Lawyer fined $10,000 for failure to report suspicious property transaction

Sterling Law Corporation MD Kang Bee Leng suspected that the money used for the Sentosa Cove property purchase was linked to a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme.

A conveyancing lawyer has been fined $10,000 over her failure to notify the authorities of a suspicious property transaction in Sentosa Cove despite her suspicion that the money for the purchase was linked to a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme, reported Channel NewsAsia.

Sterling Law Corporation managing director Kang Bee Leng pleaded guilty to the charge on Tuesday (17 Apr).

More: Sale Of Sentosa Villa Scrapped After China Buyer Arrested

Chinese tycoon Zhang Min, who served as president and CEO of Yucheng International Holdings Group, was referred to Kang by property agent Tan Yen in October 2015.

For her $23.8 million purchase of 38 Lakeshore View in Sentosa, Zhang provided Kang with her identification documents, income tax records and payslips through email.

Zhang paid over $5.4 million towards the acquisition between October and November 2015, including $4.279 million in stamp duties to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, $1.19 million for the Option to Purchase and $12,581 in conveyance fees to Kang’s law firm.

On 12 January 2016, a day before the scheduled completion of the property acquisition, Kang tried to contact Zhang but received no response. Tan, the property agent who referred Zhang, told Kang that her client had been detained in China.

A few months later, Kang read that Ezubao, the peer-to-peer lending platform of Zhang’s Yucheng Group, was a Ponzi scheme worth $10.8 billion. Reports revealed that Zhang was also the girlfriend of Yucheng Group chairman Ding Ning, who showered her with lavish gifts including a US$20 million property in Singapore.

While Kang suspected that the money paid for the property acquisition represented criminal proceeds from the alleged Ponzi scheme, she did not file a Suspicious Transaction Report.

For her failure to flag the suspicious property transaction, Kang could have been fined up to $20,000.

Meanwhile, Tan was also charged and is set to appear in court later in the month.


Source : Property Guru 18 Apr 2018


Some accommodation providers breaching minimum tenancy rule with early exit clause

Some home rental agencies are offering tenants short-term stays by inserting an early termination clause into their contracts, thereby bypassing the three-month minimum tenancy rule.

Channel NewsAsia discovered this when it tried to rent units from two different accommodation providers.

Responding to this reporter’s request for a three-week stay, a staff member of the first company said it was “not a problem”, as long as the termination form is signed when the tenant ends his or her stay.

The company even provided an early termination notice form.

The company’s agent also stated in an email that “as per Singapore rules and regulations, the minimum lease duration in residential developments in Singapore is three months but it could be terminated earlier with no penalty if a notice of termination is sent 30 days before the departure date”.

Another agency Channel NewsAsia approached also obliged its request for a short-term stay.

Lawyer Amolat Singh noted that these companies are skirting the regulations by inserting an exit clause. “So I could enter into such an agreement and say: ‘Sorry, after one week I want to quit,’ and that will be acceptable to them,” he said.

On Dec 5, 2017, two men were charged for providing short-term stays to tenants via Airbnb.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority said that companies providing accommodation services are subject to enforcement actions if they are found to have breached the regulations.

It added that owners are primarily responsible in the event of such breaches, while tenants may also be subject to investigation.

URA said about 600 properties were investigated from January to September last year.

Source – ChanelNewsAsia 6 Jan 2018