GIR 100 2020

Allen & Gledhill

Professional notice

Singaporean firm Allen & Gledhill is regularly called in to work on the largest matters in the island city state and has also acted in famous global investigations such as Operation Car Wash and 1MDB.

The firm

Allen & Gledhill’s white-collar practice, formally established in 2017, offers a wealth of experience and unique insight into financial crime matters thanks in part to its leadership, which is made up of former prosecutors, judicial officers and specialist lawyers.

Aaron Lee is co-head of the firm’s white-collar and investigations practice. Before joining private practice, Lee was a deputy public prosecutor and state counsel in the Attorney General’s Chambers of Singapore.

Jason Chan SC is also co-head of the white-collar and investigations practice. He advises local and overseas corporations on compliance management systems to help prevent corporate fraud and corruption. Chan’s significant expertise was acknowledged when he was appointed senior counsel of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2020. Prior to joining Allen & Gledhill, he was an assistant registrar at the Supreme Court of Singapore and a deputy public prosecutor.

Partner Sanjiv Rajan works on white-collar defence and fraud investigations, advising clients on matters relating to corruption, insider trading, anti-money laundering and extradition. He regularly works on multi-jurisdictional and cross-border fraud investigations, coordinating responses by companies to regulatory and criminal enforcement agencies in Europe, the US and Asia. 

Partner Vincent Leow acts for banks, corporates and individuals on contentious matters, including those arising from internal inquiries and demands from regulators. 

The firm’s deputy head of the white-collar and investigations practice is Lee Bik Wei, a partner whose main areas of practice include civil and commercial litigation and white-collar investigations. She advises multinational corporations, including private and listed companies. As a proficient Mandarin speaker, she also advises Chinese clients.

Ex-associate Lee May Ling was promoted to partner in January 2020. She has experience in advising multinational conglomerates on how to navigate foreign anti-fraud, corruption and money laundering laws.

Recent events

The firm has had a successful couple of years taking on corruption and tax fraud cases with links to Singapore, the British Virgin Islands and France.

It is helping Singapore-based engineering company United Engineers Developments recover damages in a civil suit tied to an investigation into a fraud and corruption scheme. The company filed criminal complaints with Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in 2015 following an internal investigation that found substantial sums had allegedly been misappropriated from the company.

The CPIB brought criminal charges against several individuals in December 2016, and in 2017 a former executive was sentenced to 14 years in jail for money laundering and cheating offences. The criminal proceedings concluded in December 2018, with four defendants pleading guilty to the charges against them and receiving prison sentences.

The firm represented Steep Rise Limited, a company based in the British Virgin Islands and beneficially owned by French citizen and professional international poker player Fabrice Touil, in a goods and services tax fraud investigation.

The company attempted to challenge a S$10 million asset seizure by Singapore on behalf of France in 2017. The seizure was originally approved by the High Court and was upheld by the Supreme Court in March 2020. Touil is facing criminal proceedings linked to the matter in France and denies wrongdoing.

Network

Allen & Gledhill is based in Singapore and also has offices in Yangon, Myanmar and Vietnam, which was established in 2020. The firm is part of a regional network that includes Rahmat Lim & Partners, an associate firm in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Clients

The firm has worked for Singapore Technologies Marine, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, United Engineers Developments and RBC Royal Bank. It has also taken on work representing the National Kidney Foundation and Ikano Bank, established by the founder of furniture retailer Ikea.

Track record

Over the past decade, the firm has acted in several high-profile cases. It advised engineering company Singapore Technologies Marine in one of the largest graft scandals in Singapore’s corporate history. Ong Teck Liam, then group financial controller, allegedly played a role in claiming US$18 million in bribes as entertainment expenses between 2000 and 2011. Following an internal investigation by the company and a criminal probe by the CPIB, which spanned several years, the agency obtained the convictions, including Ong, of all the employees it charged with corruption and falsification of accounts in the case. Allen & Gledhill lawyers also advised company officers who were called as witnesses during the proceedings. 

