City Harvest sues ex-fund manager for $ 21 MIL
City Harvest Church (CHC) is suing its former fund manager and his firm for almost $21 million in unreturned investments, including $4.6 million in interest.
But Chew Eng Han, sole director of Amac Capital Partners, insists that the church had used his firm as a vehicle to lend out money. He also claims that a personal guarantee he had signed for the investments was just to “comfort” the CHC board, and he was promised that it would not be enforced.
Chew, who left CHC in June last year after 17 years, is one of the six people who have been accused in a separate criminal case of misusing church funds and/or falsifying accounts.
They include the church’s founder Kong Hee and former finance manager Serina Wee. Chew, who is defending himself in the long-running criminal trial, will take the stand when it resumes on Jan 26.
On Oct 10, the megachurch filed court papers claiming that Amac, its investment manager, had “solicited” it to participate in its special opportunities fund on Mar 17, 2009.
But Amac requested more time to return the money, given in four tranches between November 2009 and May 2010, along with the promised interest, the church added. The church agreed, but also increased the interest rates.
It said that even though Amac returned some of the money, it was still owed $20.99 million.
Chew rejected the claims in his written defence filed on Nov 18.
According to him, the church had set up the special opportunities fund in 2009 so it could lend “surplus funds” to Akihiko Matsumura of biotech firm Transcu Group, which has since changed its name to OLS Enterprise.
Chew also claimed that $350,000 was loaned to former CHC investment committee member Charlie Lay on the instructions of the church’s deputy senior pastor, Tan Ye Peng, who is also one of those facing criminal charges.
Documents provided by Amac, stating the firm’s debt to CHC, were merely “letters of comfort” to appease the church, Chew claimed.
The church’s written reply to his defence, filed on Dec 9, states that it was never in the business of moneylending. Instead, the investments were commercial transactions with guaranteed returns.
CHC also denied having any contact with Mr Matsumura and said it was not aware that money would be loaned to him.
Nichol Yeo Lai Hock of JLC Advisors, who is representing the church, declined to comment.
Chew is represented by A. Rajandran for the civil suit, while Amac does not have a lawyer.
A pre-trial conference has been fixed for next Tuesday. – Asiaone
Source: City Harvest sues ex-fund manager for $ 21 MIL, Malaysia Chronicle, http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=424111:city-harvest-sues-ex-fund-manager-for-$-21-mil&Itemid=3#axzz3MPmQgLTQ, Published 19/12/2014. (Accessed 21/12/2014.)
CHC trial: Former leader sued for $21m
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.
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.
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.
Source: By Ronald Loh,CHC trial: Former leader sued for $21m, AsiaOne, http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/chc-trial-former-leader-sued-21m, Published “The New PaperFriday” 19/12/2014. (Accessed 23/12/2014.)