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Inter-Pacific Petroleum JMs used by banks in ‘outrageous abuse of process’, claims former Director’s lawyers

14 Sep 2021

Deloitte & Touche, the Judicial Managers (JMs) of former Singapore bunker supplier and craft operator Inter-Pacific Petroleum (IPP, or the Plaintiff), has been made use by banks in an “outrageous abuse of process”, claim solicitors representing Dr Goh Jian Hian, the former Director of IPP (Defendant), in a court statement.

Dr Goh’s defence statement written on 10 November 2020 (re-dated to 25 March 2021) was amongst documents obtained by Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times from the High Court during a September 2021 inquiry; the court is in the midst of seeking further and better particulars from both parties to continue proceedings.

The legal suit started in October 2020 after JMs found IPP having a viable claim against Dr Goh.

Legal fees of the JMs are funded by the Singapore branch of Maybank and Societe Generale (SocGen), both major creditors of IPP, looking to respectively recover USD 88.3 million and USD 81.3 million that they allege to be due to Dr Goh’s negligence as director.

“The Plaintiff’s case in HC/S 953/2020 is an attempt by SocGen and Maybank (either the “Bank”; collectively, the “Banks”), who are funding the litigation, to circumvent the fact that they have no basis to make any claim against the Defendant, to avoid scrutiny of its own conduct and to apply illegitimate pressure on the Defendant to settle the claim by making sensational allegations, which have been widely publicised,” stated Dr Goh’s defence solicitors.

“The JMs of the Plaintiff have allowed themselves to be used in this outrageous abuse of process.

“The Defendant further says that the JMs of the Plaintiff owe a duty to act fairly, impartially, honestly and use reasonable diligence in the discharge of their duties, but they have failed to discharge this duty and to properly investigate and evaluate the Banks’ claims against the Plaintiff and the Plaintiff’s remedies against the parties actually responsible for the alleged fraud.”

The statement noted IPP JMs seeking to claim in excess of USD 156.6 million (exact: USD 156,555,338.31) from Dr Goh on the basis of “solely a single unverified e-mail from Mercuria” that alleges USD 762,371,594 of receivables due on July 2019 to be derived from sham and non-existent transactions.

“The Plaintiff and JMs have not pleaded what losses the Plaintiff has suffered, but have instead collaborated with the Banks to improperly use the Plaintiff as a proxy to attempt recovery of what are the apparent losses of the Banks, who know that they have no legal basis to recover them from the Defendant,” stated lawyers.

They further claimed: “That the JMs have failed to discharge their duties by blindly helping the Banks mount a false case against the Defendant.”

“That is borne out also by the fact that they have not taken the simplest of steps to protect the interests of the Plaintiff by exercising their powers to investigate whether the Banks have any claim against the Plaintiff or taken steps to recover the alleged losses from those responsible for the alleged fraud.

“Nor have the Plaintiff or the JMs made the Banks account for their own conduct, negligence and/or omissions leading up to this alleged loss.”

A timeline organised list of events preceding the current development of Inter-Pacific Petroleum have been recorded by Manifold Times below:

Related: Inter-Pacific Petroleum winding up order application approved
Related: Judicial Managers of Inter Pacific Petroleum file for winding up order
Related: Former Singapore Director of Inter-Pacific Petroleum sued for USD 156 million
Related: Inter-Pacific Petroleum creditors authorised to fund lawsuit against former Director
Related: New Silkroutes under investigation over possible breach of Securities and Futures Act
Related: JMs considering to take former Singapore Director of Inter-Pacific Petroleum to court
Related: Singapore: Inter-Pacific Group receives winding up order from High Court
Related: Singapore: Inter-Pacific Group files for winding up application at High Court
Related: MPA revokes Inter-Pacific Petroleum Pte Ltd bunker supplier licence
Related: Co-heads of Trade and Commodities Finance for Asia-Pacific leave SocGen
Related: Inter-Pacific Group, Inter-Pacific Petroleum to hold creditors’ meet
Related: NewOcean detains Singapore-flagged bunker tanker “Pacific Energy 28”
Related: SocGen lawsuit against NewOcean Petroleum dropped, party to counterclaim
Related: MPA revokes Inter-Pacific Petroleum bunker craft operator licence
Related: Magnets on MFMs: Trial starts for former bunker clerk of “Consort Justice
Related: First suspect charged over MFM tampering in landmark case
Related: With nearly $180 million of debt, IPP proposes interim judicial management
Related: Inter-Pacific Group, Inter-Pacific Petroleum under judicial management
Related: Magnets on MFMs: “Consort Justice” crew pleads ‘not guilty’ to tampering charge
Related: IPP responds to temporary suspension of bunker craft operator licence
Related: MPA temporarily suspends IPP bunker craft operator licence
Related: Singapore: Bunker Cargo officer, crew face charges over alleged MFM tampering

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 14 September, 2021

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