The firm acted for RBC Royal Bank’s Trinidad and Tobago branch in one of the largest money laundering cases in Singapore. The bank had been the victim of a wire-transfer fraud in which US$3.2 million was wrongly transferred from Trinidad and Tobago to Singapore. The team from Allen & Gledhill led the investigation into the fraud as well as the recovery action, in a probe which also reached Malaysia. The former director of Hayashi Construction and Engineering, Ambrose Dionysius, was convicted in Singapore in connection with the matter in 2017. He was cleared of three money laundering charges in November 2019 following an appeal, but the court upheld six other charges. He is currently serving a five-year prison sentence.

Our market-leading White Collar & Investigations Practice brings together former prosecutors, former judicial officers and white-collar and criminal defence lawyers, with extensive and specialist experience to offer unique perspectives and deliver practical and holistic solutions to the risks and challenges faced by our clients. 

We advise and assist local and international financial institutions, public-listed companies and corporate clients on corporate investigations, multi-jurisdictional regulatory and criminal investigations, and white-collar compliance issues.  Many investigations we handle involve allegations of fraud, insider trading, anti-money laundering, corruption, market misconduct, employee misconduct, and other corporate-governance related issues.  In some cases, these investigations lead to civil proceedings against errant individuals, and we have successfully obtained recovery for our clients in such related civil proceedings.  We have also represented private individuals prosecuted for white-collar crimes.  We are able to offer a different perspective to our clients, given that we do not only act on behalf of the subjects of regulatory investigations – we have also acted on behalf of the regulators themselves.  Our work is complemented and enhanced by our industry-leading Financial and Corporate Regulatory & Compliance teams, with whom we work closely to provide innovative legal solutions.  

With more than three decades of experience, our Firm has acted in numerous higher profile disputes, including claims by the National Kidney Foundation, the inquiry into Ren Ci Hospital, and the prosecution of a senior pastor of City Harvest Church in one of Singapore’s longest-running white collar criminal trial.   We have also been involved in some of the largest private sector corruption cases representing a range of clients including Ikano (IKEA), Singapore Technologies Marine, and high-profile market misconduct cases related to 1MDB and SIBOR/SOR rate-rigging.  We are presently involved in one of the largest regulatory investigations where multiple regulatory and enforcement agencies have commenced a joint investigation for potential offences under the Securities and Futures Act and Companies Act.  Our Firm has also acted in court proceedings on behalf of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.

The past few years have seen significant activity and sophistication in the area of white collar, regulatory investigations and enforcement. It is crucial for our clients that are involved in investigations and prosecution to have immediate access to timely and expedient solutions and advice, in order to be sufficiently prepared to deal with such issues.  Our breadth and depth of expertise and experience give our team a decided advantage in dealing with unique commercial challenges and reputational risks in such cases.

Contact Partners

Aaron Lee
Tel: +65 68907852
Email: [email protected]

Lee Bik Wei
Tel: +65 68907825
Email: [email protected]

Jason Chan, SC
Tel: +65 68907872
Email: [email protected]

Awards and Industry Recognition:

Firm-wide

  • Asian Legal Business SE Asia Law Awards 2019: SE Asia Law Firm of the Year
  • Asian-mena Counsel 2019:
    • Singapore Most Responsive Domestic Firm of the Year consecutively since 2010
    • Voted Firm of the Year for Anti-Trust/Competition, Compliance/Regulatory, Corporate and M&A and Employment
  • Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2020: Singapore Corporate & Finance Domestic Law Advisers
  • Chambers Asia-Pacific 2020:
    • Highest number of Band 1 rankings (16 practice areas)
    • Largest number of Leading Lawyers among Singapore law firms (54 ranked lawyers)
  • FinanceAsia Country Awards 2020: Best Law Firm in Singapore
  • IFLR Asia-Pacific Awards 2020: Most Innovative National Firm of the Year (Singapore) - won this award 19 times since 2000
  • IFLR1000 2021:
    • Tier 1 rankings across all Singapore practice areas covered
    • Highest number of ranked lawyers among Singapore law firms (22 ranked lawyers)
  • The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020:
    • Highest number of Tier 1 rankings (17 practices areas)
    • Largest number of leading individuals among Singapore law firms (24 leading individuals)

White Collar & Investigations

  • Chambers Asia-Pacific 2020:
    • Band 1 for Corporate Investigations / Anti-Corruption: Domestic
  • Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2020:
    • Recommended (Highest Tier) for White Collar Crime
    • Our Partners, Aaron Lee and Jason Chan, SC are ranked as Litigation Stars

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