a friend known only as Nicholas.
In Malaysia, he met with one Dennis, a friend of Nicholas. Dennis initially took Ong to his office where the lawyer stayed for two or three days, Singapore police investigations had revealed.
Ong then moved to a hotel in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, and became uncontactable on May 16 last year after he got rid of his mobile phone.
He stayed at the hotel until officers from the Royal Malaysia Police arrested him later that month.
Ong was found to be in possession of a stolen Malaysian passport, which he had obtained from another friend known only as Calvin.
The passport had been issued to a 43-year-old man whose photograph bore some resemblance to Ong.
Police said then that Ong had the knowledge and means to abscond.
Ong was brought back to Singapore on May 30 last year and charged with one count of cheating two days later. He faced more charges in court in the following months.
Ong will be back in court on April 7.
If convicted of criminal breach of trust as an attorney, he can either be jailed for life or jailed for up to 20 years and fined.