GIR 100 2021

Allen & Gledhill

Allen & Gledhill

Professional notice

Allen & Gledhill is one of the market leading Singaporean firms for investigations and is currently working on a large international fraud case.

The firm

Allen & Gledhill’s white-collar practice, formally established in 2017, is comprised of several big players in Singapore, including former prosecutors and ex-judicial officers.

The main three names to know at the firm are co-heads of the white-collar and investigations practice, Aaron Lee and Jason Chan SC, and deputy head Lee Bik Wei. Before joining private practice, Lee was a deputy public prosecutor and state counsel in the Attorney General’s Chambers of Singapore.

Chan SC 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.

Bik Wei, a partner whose main areas of practice include civil and commercial litigation and white-collar investigations, advises multinational corporations including private and listed companies. As a proficient Mandarin speaker, she also advises Chinese clients.

Other prominent names include partner Sanjiv Rajan, who works on white-collar defence and fraud investigations, advising clients on matters relating to corruption, insider trading, anti-money laundering and extradition. Clients describe Rajan as a top-notch lawyer who is able to deliver tailored investigations in the midst of “complex chaos”.

The firm’s clients have also heaped praise on partner Vincent Leow, who acts for banks, corporates and individuals, for his constant availability, ability to turn work around quickly and his sensitivity to client needs.

Another name to know is partner Lee May Ling, who has experience in advising multinational conglomerates on how to navigate foreign anti-fraud, corruption and money laundering laws.

Recent events

The firm has been no stranger to major global cases in recent years, acting on big-ticket corruption scandals, fraud investigations and high-profile market manipulation cases.

In a matter that has been touted as one of Singapore’s biggest transnational fraud cases, Allen & Gledhill is representing Essilor International, a Paris-based subsidiary of French-Italian eyewear conglomerate EssilorLuxottica, as it faces criminal complaints and investigations across various jurisdictions based on allegations of fraud at one of its plants in Thailand. A number of related legal proceedings have been launched against the company at the High Court of Singapore.

The firm continues to represent 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 Singapore High Court and was upheld by the Supreme Court in March 2020. Touil is facing criminal proceedings in France over a related alleged €68.5 million VAT fraud scheme. He denies wrongdoing.

Network

Allen & Gledhill is based in Singapore and also has offices in 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 and Wisma GKBI in Jakarta, Indonesia. 

Clients

Among the firm’s noteworthy clients are Singapore Technologies Marine, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, United Engineers Developments and RBC Royal Bank.

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 Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (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 that also reached Malaysia. The former director of Hayashi Construction and Engineering, Ambrose Dionysius, was convicted in Singapore in connection with the matter in 2017 and is serving a five-year prison sentence.

The firm helped 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 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 2016, with four defendants eventually pleading guilty to the charges against them and receiving prison sentences.

Allen & Gledhill - White Collar & Investigations Practice  

Jointly headed by Jason Chan, SC and Aaron Lee, 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. Given that we act on behalf of the subjects of regulatory investigations, as well as on behalf of the regulators themselves in other matters, we are able to offer a different perspective to our clients. 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 headline cases and major regulatory investigations including representing the National Kidney Foundation, Ren Ci Hospital, and 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

Jason Chan, SC

Co-Head of White Collar & Investigations Practice

Tel: +65 68907872

E: [email protected]

Aaron Lee

Co-Head of White Collar & Investigations Practice

Tel: +65 68907852

E: [email protected]

Lee Bik Wei

Deputy Head of White Collar & Investigations Practice

Tel: +65 68907825

E: [email protected]

Awards and Industry Recognition:

Firm-wide

  • Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2021: Singapore Corporate & Finance Domestic Law Advisers
  • Chambers Asia-Pacific 2021: Highest number of Band 1 rankings (17 practices); largest number of Leading Lawyers among Singapore law firms (52 lawyers)
  • FinanceAsia Country Awards 2021: Best Law Firm in Singapore
  • IFLR Asia Awards 2021: Most Innovative National Firm of the Year (Singapore). Allen & Gledhill has won this award 20 times since 2000
  • IFLR1000 2022: Highest number of Tier 1 rankings (7 practices)
  • The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021: Highest number of Tier 1 rankings (18 practices); largest number of recognised lawyers among Singapore law firms (36 lawyers)

White Collar & Investigations

  • Chambers Asia-Pacific 2021: Band 1
    • “They’re very experienced, very technically strong and great at addressing the requirements in a pragmatic way.”
  • Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2021: Highly Recommended (highest tier)  
  • Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021: Tier 1

Website: www.allenandgledhill.com

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