An Indonesian businesswoman, Madam Lena Leowardi, lent about S$1 million to a man who claimed he needed to raise money to free up a US$7.2 million inheritance.
But Mr Stanley Choong, the borrower, did not repay the loans.
Now, Madam Leowardi is trying to get back $540,000 of her money in a civil suit against loan guarantor Yeap Cheen Soo, who had pledged his private apartment as collateral in two loan agreements.
Mr Yeap, represented by Mr Ong Ying Ping, contends Madam Leowardi cannot recover the money because the loan agreements were part of an illegal moneylending transaction. Madam Leowardi said she got involved to help her friend, Thomas Tan, get his money back from Mr Choong. Mr Tan had lent $500,000 to Mr Choong.
Mr Tan asked Madam Leowardi for help when Mr Choong said he needed one final amount to pay for the release of the inheritance funds.
She wanted some form of guarantee. Mr Choong then introduced her to Mr Yeap, who agreed to sell his apartment to raise not more than S$540,000, if Mr Choong failed to repay the loan.
When cross-examining Madam Leowardi, Mr Ong suggested she had been motivated by “bonus” payments in extending the loans.
He pointed to notes in which Mr Choong promised to return $1.7 million to her, which was more than the loan amount. But she said the notes were given to her only after she had handed the money to Mr Choong.