Bloomberg News

Credit Industriel Accumulators Retrial Begins, Banker Missing

October 31, 2011

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Credit Industriel et Commercial, a French bank, claimed a former client made a wrong bet in a 2007 transaction that he now insists wasn’t authorized, even as it said the banker involved can’t be found to testify at a re-trial.

“This is a classic case of a punter who makes a series of successful bets in a buoyant stock market and then cries foul when the market turns against him,” Manoj Sandrasegara of WongPartnership LLP, who represents CIC, as the unit of France’s Groupe Credit Mutuel is known, said today at the start of the re-trial at the Singapore High Court.

Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong of Singapore’s Court of Appeal had ruled in April that CIC’s dispute with its former client, Teo Wai Cheong over a S$6.4 million ($5.1 million) debt must be resolved in a new trial after additional evidence came to light.

The judge ordered CIC to disclose internal communications and transcripts of phone conversations that its banker had with Teo and other clients who may have disputed giving instructions to buy accumulators, which are products that commit investors to buy stocks at preset prices for a specified period of time

Ng Su Ming, the private banker who dealt with Teo, has left the country for the Middle East and repeated attempts by the bank to contact her to be present during the retrial have proved futile, Sandrasegara said. He said Ng’s last-known address was in Dubai and she was either genuinely not reachable or didn’t want to cooperate any more in the case.

Teo’s lawyer, Chelva Rajah of Tan Rajah & Cheah, said in his opening statement today that his client will show the former banker’s trial testimony was “peppered with inconsistencies and contradictions” and was “totally unreliable.”

Rajah said almost 4,000 documents, or 44 percent of all case-related files are new, and it’s imperative that Ng be available for cross-examination.

CIC had won a judgment in May 2010 when then Judicial Commissioner Philip Pillai ruled Teo didn’t pay for the accumulators in 2008. Teo had denied he gave Ng instructions to buy the products.

The case is Credit Industriel et Commercial vs Teo Wai Cheong, S626/2008 in the Singapore High Court.

--Editors: Joe Schneider, Garry Smith

To contact the reporters on this story: Sanat Vallikappen in Singapore at vallikappen@bloomberg.net; Andrea Tan in Singapore at atan17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net


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