Missing funds: Lawyer faces 31 CBT charges linked to nearly $70m

Jeffrey Ong slapped with 19 fresh charges - 14 counts of CBT and five counts of cheating

Jeffrey Ong Su Aun also faces 45 other charges for offences including forgery and cheating, involving another $6 million.
Jeffrey Ong Su Aun also faces 45 other charges for offences including forgery and cheating, involving another $6 million.

A lawyer who left Singapore after more than $33 million parked in his firm went missing has been slapped with 19 new charges.

Jeffrey Ong Su Aun was charged yesterday with 14 counts of criminal breach of trust as an attorney involving more than $17.4 million, as well as five counts of cheating.

With this latest development, the 43-year-old Singaporean now faces a total of 31 criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges linked to nearly $70 million.

The Straits Times understands that this is one of the largest amounts to date in relation to such offences. In comparison, the six City Harvest Church leaders were found guilty of misusing $50 million in church funds in 2015.

Ong also faces 45 other charges for offences including forgery and cheating. They involve another $6 million.

He was the managing partner of law firm JLC Advisors when more than $33 million held in escrow in the firm for a client, Allied Technologies, went missing.

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

His latest CBT charges as an attorney involve more than $17.4 million that was held in escrow by JLC Advisors for the firm CW Group Holdings, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

He is accused of misappropriating the monies in 2015 and 2016, and is said to have largely engaged in a conspiracy with one Wong Koon Lup, whose details were not revealed in court documents.

Ong is no longer the managing partner at the firm.

Wong allegedly engaged in a conspiracy to cheat five times between 2016 and 2018.

In a statement yesterday, the police said: "The five counts of conspiracy to cheat were aimed at concealing the misappropriation of funds from CW Group's board of directors as well as the auditor of CW Group's subsidiaries in Singapore, Ernst and Young Solutions."

Ong, who appeared in court via video link yesterday, was not offered bail. His case has been adjourned to Nov 25.

He first made the headlines last year after the monies went missing and he subsequently disappeared.

It later emerged that Ong had left Singapore for Malaysia in a private-hire car on May 13 last year.

He moved to a hotel in Kuala Lumpur and became uncontactable three days later, after he got rid of his mobile phone. He was at the hotel when officers from the Royal Malaysia Police arrested him later that month. He was brought back to Singapore on May 30 last year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2020, with the headline 'Missing funds: Lawyer faces 31 CBT charges linked to nearly $70m'. Print Edition | Subscribe