Four banks vs Asia Pacific Breweries for $109mio

“The best defence is offence.”

Well that is the basic position of the four banks against APB in trying to claim back $109mio of their lost funds. Disregarding the bank’s internal control failure to detect the fraud, the banks have chosen to place the faults on APB.
  • One of the banks argued that Chia Teck Leng’s acts were carried out in his capacity as APB’s finance manager – and the company must shoulder the blame.
  • Senior counsel Steven Chong, who represents two of the foreign banks, told the court that the fundamental issue was how Chia was able to perpetrate the fraud for almost five years and remain undetected. The obvious answer, he said, is that APB has vested wide powers and authority on Chia without any proper checks and balances in place.
  • Chia was also able to ensure that correspondence from the banks was never opened by anyone other than him. His secretary was specifically never to open letters from banks addressed to him.


From 1999 to 2003, Chia, now 47, had submitted to the banks fictitious documents with forged signatures of top APB executives, which convinced the banks to give him credit facilities in APB’s name.

What did Chia do with the monies? He blew $62 million in casinos around the world, before being convicted and sentenced to 42 years’ jail in 2004. Some millions still cannot find.

While Mr Chia sits in prison for the remaining 39 years, many bank officers’ career have been scarred.


  1. October 9, 2007 Two banks give up claims against APB over Chia swindle.Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and The Fuji Bank, now known as the Mizuho Corporate Bank, agree to pay costs. One says case no longer in ‘commercial interest’.Amazing turn of event.Shouldn’t the banks decide on the U-turn much earlier?


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