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WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Danny Ong is “a very accomplished practitioner who has an excellent technical grasp combined with great commercial prowess”. One client effuses that he “is really good on multi-jurisdictional matters, very responsive and will certainly be a leader in the field for many years to come”.

Questions & Answers

Danny specialises in complex cross-border fraud and asset recovery investigations, and litigation, having been involved in some of the most significant fraud matters seen in the Asia-Pacific region. He is also deeply experienced and known for his work in multi-jurisdictional headline insolvencies, and in international commercial disputes, acting for corporations across a multitude of industries, including banking and finance, technology, electronics, shipping, commodities, oil and gas, and commodities.  

What have been some key highlights of your career?

Key highlights have, fortunately or unfortunately, centred around cases which I have handled at the onset of financial crises in early 2000s, 2009 and 2020. In the early 2000s, I was fortunate to have been involved in a $200 million complex multi-jurisdictional fraud and asset recovery emanating from Brazil, and the $1 billion restructuring of Asia Pulp and Paper, one of the largest Indonesian conglomerates which became distressed. Almost a decade and more later, following the face of the 2009 financial crisis, I had the opportunity to lead in the liquidations of Lehman, MF Global, Dynamic Oil (OW Bunker affiliate). Subsequent highlights include assisting investigations into 1MDB, and the unravelling of cryptocurrency-related and initial coin offerings fraud. 

What developments in your jurisdiction should foreign practitioners be following and why?

As one of the key global financial hubs, Singapore has been constantly enhancing its money laundering and its debt restructuring regime. Developments on these fronts would be relevant to fraud and asset recovery specialists across the globe and should be closely watched. 

What challenges must you consider that clients may face from a reputational viewpoint when facing investigation from the authorities? 

There is invariably a desire to defend one’s reputation publicly, and the key challenge that constantly arises is the balance between satisfying that desire and not revealing matters which may prejudice the investigations and one’s own position. 

What new types of fraud are you seeing emerge and develop during the covid-19 pandemic? How are you ensuring that you and your clients are well equipped to tackle them? 

The covid-19 pandemic has seen a significant uptick in cyber fraud, and my team and I have been working closely with clients on cyberattack preparedness and review of security integrity. There has also been a noticeable increase in 2020 in fraud cases in the cryptocurrency space. 

In what ways do you think the pace of technological change will affect asset recovery proceedings in the next few years? 

The availability of enormous amount of information available on the web, coupled with ever improving data processing software, will continue to enable investigations and asset recovery to be conducted much faster, cheaper, efficiently and effectively. Additionally, we can expect artificial intelligence to assist with strategic decision making. 

What advice would you give younger lawyers looking to specialise in the field?

Focus in the early years on gaining exposure to cross-border cases across a multitude of industries, and keep abreast of key developments in the financial sector across the globe.  The breadth of knowledge and exposure, coupled with a curious mind, tenacity, adaptability and a passion for ‘piecing the jigsaw’, will stand one in good stead for a successful career in this field. 

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

The “excellent” Danny Ong is commended by sources who impart that “his performance has been outstanding in each matter” and that he is “able to think outside the box”.

Questions & Answers

Danny specialises in complex cross-border fraud and asset recovery investigations and litigation, having been involved in some of the most significant fraud matters seen in the Asia-Pacific region. He is also deeply experienced and known for his work in multi-jurisdictional headline insolvencies, and in international commercial disputes, acting for corporations across a multitude of industries, including banking and finance, technology, electronics, shipping, commodities, oil and gas, and commodities.

Describe your career development to date.

In the early years, I had the good fortune of being exposed to and engaged in complex cross-border disputes, insolvencies, restructurings, and investigations, and working with and learning from some of the best specialists in these areas across the globe. That laid a fantastic platform for me to develop my own practice and specialty in these areas, in Hong Kong and Singapore, particularly following the onset of the global financial crisis that spawned significant investigations relating to financial regulatory corruption and bribery matters, as well as money laundering. 

What is the most memorable case you have worked on?

One that’s consistently been right at the top of my list would be an extensive multi-jurisdictional fraud stemming from Brazil and the Cayman Islands, which involved lawyers and forensic accountants investigating the dissipation of funds across the globe, including the US, the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore and Nigeria, to name a few.  It was memorable not only because of the excellent team on board and the subject matter, but also the fact that these investigations ultimately resulted in significant recovery. 

