March 1, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Subhas Anandan Award Supports Pro Bono Initiatives By NUS Law Students

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Founder-Senior Consultant Mr Rajan Menon presents the NUS Criminal Justice Club with the 2017 RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Subhas Anandan Pro Bono Award at the NUS Pro Bono Awards ceremony, Wednesday 1 March 2017. Leading international law firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing is pleased to announce that it has awarded the NUS Criminal Justice Club (“CJC”) the RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Subhas Anandan Pro Bono Award (“the Award”) at the NUS Law Pro Bono Awards Ceremony 2017. The Firm’s Founder-Senior Consultant Mr Rajan Menon presented the Award to the CJC at the event today. The RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Subhas Anandan Pro Bono Award seeks to encourage NUS Law students to embrace the pro bono spirit and to be torchbearers of pro bono work. It provides S$25,000 over a period of five years from 2016 to 2020, to fund worthy pro bono projects initiated by NUS Law students. Into its second year, the Award was launched in 2016 as a tribute to the late Mr Subhas Anandan, Singapore’s most outstanding criminal lawyer and a Senior Partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing. Mr Anandan was a champion of pro bono work and a tireless supporter of a fair and just society, whose legacy the Firm is continuing to honour and celebrate. Set up to raise awareness about criminal law in Singapore and to inspire positive change within the criminal law scene, the CJC best reflects Mr Anandan’s own advocacy for the criminal justice system in Singapore. The Club has helped provide recourse for individuals who believe they have been wrongfully convicted of crimes and led efforts in exploring potential improvements to the military justice system. To this end, the Firm is pleased to present the CJC the RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Subhas Anandan Pro Bono Award for the second year running. Commenting on the value of pro bono work in a speech delivered to NUS Law students at the event, Mr Rajan Menon, Founder-Senior Consultant of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing said, “For lawyers getting into or just starting out in their careers, pro bono work provides exposure to a broad spectrum of legal work that they might otherwise not encounter in their practice. Many of our volunteer lawyers have also found their lives enriched by a sense of fulfilment in knowing their pro bono work has directly touched someone’s life in a meaningful and lasting way.” “We look forward to seeing many more good works done by you in the coming years. As students on the cusp of entering the legal profession, we hope that you will continue to embody and strengthen the pro bono spirit even as you progress through your careers,” Mr Menon added. The importance of pro bono work, and of giving back to the community, has always been part of the RHTLaw Taylor Wessing culture. The RHT Rajan Menon Foundation, set up to enable the Firm and the RHT Group of Companies to contribute to charitable endeavours, has raised more than S$400,000 over the past two years for beneficiaries including The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, the World Wide Fund for Nature, the National Galley Singapore and the Red Cross Home for the Disabled. Volunteer lawyers from the Firm are regularly involved in pro bono work as well, participating in legal clinics and the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS) and assisting the Action Community for Entrepreneurship Ltd as the legal service provider to the start-up community at JTC LaunchPad@one-north. --- The RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Subhas Anandan Pro Bono Award is featured in the following news reports: "Pro bono award winners lauded for making a difference" - The Straits Times, 2 March 2017
February 22, 2017

Litigation Partner Eugene Quah shares with The Straits Times alternative options artists and storage warehouses may take in the case involving Mandala Fine Art, a Singapore art gallery who has ceased operations

