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Ex-SPH Senior Exec Charged with Graft, CBT (BT)

BackJun 27, 2012

[SINGAPORE] Former Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) senior executive Peter Khoo Chong Meng, who is accused of stealing shopping vouchers and taking kickbacks, was charged yesterday with eight counts of corruption and two counts of criminal breach of trust.

Khoo, 49, who was senior vice-president of SPH's English and Malay Newspapers Division and head of its Editorial Projects Unit, was accused of "corruptly" obtaining bribes totalling $83,500 from Liaw Kim Chew "as a reward" for awarding Liaw business deals.

Having worked with SPH for 22 years, Khoo handled The Straits Times' branding and promotion activities, which included circulation drives, student events and rewards for readers who send news tip-offs.

Khoo, who was also organising chairman of the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, also coordinated events and activities to raise donations for the newspaper's charity.

According to the prosecution's charge sheets, Khoo allegedly received sums ranging between $5,000 and $30,000 from Liaw on eight separate occasions from July 2006 through August 2010.

On one occasion, Khoo received $30,000 for awarding Liaw the business deal of supplying 100,000 coin banks to the Editorial Projects Unit.

In addition, Khoo was also accused of misappropriating two CapitaLand vouchers, valued at $11,547 and $11,548, on two occasions between May 29, 2007, and Jan 15, 2008, and between Aug 5, 2009, and July 1, 2010, respectively.

Listed property firm CapitaLand had sponsored shopping vouchers that were meant as gifts to contest winners and readers as part of The Straits Times' branding and marketing activities.

Khoo, whose services were terminated in September 2010, has since made restitution of $196,500.

If he pleads guilty, the prosecution will proceed with two charges of corruption and one charge of criminal breach of trust.

If convicted for corruption, Khoo could be jailed for up to five years or fined a maximum of $100,000 or both on each charge. If convicted for criminal breach of trust, he could be jailed for up to 15 years and also fined.

Khoo, who is represented by Alfonso Ang of A. Ang, Seah & Hoe, declined comment. He was arrested in September 2010 and is out on an extended bail of $115,000. His next court hearing is on July 10.