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Already facing 5 charges, lawyer Lim Tean is now accused of pocketing S$5,500 without answering police questions

SINGAPORE — Lawyer and opposition party leader Lim Tean was charged Friday (September 23) with two new criminal charges, in addition to several he is already facing.

The 57-year-old – who heads the Peoples Voice party and law firm Carson Law Chambers – was first charged in May with criminal breach of trust, stalking a former employee and act as a lawyer without a valid practicing certificate.

He is now further charged with embezzling S$5,500 paid by AXA Insurance as a settlement to a person named Christianne Rameshwaran.

Court documents gave no further details, only that he allegedly pocketed the money on April 3, 2020 as part of his legal work.

He was also charged on Friday with refusing to answer questions put to him by an officer from the police’s business affairs department on June 10 this year.

It was a case involving 50,000 Singapore dollars that a person named Lee Peto had paid to Lim around October 23, 2017. No other details were also given in court documents regarding this case.

Lim’s case was adjourned to a pre-trial on September 23. He remains free on bail of S$30,000.

If convicted of criminal breach of trust as a lawyer, he could be jailed for up to 20 years and fined. Those found guilty of refusing to answer an official when legally required to do so can be imprisoned for up to six months or fined up to S$5,000, or punished with both. .

Friday’s development brings the total number of charges Lim faces to seven.

He was originally arrested in October 2020 after failing to cooperate with police investigations.

He then applied to the High Court to stop the police from continuing their investigation, but his request was dismissed and he was ordered to pay court costs.

His stalking charge relates to the alleged harassment of a former employee in 2020 while working at his law firm.

She had complained that he had invited her to dinner and drinks at his house and constantly addressed her using inappropriate terms such as “honey” and “baby”, even after telling her that she was felt uncomfortable with it. These details were set out in High Court Judge Ang Cheng Hock’s reasons for decision.

Court documents showed he repeatedly sent ‘flirting text messages’ to Ms S Priyanka Aunnucia between April and May 2020, causing her distress.

As for Lim’s alleged criminal offense of breach of trust, he is accused of embezzling S$30,000, which was awarded to his former client, Mr. Suresh Kumar A Jesupal, in settlement of a civil suit for car injury.

This would have happened between November 14 and December 4, 2019.

He also faces three counts of acting as a lawyer or solicitor without a valid practicing certificate. He reportedly did so 66 times between April 1 and June 9 last year.

This includes a hearing on April 19 into a defamation lawsuit filed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong against his client Terry Xu, the former editor of the now-defunct socio-political site The Online Citizen.