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Thread: Aggrieved Laguna noteholders to launch class-action suit against Peter Kwee this mont

  1. #1
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    Default Aggrieved Laguna noteholders to launch class-action suit against Peter Kwee this mont

    Aggrieved Laguna noteholders to launch class-action suit against Peter Kwee this month

    Jan 06, 2022



    OVER 200 aggrieved debenture holders and pioneer members of the Laguna National golf club have raised about S$1.1 million to launch a collective action suit against the club and its owner Peter Kwee.

    Lim How Teck, who chairs a committee building the noteholders' case, said he will be among the 5 members acting as representative plaintiffs. The suit will be launched "no later than end January 2022", he told The Business Times on Wednesday (Jan 5), after a meeting with about 120 noteholders where he presented this proposal.

    Their intended defendants are Kwee and his two companies, Laguna National Golf and Country Club, as well as Laguna Hotel Holdings.

    At the heart of this dispute is money - to the tune of tens of millions of dollars - that has not yet been paid back to debenture holders, even though the 30-year-old notes were due for redemption in June last year.

    These unredeemed notes amounted to S$70.6 million, going by Laguna National's 2020 financial statements.

    On the day before the notes were to be redeemed, Kwee had written to the trustees, stating that the club was unable to fulfil the redemption "due (to its) current financial position".

    Some noteholders are disgruntled, noting that while Kwee said Laguna National had no money to redeem the debentures, he had enough to revamp the golf course and even built a 200-room hotel, Dusit Thani Laguna, on the club grounds.

    The tycoon had bought Laguna National from its founding owners in 2001. In 2016, he transferred Laguna National's land lease to Laguna Hotel Holdings, another of his companies.

    Laguna National's 2019 financial statements showed that it had entered into a licence agreement with a "related corporation" to "occupy and use the golf courses and clubhouse" from Sep 1, 2016 to Jun 11, 2021.

    A sum of S$14.4 million was recorded in the statements' notes as the "future minimum licence fee payment" within 1 year. Monthly licence fees stood at S$600,000 from Jan 2018 to Mar 2019 and S$1.2 million from Apr 2019 to Jun 2021.

    Laguna Hotel Holdings' 2019 financial statements indicate that it had charged S$14.4 million in licence fees to "a related company".

    Lim said: "Something is not quite right. If it's a genuine business failure, we can understand. But this is not a business failure. Although the assets of Laguna National had been hollowed out, the club and Dusit Thani Laguna hotel will live on for another 20 years."

    The current land lease expires in 2040.

    Laguna National's 2019 financial statements stated that a director who is also a substantial shareholder of the company has undertaken to "provide continuing financial support" to allow it to continue operating as a going concern "in the foreseeable future".

    Its 2020 financial statements, however, stated that the company has ceased its business, is not regarded as a going concern and will commence the liquidation process in the foreseeable future. It recorded a net loss of S$1.65 million for the year ended Dec 31, 2020.

    Laguna National's 2020 statements also stated that it had made an arrangement with Laguna Hotel Holdings, under which "Laguna Hotel has offered to buy the matured unsecured notes from the noteholders with Laguna Hotel's club membership plus a certain amount of top -up fees".

    Lim told BT that the committee had decided against resolving the dispute via the club's trustees, the British and Malayan Trustees Limited, for fear that the trustees may have a conflict of interest.

    "There is a possibility in the future that we find the trustees had been negligent in their duties in the last 20 years and not acted in club members' interest. Then we may even have to take action against them.

    "The best course of action recommended by our lawyers is representative action, or class action. This also ensures that there are no freeloaders. Those who don't contribute financially will not benefit from what we manage to claim," he said.

    Lim spoke to BT at the National University of Singapore Society's Guild House in Suntec City, where the meeting with noteholders was held in hybrid fashion - 108 members tuned in virtually, and about a dozen showed up in person. He was accompanied by two pioneer members of the club, Thomas Khoo and Philip Lim.

