March 14, 2017

Congratulations to Family and Matrimonial Partner Michelle Woodworth on her appointment as a Senior Mediator to the Law Society Mediation Scheme Panel of Mediators

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing congratulates Family and Matrimonial Partner Michelle Woodworth on her appointment as a Senior Mediator to the Law Society Mediation Scheme (LSMS) Panel of Mediators. The certificate of appointment was presented to Michelle by the Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon at The Law Society Mediation Forum held on 10 March 2017 at the Singapore Management University. Officially launched at the forum last Friday, the LSMS was developed by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee of the Law Society of Singapore to encourage the use of mediation amongst legal professionals. It also provides an additional option to the Law Society’s existing framework of alternative dispute resolution solutions. Michelle has also been Certified as a Mediator by the International Mediation Institute and Singapore International Mediation Institute and among other appointments, is a Mediator on the Family Panel, Singapore Mediation Centre
March 14, 2017

“Prohibition Orders imposed by MAS would protect consumers from dealing with persons that fall short of the authority’s expectations”, shares Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail with TODAY

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail was quoted in TODAY article titled “1MDB probe: MAS seeks lifetime trading ban on two ex-bankers”. The article was first published in TODAY on 13 March 2017. 1MDB probe: MAS seeks lifetime trading ban on two ex-bankers   Source: 2017 © Mediacorp Press Ltd. Date: 13 March 2016 Author: Valerie Koh SINGAPORE — In an unprecedented move, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is seeking lifetime trading bans against two individuals who had been convicted of offences linked to the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) money-laundering probe here. Announcing its latest actions arising from the investigations, the central bank also said on Monday (March 13) that it has imposed a 10-year Prohibition Order (PO) on former Goldman Sachs (Singapore) director Tim Leissner, who is among the most high-profile individuals to be banned from the Singapore markets. Under the PO, Mr Leissner will be banned from performing any regulated activity under the Securities and Futures Act and taking part, directly or indirectly, in the management of any capital market services firm in Singapore. Flouting these rules could result in a maximum fine of S$150,000, a jail term of two years, or both.  MAS said it has served notice of its intention to issue lifelong POs against former Falcon Private Bank (Singapore) branch manager Jens Fred Sturzenegger and former BSI managing director Yak Yew Chee. Individuals facing POs can make written representations to MAS before the final decision is taken. If issued, TODAY understands that these would be the first lifelong bans under the Securities and Futures Act and the Financial Advisers Act. A third person, former BSI director Yvonne Seah Yew Foong, is potentially facing a 15-year PO, MAS said.  Mr Ong Chong Tee, deputy managing director of financial supervision at MAS, stressed that the authority would not tolerate conduct by any finance professional that threatens to undermine trust and confidence in Singapore’s financial system. “MAS will not hesitate to bar such individuals from carrying out regulated activities in the financial industry. It is imperative that industry professionals and representatives of financial institutions are fit and proper persons,” he said.  The investigations began in March 2015. Since the start of last year, MAS has ordered BSI and Falcon to shut down. The two Swiss-based private banks were also fined S$13.3 million and S$4.3 million respectively. To date, five individuals have been hauled to court: Sturzenegger, Yak, Seah, ex-BSI wealth planner Yeo Jiawei, and former remisier Kelvin Ang Wee Keng. Swiss-based UBS and Singapore bank DBS have also been fined S$1.3 million and S$1 million respectively. MAS had previously said that the probe was nearing completion and a final update would be provided early this year.  Mr Leissner was served notice by MAS in December last year and invited to submit written representations as to why a PO should not be made against him, MAS said.  From 2002 till Feb last year, Mr Leissner was with the Singapore arm of Goldman Sachs although he has been based in Hong Kong since Nov 2011. Mr Leissner was found to have issued an unauthorised letter to a financial institution based in Luxembourg in June 2015, and to have made false statements on behalf of Goldman Sachs (Asia), without the firm’s knowledge. “Following careful consideration of the representations made by Mr Leissner and the relevant facts, MAS has decided to issue a PO for a period of 10 years against Mr Leissner with effect from March 13, 2017,” MAS said. In the case of Sturzenegger, he was managing Falcon Private Bank (Singapore) and in charge of the bank’s compliance with MAS regulations, notices and directives, as well as other relevant laws and regulations. In January, he was found guilty of failing to report suspicious transactions linked to the 1MDB fund, and lying to MAS and the Commercial Affairs Department on several counts: To hide his ties with Malaysian tycoon Low Taek Jho, and to conceal his knowledge of Mr Low’s bank accounts. Mr Low is suspected of siphoning billions of dollars from 1MDB. Sturzenegger is now serving his 28-week jail term. He was also fined S$128,000. When contacted, his lawyer Tan Hee Joek said that he had yet to be approached to make representation to MAS on Sturzenegger’s behalf.  Last November, Yak was sentenced to 18 weeks’ jail and fined S$24,000 for failing to disclose suspicious transactions and forging reference letters to entities in Switzerland. These letters were used to cover up Mr Low’s net worth or hide the source of his fund transfers. Seah, who had abetted Yak in forging these letters, was jailed two weeks and fined S$10,000 last December.   Yak and Seah have served their sentences, and Yak’s lawyer Lee Teck Leng said that he and his client “respect MAS’ decision”. Lawyer Peter Low, who represented Seah previously, said that she had not contacted him. RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s regulatory practice head Nizam Ismail said that the POs imposed by MAS would protect consumers from dealing with persons that fall short of the authority’s expectations.  Associate Professor Johan Sulaeman, from the finance department at the National University of Singapore Business School, reiterated that the severity of the POs is meant to prevent future occurrences of similar misconduct, and to make a stand on Singapore’s viability as a financial hub. “The POs apply only to Singapore institutions, and therefore may not have a global or even regional effect. However, they send a clear signal that Singapore does not want to be trapped in a regulatory race to the bottom,” he said.
March 9, 2017

