|Australian bank Westpac is being sued by London based casino Aspinalls Club. The case revolves around Westpac customer Chia Teck Leng who has been found guilty of fraud and sentenced to 42 years in jail by the Singapore High Court. The chief financial officer of a Singapore brewery, stole money from four foreign banks to help fund some extravagant gambling- apparently up to Aus $400,000 a hand.|
The money that Leng managed to steal from the foreign banks was deposited into his Westpac account to launder the illegal funds. This case that Aspinalls is bringing against the bank is potentially damaging, not only if the suing attempt is successful, but also by highlighting the ability of the fraudster to use a Westpac account to make such large deposits and withdrawals without question.
Aspinalls Club runs a private casino in London’s Mayfair is attempting to sue Westpac in order to force the bank to honour the cheques drawn by Leng from his Westpac account, before he was convicted on the fraud charges. The account he held had, at its height, AUS$ 32 million of funds. The amounts of the cheques, which have prompted the legal action taken by Aspinalls Club, are for UK£1.64 million and UK£990,000.
Aspinalls are claiming that both Westpac and a courier responsible for despatching the cheques for authorisation to the Australian bank are both responsible for delaying the payments of the cheques. Westpac referred Aspinalls to Leng, saying that the man needed to confirm the cheques before payment could be made. Two weeks after writing the cheques Leng was arrested, rendering his account frozen, and the cheques unable to be paid. It is the delay incurred that Aspinalls is objecting to.
Currently there are AUS$7 million frozen in the Westpac account- awaiting a decision whether they should be paid to Aspinalls for the outstanding debt, or to the commonwealth as a proceed of crime. A spokesperson for Westpac has said it will be “vigorously defending” the claim of culpability being levied by Apsinalls.