Manifold Times was present at the BP Singapore bunker trial on Tuesday. The following report is part two (of two) focusing on submissions from the public prosecutor and is meant to read as a continuation of part 1 found here.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jiang Ke-Yue, meanwhile, maintained his stand that alleged corruption was involved in the dealings between Chang and Koh.
The court learnt that Koh began operations at Singapore bunker trading firm New Orient and got to know Clarence Chang in 1997. A few years later, Chang asked Koh to set up PPT to be the trading counterparty of BP and suggested that Chang be a shadow partner or co-owner of the firm.
“Now we have profit and loss figures for PPT where the figure we see was $8 million in 2015, not bad compared to $100,000 which Mr Koh put in [to setup PPT]. What did Chang put in? Nothing! Although he described himself as a co-owner and shadow director,” said Jiang.
“The defence urges your honour to consider them in isolation but the totality of the situation must be considered. The payment request cannot be considered in isolation but must be considered when it all began when Chang and Koh setup PPT.”
According to Jiang, Chang and Koh were two key figures in the setting up of PPT.
“It is simply that this was a case of Chang asking Mr Koh having to pay because if he did not, his fears will be realised as he was paying to keep PPT’s business with BP,” he explained the duo’s alleged working relationship.
“Firstly, an unequal bargaining positon. It was Chang who initiated the setup, it was Chang who would make or break PPT […] It was Chang who opened the door to PPT, and it was Chang upon whom PPT’s fortunes will depend on.
“The second feature is unwritten profit sharing; [Chang] had no share in PPT yet he described himself as co-owner and shadow partner. Why was payment given as business grew? He calls this as was what was due to him, simple as that.”
“The unequal relationship and an excuse to take money, we submit your honour that this case is no different from those retainers who take a future ulterior motive,” noted Jiang, referring to the period when Chang started receiving money from Koh five years after PPT started business with BP in 2001.
“Chang initiated the setup, he was there when PPT fortunes grew; all the while he had not disclosed this conflict to his employer,” he added.
District Judge Ong Chin Rhu, after hearing respective submissions of the Prosecution and Defence, decided more time is needed to consider the submissions and recommended the prosecution to tweak certain charges in relation to the case for hearing at a future date.
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