One of the larger investment scandals in Singapore – a city which is not short of investment scandals – was the saga surrounding Profitable Group, a land-banking investment firm that collapsed in 2009, taking tens of millions of dollars of investor funds with it.
The Commercial Affairs Department investigation is ongoing, and the directors of the firm were ordered to hand over their passports and stay in Singapore.
So imagine the High Court’s surprise when two directors – a husband-and-wife pair – failed to appear at a hearing earlier this week, because the police had handed back their passports and let them travel to England:
A female director under investigation applied to the High Court for the return of her impounded passport but this was objected to by the Attorney Generals’ Chambers (AGC).
However, the High Court judge, who had spent several months carefully considering the submissions, discovered prior to announcing the verdict yesterday, that the female director had gotten her passport back from the authorities on “compassionate grounds” and had left for Britain.
The female director was given approval to travel abroad as she said she needed to attend a wedding in Britain.
And it gets better – she was already known to be at risk of jumping bail:
[The Attorney General’s department] had said in the court submission that the reason the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) allowed the husband, who is a foreigner, to leave the country, was because the Singaporean female director was residing in Singapore. Should the female director also be allowed to leave Singapore, then there would be a double-risk that both would jump bail and flee.
Investigations had also revealed that the couple had shipped items “by the container load” from their house in Johor Bahru to France.
Justice Choo asked in puzzlement: “You thought that she might flee if allowed to go to Johor Bahru but yet you allowed her to visit Britain, which is only across the channel from France (her husband’s place of origin)?”
Come on, you know the words!