SINGAPORE - A bankruptcy application brought against opposition politician Lim Tean by a Shanghai businessman over a US$150,000 ($203,000) loan was formally withdrawn in the High Court on Monday (Feb 18).
The withdrawal follows the submission of two cheques by Mr Lim last month to repay the debt he owed Mr Huang Min.
The resolution of bankruptcy proceedings clears the way for Mr Lim to contest in the next general election, due by April 2021. Undischarged bankrupts are not eligible to stand for election.
Mr Huang filed a bankruptcy application against Mr Lim last year when the sum remained unpaid even after the Chinese national won a court judgement to recover the loan.
In September 2013, both men signed an agreement in which Mr Huang agreed to lend US$150,000 to Mr Lim.
The agreement stated that the repayment deadline was Nov 30 that year.
In his suit filed in 2017, Mr Huang contended that despite various reminders and demands, Mr Lim did not repay the amount.
Mr Huang, who was represented by Providence Law Asia's Lim Mingguan, produced an e-mail from Mr Lim in February 2017 in which he expressed regret for the delay and assured the businessman that the loan would be repaid.
Mr Lim, who is a lawyer, argued that the sum was not a loan, but a down payment for the sale of iron ore to Mr Huang's company in Hong Kong.
Mr Lim, who controlled an iron ore mine in Indonesia, said he he had agreed to sell iron ore to Mr Huang. However, Mr Huang wanted the down payment for the first cargo to be classified as a loan for his own internal purposes, said Mr Lim.
This failed to persuade a State Courts deputy registrar, who ordered Mr Lim to repay the loan.
On appeal, the decision was affirmed by a district judge, who noted that the language of Mr Lim's e-mail amounted to a clear admission that the sum was a loan.
Mr Lim appealed to the High Court but withdrew the appeal on Jan 15.
A day later, he issued two cheques to settle the debt and legal costs, ahead of a bankruptcy hearing scheduled on Jan 17.
Mr Lim was secretary-general of the National Solidarity Party between 2015 and 2017 before founding People's Voice, which is Singapore's 11th political party.