High Court orders asset freeze on Keppel Club 'fraud' defendants
THE High Court has ordered a freeze on the assets of the woman at the centre of the alleged Keppel Club membership fraud probe.
Setho Oi Lin, 67, and two alleged accomplices will have assets up to the value of $19.28 million frozen. They are being sued by the club.
The order was made by Justice Kan Ting Chiu last week.
However, the judge rejected the club's bid to impose an asset freeze on two firms which provided services in the sale and purchase of golf club memberships.
He ordered the club to pay costs to the firms.
The asset freeze - known as a Mareva injunction - aims to prevent defendants in a case from disposing assets and enable the plaintiff to recover the sums if a court suit succeeds.
The two others besides Ms Setho are Cheo Soh Chin and Dawn Lee.
Keppel is suing Ms Setho, the two other women and the two firms allegedly implicated in a membership fraud in which about $37.3 million was said to have been lost, according to a probe report last year.
Keppel's lawyers had sought an asset freeze for up to that sum, but the court capped the freeze at $19.28 million after hearing all parties last month.
The probe had detected "irregularities" in more than 1,300 membership transfers at the club spanning a decade from 2004.
Among other things, some membership files contained only the record of payment of the food-and-beverage deposit to the club; not the membership transfer fees.
Singapore's oldest country club, Keppel, was rocked last year by revelations of the alleged fraud, which led to the sacking of Ms Setho, who started with the club as a clerk in 1966 and rose to supervise its membership department.
Over the years, she was given increasing powers to manage applications for membership transfers.
Keppel's lawyers from Lee & Lee had, among other things, sought to forbid Ms Setho from disposing her property in the Gold Coast, Australia, or money from its sale, as well as money from an Australian bank deposit and a local bank account, according to court documents filed for the injunction.
The lawyers for the various defendants include three senior counsels - Molly Lim, Michael Khoo and N. Sreenivasan - as well as lawyers Philip Fong and Melissa Thng.
A spokesman for the club,which celebrated its 111th anniversary last month, told The Straits Times last week: "We are satisfied with the outcome of the High Court decision in ordering the injunction against the three defendants.
"We will continue to work with our lawyers to pursue the case further."
A High Court pre-trial conference for the main lawsuit between Keppel and the parties is due next month.