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Partner Eugene Quah was quoted in The Straits Times article titled “Storage company holding more than 100 pieces of art hopes to recover $36,000 debt owed by Mandala Fine Art”. The article was first published in The Straits Times on 22 February 2017. Storage company holding more than 100 pieces of art hopes to recover $36,000 debt owed by Mandala Fine Art It is the second warehouse that shuttered Singapore art gallery, Mandala Fine Art, owes money Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Date: 22 February 2017 Author: Nabilah Said Storage company Alliance Logistics hopes artists will come forward to claim more than 100 pieces of art stored in its warehouse and help settle a $36,000 debt. The company is owed more than a year's rent by shuttered Singapore art gallery, Mandala Fine Art. When The Straits Times visited the warehouse in Yishun two weeks ago, the company was taking stock of the art pieces - stored in two wooden crates - which have been in its possession since October 2015. Alliance Logistics does not know who these artists are, but hopes they will come forward so that it can recover the rent owed by Mandala Fine Art. The Straits Times reported on Feb 8 that the gallery had ceased operations here and owed more than $18,000 to another storage company, Oceanic Logistics, in Jalan Pemimpin. There are up to 100 art pieces stored there. To date, up to 41 artists await the return of their artwork - estimated to be worth more than $1million. Alliance Logistics has asked to be paid numerous times and sent a letter of demand to Mandala Fine Art in December, but it has gone unanswered as Mandala's Sri Lankan owner, Mr Vitharana Mudiyanselage Hemasiri Vitharana, has left Singapore. If an artist is willing to pay off Mandala's debt, "we will definitely release all those paintings to them (after) proper procedures are done," says Mr Benson Toh from Alliance Logistics. Since The Straits Times' report, nine more artists have come forward to say they also have unreturned artwork, some of which have been held by the gallery since early 2015. These artists hail from all over the world, including the most recent claim by Ukrainian artist Alexander Belozor, whose paintings were exhibited by the gallery in Singapore in April last year. Singapore-based Polish artist Kasia Pawlak, 40, says she has been waiting for the return of her three paintings, valued at $6,700, since July 2015. She filed a police report against the gallery in February last year. She also filed a claim at the Small Claims Tribunal in April, but it was found to be "outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal" and discontinued. Her appeal in May was also discontinued. "I don't know what my possibilities are and what I can do, so I am waiting," she says. According to the State Courts, even if claims are discontinued, the claimant "can consider filing a civil suit in the courts". At least three former gallery employees have also told The Straits Times that they are owed salaries amounting to $17,000. The Ministry of Manpower and Central Provident Fund Board say they are taking enforcement action against the company. Mr Vitharana says in an e-mail to The Straits Times that he is working towards paying off the company's debts and returning the paintings. But for now, the artists may have to resort to other options. They could sue the storage companies for their works if they "have not consented to Mandala storing the artworks with the storage companies", says Mr Eugene Quah, partner, litigation and dispute resolution practice, at law firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing. He adds that the storage companies may also sue Mandala, but even if successful, receiving payment would depend on whether "Mandala has assets in Singapore that the judgment can be enforced against". Ms Emi Eu, president of Art Galleries Association (Singapore), advises artists to "carry out due diligence before signing up with any gallery", such as looking up gallery associations "where they could consult or find more information on the specific galleries". She adds: "I hope that this unfortunate incident can be resolved in a fair manner for (all) parties."
February 21, 2017

Chairman of RHT Rajan Menon Foundation Tan Chong Huat shares with The Business Times that “One of the main tenets of RHT’s belief is that when we do well, we must do good”