International law firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing strengthens Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice with new Partner hire

Leading international law firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing has boosted its commercial and construction litigation capabilities with the appointment of Mr Sivakumar Vivekanandan Murugaiyan as Partner in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice with effect from 1 March 2017. Sivakumar has an impressive track record in commercial and construction litigation and arbitration, having acted as both Counsel and Arbitrator for arbitration cases. He brings with him an extensive 28 years of experience, advising and representing a wide range of clients including individuals, local businesses, international corporations and financial institutions on civil and commercial arbitration and disputes matters. Sivakumar focuses principally on building contract and construction disputes, banking litigation, company disputes, minority shareholder claims, claims relating to breaches of fiduciary duties, defamation and insolvency-related litigation. The addition of Sivakumar to the team highlights the Firm’s commitment to grow and strengthen its Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice in line with the Government’s push to reinforce Singapore’s position as a dispute resolution hub. Commenting on Sivakumar’s appointment, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat said, “We are delighted to welcome Sivakumar to our Firm. With Singapore becoming the preferred centre for international commercial arbitration and dispute resolution, Sivakumar’s extensive experience in civil and commercial litigation will strongly bolster our litigation and dispute resolution offering to potential clients.” Senior Partner and Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Mr Roderick Martin, S.C. added, “The work Sivakumar undertakes will be in line with the Firm’s momentum for its lawyers to be seen as industry experts in their various fields of litigation and dispute resolution. His multifaceted background will add depth to the Practice which will provide a tremendous amount of value to our clients.” Sivakumar graduated from Queen Mary College, University of London in 1987 and did his Bar Finals at the Inns of Court School of Law in 1988 before commencing his practice in 1989. He has served as Treasurer and Executive Committee member of the Law Society and on various committees including the Ethics Committee, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee as well as the Inquiry Panel. In addition, he also served for many years on the Board of Commissioners & Notaries Public of the Singapore Academy of Law. --- This press release is featured in the following news reports: "RHTLaw lands SG dispute resolution partner from Straits Law" - Asian Legal Business, 9 March 2017
March 9, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing is proud to host the Interlex Group Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing is delighted to be the host firm for the Interlex Group Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting 2017 held over two days from 5-6 March 2017 in Singapore. At the welcome dinner, Deputy Managing Partner Azman Jaafar opened with a speech, followed by a specially selected modern Chinese cuisine dinner at The Fullerton Hotel. The two-day meeting focused on the legal climate within the region and the role Interlex plays. Over 40 Interlex delegates from 23 law firms across 24 different cities such as New Zealand, Indonesia, Austria, USA, Hong Kong, Canada and UK attended the event. Prior to the closing dinner, the Firm invited the delegates over to our office for a cocktail session. It was an excellent opportunity for Partners to meet with fellow Interlex members to forge new and better business relationships.   The Interlex Group is an association of leading global law firms that provides a range of international legal and business services to clients.