CHC trial: Former leader sued for $21m

CHC trial: Former leader sued for $21m
Chew Eng Han

He is one of the church leaders involved in a criminal probe against the City Harvest Church (CHC) for criminal breach of trust.

Now, Chew Eng Han is facing a lawsuit from CHC for about $21 million that his investment firm, Amac Capital Partners, allegedly owes the church.

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Chew, 54, the sole director of Amac, is also one of the six church leaders embroiled in a criminal trial, in which he is expected to take the stand when it resumes next month.

But Chew, in defence papers filed against the suit, claimed that he was merely an agent of the church in carrying out its "moneylending activities". This, however, was denied by CHC.

The New Paper obtained CHC's statement of claim, filed on Oct 10, and Chew's defence for this latest civil suit, which is fixed for a pre- trial conference next Tuesday. We also obtained CHC's reply to Chew's written defence.

CHC, represented by law firm JLC Advisors, claimed that Amac had approached and solicited it on March 17, 2009, to invest in a special opportunities fund.

In November that year, CHC invested $2.92 million into Amac. It was agreed that the money would be returned three months later with a 1.5 per cent interest, CHC claimed.

CHC also highlighted three other tranches it invested into Amac between November 2009 and May 2010, where interest rates of

between 1 and 5 per cent were promised.

But when the church wanted its money back at the end of each of these four particular tranches, Amac could not pay up, CHC claimed.

For example, Amac asked to extend the return date of the first investment by six months.

CHC also claimed that Amac had on two other instances requested for more time regarding all four investment tranches.

REPAYMENT DATE

The repayment date was extended and the two parties agreed to increase the interest rate on the outstanding amount of about $18 million, CHC claimed.

For example, on Aug 31, 2010, the interest rate for the third and fourth investment tranches was increased from 5 to 7 per cent.

Even though Amac returned some of the outstanding investment money, the total money owed, including interest, amounted to $20.99 million by Oct 7 this year, CHC claimed.

CHC also claimed that Chew had proposed and signed a personal guarantee for the investments. This guarantee was executed on April 30, 2012, said CHC in its statement of claim.

Amac, which was unrepresented, was ordered to pay the $21 million on Oct 22 this year after the firm's non-appearance.

Chew, represented by lawyer A. Rajandran, has refuted most of the claims made by CHC.


This article was first published on December 17, 2014.
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