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Allied Tech's missing S$33m: Law Society seizes law firm JLC's client funds, launches probe
THE Law Society of Singapore has seized control of all client monies held by boutique law firm JLC Advisors and will launch an investigative audit following the disappearance of managing partner Jeffrey Ong Su Aun and about S$33 million of funds that were held in escrow for client Allied Technologies.
At the same time, Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) has directed Catalist-listed Allied Tech to expand the scope of its upcoming special audit to include developments surrounding the missing funds, and the progress of Allied Tech's attempt to recover the money.
The Law Society's latest move expands its earlier intervention this week, which focused on Allied Tech's account at JLC and also sought information from other law firms about clients' money that JLC may be holding.
All clients' monies held by JLC will now be held by the Society on trust.
The Society will also launch an investigative audit on JLC's client accounts, looking into the facts and circumstances surrounding the operation of the firm's client accounts and the role played by Mr Ong.
"Interventions of this nature due to reasonable suspicions of dishonesty are rare," the Society said in a statement. "Nevertheless, the Law Society does so where merited and appropriate to safeguard public interest and the integrity of the legal profession including the vast majority of Singapore lawyers, who carry out their duties with honesty, fidelity and responsibility."
SGX RegCo's directive ensures that Allied Tech's special auditor will consider the latest developments in its investigations. The market regulator had previously ordered Allied Tech to appoint a special auditor to investigate the circumstances surrounding certain transactions, including the placing of funds with JLC under escrow. After the revelation this week that the money is missing, SGX RegCo said that Allied Tech's special auditor will report solely to the regulator.