Lippo unit under police probe over alleged fraud in case involving UOB loans

LIPPO Group is presently awaiting a court docket verdict on the quantity of damages it has to pay UOB after a protracted authorized battle which began in 2014, and the Indonesian firm’s woes will not be over.

The police are believed to be investigating the group’s subsidiary – Lippo Marina Collection (LMC) – over alleged fraud stemming from a court docket ruling in October 2022.

LMC is the developer of Sentosa Cove condominium Marina Collection.

The Appellate Division of the High Court had discovered LMC chargeable for utilizing illegal means in a conspiracy with actual property brokers to promote properties financed by UOB.

The conspiracy resulted in UOB shedding a big amount of cash after it disbursed about S$182 million in inflated house loans, financing greater than 100 per cent of the acquisition costs of the high-end residences.

UOB is in search of to get S$92 million from LMC, and a three-day listening to was held in January 2024 to find out the quantity of damages the financial institution is entitled to.

On Feb 21, 2024, police confirmed ongoing investigations based mostly on a report lodged by UOB in November 2022, a month after the financial institution received its enchantment to overturn an earlier court docket determination.

When contacted, an LMC spokesperson stated the agency is helping the police with their investigation and that it could be inappropriate to remark additional.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority web site confirmed that LMC was delicensed on Aug 19, 2011, after the event of Marina Collection was accomplished.

This means the developer is now not regulated below the Housing Developers (Control and Licensing) Act, which governs the gross sales and buy of uncompleted personal residential properties.

UOB initiated the lawsuit towards LMC and several other others in 2014 for his or her involvement in a conspiracy to acquire inflated housing loans totalling S$182 million.

The 124-unit Marina Collection was launched on the market in late 2007, however solely 42 items had been offered by Mar 10, 2011, after a collection of cooling measures had been launched.

UOB disbursed about S$182 million in mortgages between December 2011 and September 2013 to purported patrons of 38 items within the condominium.

By Apr 1, 2015, all 38 patrons had defaulted on their loans.

In a call dated Oct 28, 2022, the Appellate Division of the High Court discovered that LMC had deliberately supplied false or inflated buy costs to patrons within the option-to-purchase varieties.

LMC additionally gave substantial “furniture rebates” of twenty-two to 34 per cent that had been used to offset money funds required for the condominium purchases, which weren’t disclosed to UOB.

These rebates inflated the costs of particular person properties in option-to-purchase varieties.

Furthermore, LMC hid the true identities of patrons, with most being nominees for Indonesian traders relatively than the meant house owners.

Appellate Division judges Belinda Ang, Woo Bih Li and Quentin Loh expressed concern over LMC’s lack of acknowledgement relating to the seriousness of its actions.

They highlighted that by deceiving UOB, Lippo had additionally misled appraisers and different patrons who relied on the said buy worth within the choice to buy.

This not solely affected the valuation of different items inside Marina Collection, but in addition different related initiatives.

The inflated buy costs introduced a distorted image of a phase of the property market, the judges stated. THE STRAITS TIMES