Former Walkers lawyer on trial for $5.7million fraud in Singapore

A former Walkers lawyer, Feng Then, who allegedly deceived a businessman and made him transfer a total of $5.7 million to his own company, is currently on trial in Singapore.

Then, who is 40, faces a total of 16 charges, including eight charges of cheating involving Andrew Ling, director of investment management companies, Providence Asset Management, and 5 and 2 Pte Ltd., in Singapore.

Next, he also faces forgery charges under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Forfeiture of Benefits) Act.

He allegedly committed the fraud while employed by Walkers.

In May 2015, Walkers launched an entity in the Cayman Islands called Walkers Professional Services (WPS Global). A month later, Then incorporated a company in the British Virgin Islands under an identical name, Walkers Professional Services (WPS), but without Walkers’ knowledge. He then had full control of WPS’s finances through his wife, Lee Moonyoung, who was listed as the company’s sole director and shareholder, according to the charges.

In 2018, Ling and Then reportedly decided to jointly acquire an offshore bank to use its license to establish a cryptocurrency trading business in Singapore. The charges say Then later falsely told Ling that Walkers would provide escrow services for the transaction and that funds provided for the acquisition would be held in a bank account operated by Walkers.

Then he allegedly created at least four official documents related to the deal and affixed the Walkers’ logo to each of them. Ling then transferred $5.57 million and $1.8 million to Then and WPS.

Later, he told Ling that $4 million had been used to buy a bank in Africa, when the actual purchase price was $137,000. When Ling asked for the remaining money back, Then confessed that WPS was his own personal business and that he had used the money for his own purposes.

According to Deputy Attorney General Tan Pei Wei in his opening statement, after the money was transferred to WPS’s bank account, various sums were then transferred for purposes unrelated to the alleged acquisition.

In September, international judge Simon Thorley concluded that Then was liable for deception. In November, the Singapore International Commercial Court ordered Then to pay $5.27 million and $1.22 million in damages to Ling’s two companies. Ling was represented by Morgan Lewis Stamford’s head of litigation, Daniel Chia.

If convicted of forgery with the intent to cheat, Then can be imprisoned for up to ten years and fined for each charge. He is liable to the same penalty for each count of fraud and dishonest inducement to deliver property.

His charges under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Forfeiture of Benefits) Act mean he can be jailed for up to ten years, fined up to 72,000 $, or both, for each charge.

Was then a finance lawyer. He joined Walkers in Singapore as a partner in 2011 after three years at Latham & Watkins. He was promoted to barrister at Walkers in 2017. He also previously practiced at Linklaters for over three years.

Then is no longer employed at Walkers, although it is unclear when his employment ended. It is also unclear if Ling had at any time been an official Walkers customer. The firm did not respond to a request for comment.

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