Brunei Prince Sued by Investors Over Elektromotive Stake

Brunei’s Prince Abdul Hakeem Jefri, the Sultan’s nephew, was sued by nine people including an economist over claims he breached an agreement by refusing to transfer shares in Singapore-listed Elektromotive Group Ltd.

Kit Wei Zheng and the others are seeking the return of their S$890,000 ($717,000) investment in exchange for a stake in the electric vehicle charging company, according to their lawsuit filed with the Singapore High Court. The first closed hearing is scheduled for Sept. 10.

Hakeem, who was executive chairman of Elektromotive, failed to transfer the shares by the scheduled completion date of July 19, 2011, and has yet to do so, according to the complaint. The investors claimed they suffered loss as Elektromotive shares have fallen since then. The stock closed at 0.2 Singapore cents yesterday, an 84 percent slide from the 1.25 cents on July 19, 2011.

“They’ve paid the prince money and he’s failed his part of the bargain,” said Paul Seah, a lawyer representing the investors including Citigroup Inc. economist Kit, whose involvement is in a personal capacity. Hakeem’s lawyer Low Chai Chong declined to comment.

The prince claimed he couldn’t transfer the shares to the investors as he’s embroiled in confidential arbitration proceedings with the company, according to his court papers. Hakeem isn’t allowed to remove certain assets including Elektromotive shares as part of an interim order by the arbitration tribunal, according to the court filing.

“The only remedy is the transfer of the shares,” Hakeem said in court papers, adding that the investors aren’t entitled to the return of their investment.

Hakeem has sued Elektromotive Vice Chairman Ang Gee Hing for inducing him into taking a stake in the company and then excluding him from decision-making. Ang has said he’s defending the lawsuit and is seeking to dismiss the prince’s claims.

The case is Kit Wei Zheng v Prince Abdul Hakeem Jefri. S588/2012. Singapore High Court.