RHT Rajan Menon Foundation was featured in The Business Times article titled “Doing well, doing good”. The article was first published in The Business Times on 16 February 2017. It was also published in The Business Times Wealth Magazine February 2017 Edition. Doing well, doing good Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Date: 16 Feb 2017 Author: Genevieve Cua Veteran lawyer Rajan Menon was about to retire from KhattarWong, after a career spanning three decades, when the idea to found a law firm took fire. He hosted some colleagues at his home and turned to his wife. “I asked, should I be doing this at this age? She was perceptive. She said, your colleagues have fire in their belly.” To his astonishment, nearly 100 people – 49 lawyers and 50 employees – resigned from KhattarWong to join the new firm even as the founding partners were scrambling to secure premises. RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, which started in 2011, broke even within its first month of operation. Today it boasts core legal services in the areas of banking, corporate and intellectual property advisory, among others. It even offers a slew of ancillary services, such as Big Data and compliance solutions, corporate secretarial, media and family office services. A good part of the drive to succeed may be traced to Mr Menon’s firm admonition to the firm’s partners at the outset. “I told my colleagues two things. One is to never forget what the staff did. They have mortgages, families, household budgets. To resign from a place where you were employed to move to an unknown quantity – most people don’t realise how important those big moves are. I told my partners – we should remember this, cherish it and develop the company from there. “The second thing is that one of our cornerstones must be that we need to reach out to the unfortunate, the ones who are deprived and need help.” Thus the idea of setting up a foundation to formalise the firm’s giving took root. Says RHT partner and cofounder Tan Chong Huat: “We felt we had to give back to society. One of the main tenets of our beliefs is that when we do well, we must do good. Instead of CSR (corporate social responsibility) on an ad hoc basis, we wanted to do it through a foundation in a more focused fashion.” Planning for the RHT Rajan Menon Foundation began in 2013 and it was incorporated in 2015. Mr Tan is the foundation’s chairman and associate professor Ho Peng Kee its patron. The foundation was recently registered as a Grant-making Philanthropic Organisation. This means it is able to issue tax deduction receipts to its donors. Mr Tan says: “The vision of the foundation is to establish and encourage a philanthropic culture of giving back to the community, among the corporate and legal fraternity. There isn’t an organisation out there established as a corporate foundation to do this. “We believe the legal community can be a catalyst to do more, with their expertise and intimate knowledge of the community. We want to excite this group to go forth and contribute.” Both Mr Menon and Mr Tan have had a long commitment to public service. Mr Menon says he is passionate about pro bono work. “Two to three years after I joined KhattarWong in 1981, the first person who called me was (then-president) Devan Nair. He said – you should help the unions. They were the first group I was involved in; they were very poor.” His service to organisations included the labour foundation and trade union, including work for SLF Properties and SLF Management Services; NTUC Fairprice and the Hindu Endowments Board for whom he helped with the construction of and fundraising for the Sri Sivan Temple at Dhoby Ghaut. In 1993 he was conferred the Public Service Medal, and the Friends of Labour Award by the National Trades Union Congress. Mr Tan is council member of a number of organisations including the Football Association of Singapore, the Singapore Red Cross and the Singapore Road Safety Council. He has established a National University of Singapore bursary for needy students, the Tan Han Boon Bursary, named after his father. Last year, the foundation hosted two major fund raisers, galvanising the firm’s wide network of clients and associates. It raised some S$450,000 through two charity golf events in May and October. Beneficiaries for the May event included the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, the World Wide Fund for Nature and the National Gallery Singapore. The October event’s beneficiaries included the Red Cross Home for the Disabled. Says Mr Tan: “What I can see is that corporations are coming forward and affirming that they like the causes we support. In these bad economic times, to raise S$450,000 over four to five months is pretty credible. “I think the level of awareness of philanthropy or giving is rising. It’s quite clear that donations and contributions have gone up over the past five to 10 years. Can corporates do more? Yes, the legal community can do more with their specialised knowledge. We created this foundation to promote awareness and establish programmes that can be actualised and help entrench this community.” To further the cause of pro bono work, the foundation has launched the RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Subhas Anandan Pro Bono Award to recognise and fund the best pro bono ideas. The foundation also partnered the Singapore Management University’s School of Law to launch the RHT Tan Chong Huat Corporate Crime Award, recognising the best students in corporate crime.
February 21, 2017

Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail discusses Singapore’s market misconduct concerns and anti-money laundering efforts in 2017 with Thomson Reuters

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail was featured in Thomson Reuters Risk Management Solutions' State of Regulatory Reform 2017: A Special Report. The annual report covers predictions of what the regulatory landscape will entail in this coming year for markets such as the Americas, Middle East and Africa and the Asia-Pacific.  In the Asia-Pacific section, the special report noted market misconduct and anti-money laundering (AML) are seen as Singapore's top concerns. Nizam commented, "MAS has begun to focus more on corporations and financial institutions, following the introduction of regulations for corporate derivative liability". In relation to the MAS's shutdown of BSI Bank and Falcon Bank, Nizam said the liability risk for the firm lies in individuals, including senior managers, who were involved in or who condoned practices such as facilitating money laundering.  This year is also seen to be the year of consolidation, supervision and enhanced surveillance of MAS's AML efforts. "There will be a stronger focus on cross-border money laundering activity, an area where the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) deemed Singapore to have fallen short. There will also be more AML enforcement, asset forfeiture and terrorist financing prosecution”, Nizam shared. The full report can be found in Thomson Reuters Risk Management Solutions website, under the special reports section titled 2017 State of Regulatory Reform.