How has the investigations market in Asia evolved since you started practising?

This area of practice has evolved significantly, particularly following the global financial crisis and the consequent roll-out of regulations across multiple jurisdictions, not to mention as a result of the impact of global trade. This spawned the development of dedicated professional practices specialising in investigations within Asian law offices and advisory firms, and the consequential demand for specialists in this area. 

What are the main challenges for enforcement agencies in Asia and why?

The key challenge for agencies from some emerging markets in Asia from experience is twofold: funding and corruption. This limits, to some extent, what these agencies could otherwise achieve. 

What are the challenges posed to investigations by cryptocurrencies?

The ability to trace cryptocurrencies is certainly one key challenge that arises in investigating fraudulent transfers or misuse. We have yet to reach the stage where such investigations can be carried out efficiently in terms of costs and time. 

Singapore recently introduced DPAs. What do you foresee as the main challenges in Singapore to reach such an agreement, especially in matters that are under investigation by authorities in multiple countries?

The DPA is still in its infancy, and it will take time before we have a consistent picture as to how it is employed and what would be the key challenges. What is at least clear at present is that Singapore’s authorities have always been working closely in cooperation with foreign governmental, or enforcement authorities, and will continue to take the same approach, which in turn will facilitate the attainment of DPAs. Notwithstanding that, one can expect politics to be a factor, which will affect the extent to which DPAs can be achieved across multiple countries.   

What is the best piece of career advice you have received?

Never stop learning!

Global Leader

Asset Recovery 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Danny Ong is “a very accomplished practitioner who has an excellent technical grasp combined with great commercial prowess”. One client effuses that he “is really good on multi-jurisdictional matters, very responsive and will certainly be a leader in the field for many years to come”.

Biography

Danny is a partner at Rajah & Tann, the largest legal services provider in South East Asia headquartered in Singapore.

He specialises in a broad range of corporate and commercial dispute work with particular emphasis on cross-border fraud and asset recovery, contentious insolvency, and banking and securities disputes.

Specifically, in the area of fraud and asset recovery, Danny has advised and represented various state-owned companies, governmental agencies, international financial institutions, and liquidators, in the investigation and prosecution of claims involving complex multi-jurisdictional corporate and commercial fraud and breaches of fiduciary duties, enforcement of foreign judgments, and the recovery and tracing of assets globally, involving billions of dollars. In the last decade, he has been involved in some of the highest-profile cross-border fraud matters to be seen in Singapore and the region, including more recently, matters involving the recovery of cryptocurrencies.

Danny is a member of the ICC Commercial Crime Services’ FraudNet network, and has been recognised in leading legal publications in his areas of expertise, including as a Thought Leader in the field of asset recovery by WWL. Danny graduated from the National University of Singapore and is admitted to the Singapore Bar, as well as the Rolls of Solicitors of the High Courts of Hong Kong, and England and Wales.

Litigation 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Danny Ong receives a wealth of praise from peers for the strength of his litigation practice and possesses vast experience leading cross-border disputes involving fraud and financial transactions.

Biography

Danny is a partner at Rajah & Tann, the largest legal services provider in South East Asia headquartered in Singapore.

He specialises in a broad range of corporate and commercial dispute work with particular emphasis on cross-border fraud and asset recovery, contentious insolvency, and banking and securities disputes.

Specifically, in the area of fraud and asset recovery, Danny has advised and represented various state-owned companies, governmental agencies, international financial institutions, and liquidators, in the investigation and prosecution of claims involving complex multi-jurisdictional corporate and commercial fraud and breaches of fiduciary duties, enforcement of foreign judgments, and the recovery and tracing of assets globally, involving billions of dollars. In the last decade, he has been involved in some of the highest-profile cross-border fraud matters to be seen in Singapore and the region, including more recently, matters involving the recovery of cryptocurrencies.

Danny is a member of the ICC Commercial Crime Services’ FraudNet network, and has been recognised in leading legal publications in his areas of expertise, including as a Thought Leader in the field of asset recovery by WWL. Danny graduated from the National University of Singapore and is admitted to the Singapore Bar, as well as the Rolls of Solicitors of the High Courts of Hong Kong, and England and Wales.

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