Teacher alleges lawyer owes her more than $1m

Teacher alleges lawyer owes her more than $1m

Lawyer Ong Teck Ghee is facing a new lawsuit and a Law Society disciplinary tribunal following a business deal with another party.

In a claim filed in the High Court on Jan 16, a teacher, who is also a part-time tutor, alleged that Mr Ong owes her more than $1 million. According to documents filed by Ms Zhao Qian, a Singapore permanent resident from China, they entered into two loan agreements on Dec 19, 2011 and Jan 2 last year.

She gave him $150,000 as part of the first agreement, which had an agreed interest or return of $54,000. Then she passed him $500,000 in January last year as part of a second agreement, with an agreed interest of $500,000, she claimed. The sums were for investments in a government-related health project that Mr Ong said he was involved in, Ms Zhao claimed.

Mr Ong returned $51,500 from the first agreement in January and February last year, which were her promised returns, and none from the second, she claimed.

She also alleged that 13 cheques that Mr Ong gave her bounced.

In his defence, Mr Ong said the sums were illegal loans and Ms Zhao was an unlicensed moneylender, so both loan documents were unenforceable.

He also counter-claimed damages for trespassing and defamation, as she had visited his office multiple times with declarations that he was a cheat, he said.

Ms Zhao, who is represented by lawyer Choo Zheng Xi, said they had met in November 2011 at her friend's Prinsep Street shop. As they conversed, he found out she was interested in starting a kindergarten.

He said he had contacts in the industry and floated the idea of a joint venture, she claimed.

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