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Pokka settles lawsuit with ex-CEO Alain Ong

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Beverage giant Pokka and its former chief executive Alain Ong have reached an amicable settlement in a lawsuit where the drinks maker sought damages totalling some S$10 million.

BEVERAGE giant Pokka and its former chief executive Alain Ong have reached an amicable settlement in a lawsuit where the drinks maker sought damages totalling some S$10 million. 

In July last year, Pokka alleged that Mr Ong was part of a conspiracy that had caused the company to suffer huge losses.

Following this, Mr Ong made some allegations against Pokka in a counterclaim. 

In a joint statement released by Pokka and Mr Ong on Thursday, both parties said they are pleased to announce that they have managed to resolve their differences amicably and wish each other well in their future endeavours. 

"In the spirit of settlement, Alain would further like to withdraw all allegations made in his counterclaim in the suit," the statement noted.

 Pokka had accused Mr Ong of working with others to divert business to another beverage company, Asian Story Corporation (ASC), and of inflating the value of ASC in anticipation of its acquisition by publicly-listed coffee shop operator Kimly.

Pokka alleged that Mr Ong, whose wife is actress Vivian Lai, had breached his duties as a director and employee.

The High Court lawsuit was brought by Pokka Corporation (Singapore) and its subsidiary Pokka International, which is mainly involved in the distribution of beverages.

In February 2017, Mr Ong became a non-executive and non-independent director of Kimly, which was listed on Singapore's stock exchange the following month. Pokka said he failed to fully disclose his involvement with Kimly and ASC.

Mr Ong was deputy group CEO of Pokka Corporation (Singapore) and CEO of Pokka International before he was removed in September 2018 after internal investigations.

Subsequently in September 2019, PrimePartners Corporate Finance, the sponsor of Singapore-listed coffee shop operator Kimly, noted that claims Mr Ong played a leading role in Kimly's initial public offering (IPO) were incorrect. In response to queries from the Singapore Exchange, Kimly noted that its executive director Vincent Chia was the key person in the firm's IPO instead. 

Pokka is one of Kimly's beverage suppliers. Mr Ong, along with his sales representative, paid an introductory visit to Kimly when he joined Pokka in or around 2008.

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