Tycoon ceases Singapore action against Concord

Tycoon ceases Singapore action against Concord

SINGAPORE tycoon Oei Hong Leong has discontinued his Singapore legal action against Canadian developer Concord Pacific Acquisitions over a disputed plot of prime land on the waterfront in downtown Vancouver.

In a statement, Mr Oei maintained that since the heads of agreement he signed with Terry Hui, president and chief executive of Concord Pacific Group, is governed by Singapore law, Singapore should be the appropriate forum.

But the statement added: "Mr Oei does not wish to waste any more time arguing with Concord on this question of jurisdiction, which could drag on for many months."

A hearing date had been set for April 15 to decide whether Singapore or Canada is the more appropriate forum to have the case heard.

Assuming that the decision is given on April 15, both parties would still have had the right to appeal; it would be many months before a final decision on the appropriate forum is given by the Singapore Courts.

"Since Concord and Mr Hui wish to litigate in Canada on their home turf, Mr Oei is prepared to litigate with them in Canada, as evident from Mr Oei commencing the Canadian action on Feb 29, 2016 against them for abuse of process and applying for summary dismissal of their false claim on March 11, 2016," the statement said.

The heads of agreement, signed last May, was for Concord to buy 50 per cent of the shares in a company that owns the land for C$250 million (S$259.3 million) from Mr Oei.

Concord paid the initial deposit of C$10 million, but defaulted on the second payment of C$40 million.

So Mr Oei began an action in Singapore against Concord last October to terminate the agreement, and claimed for C$40 million, or, alternatively, for damages to be assessed.

In response to the Singapore action, Concord filed a civil claim against Mr Oei in Canada, alleging that it had an agreement with Mr Oei and his companies to jointly develop the prime property. Concord also sought specific performance of the alleged agreement.

In December 2015, Concord also filed an application in Canada to seek a declaration that Canada is the more appropriate forum to have the case heard.

It further filed a similar application in Singapore to try to halt further progress in the Singapore proceedings.

In February this year, Mr Oei began an action against Concord and Mr Hui for bringing a false claim in Canada against him.

Mr Oei is claiming that Concord and Mr Hui had abused the court process and interfered with his rights to develop the prime property with other parties.

Then, in March this year, Mr Oei filed an application for summary dismissal of the false claim in Canada filed by Concord against him.

The case continues in Canada.

leemx@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on March 31, 2016.
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