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).
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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.
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Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email firstname.lastname@example.org