    To date, the committee has managed to canvass support from 221 noteholders, who have each contributed an initial sum of S$5,000 to fund the legal action. Lim estimates that there are about 400 who have not surrendered their notes in exchange for alternative "packages" offered by Kwee over the years.

    His committee has been taking advice from Senior Counsel Tan Chee Meng as well as lawyers Paul Loy and Samuel Navindran from WongPartnership.

    Laguna National was Singapore's first proprietary golf club launched by a consortium of 3 government-linked companies - Natsteel Resorts International, Resorts International of DBS Land, Singapore Leisure Industries of Jurong Town Corporation - and 2 Japanese partners, Marubeni Singapore and Taiyo Company.

    Its first batch of members had in 1991 taken up non-interest bearing unsecured notes of S$120,000 due to mature on Jun 11, 2021. In addition, each paid about S$40,000 in membership fees, as well as monthly subscription dues.

    The money was used to finance the building of the club. A copy of the unsecured note certificate showed that up to 1,800 such debentures could have been issued. According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore's inflation calculator, S$120,000 in 1991 would have been worth about S$185,000 in 2019.

    If the court grants the green light for the suit, Lim said his committee will first appoint a liquidator to scrutinise Laguna National's books over the last 20 years.

    "As noteholders, we only have access to the summarised accounts submitted to Acra (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority). The liquidator can go into the details, do forensics, so we'll see whether there are any skeletons in the cupboard," he said.

    In response, Kwee told BT the noteholders had made "unfounded allegations" on transactions involving both companies during a meeting in October. He has sought a list of these noteholders from the club's trustee "for verification purposes and to engage and to clarify", but has not received the names. "However, if the noteholders have any further concerns, they may write to the club directly," he said.

    https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/rea...wee-this-month

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Aggrieved Laguna noteholders to launch class-action suit against Peter Kwee this

    According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore's inflation calculator, S$120,000 in 1991 would have been worth about S$185,000 in 2019.

    Unredeemed notes amounted to S$70.6 million, sorry no money.

    Its first batch of members had in 1991 taken up non-interest bearing unsecured notes of S$120,000 due to mature on Jun 11, 2021. In addition, each paid about S$40,000 in membership fees, as well as monthly subscription dues.

    The money was used to finance the building of the club. A copy of the unsecured note certificate showed that up to 1,800 such debentures could have been issued.

    1,800 x $120,000 = $ 216 million, sorry no money

    Big fish eat small fishes, bigger fish eat big fish.

    1,800 x $40,000 = $ 72 million, sorry no money

    Total 216+72=$288 million, sorry no money.

    Buy property better, still got the shell.
    The Best Time to buy Property is Yesterday.
    If you lose Money it because you sell on a wrong Day.

    https://wa.me/6587821025

    https://r057844h.propnex.net/

    You don't Buy others will Buy.
    You don't Sell, others will Sell.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Aggrieved Laguna noteholders to launch class-action suit against Peter Kwee this

    Some 24,000 applied to join, and when the club opened in March 2000, some 19,000 members were accepted. In all, the club's original owners would have collected over $530 million from 19,000 new members as joining fees and subscription fees.

    In early 2001, the original shareholders sold the club to Mr Lin and Ms Tung for about $40 million.

    Shortly after, a group of 4,895 members, calling themselves the Raffles- 5000 group, brought a class action suit against the club to demand a refund of their $28,000 fee on the grounds of misrepresentation and/or damages for breach of contract.

    The court awarded the claimants $3,000 each in damages. But the club decided to compensate all 19,000 members and obtained the court's approval to make payment through cash and F&B vouchers valued at some $3,000 for each member.

    $3,000 x 19,000 = 57 million

    $530 million / 19,000 = $ 27,894.73
    The Best Time to buy Property is Yesterday.
    If you lose Money it because you sell on a wrong Day.

    https://wa.me/6587821025

    https://r057844h.propnex.net/

    You don't Buy others will Buy.
    You don't Sell, others will Sell.

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