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Stamford Land files defamation case against minority shareholder

Stamford Land Corp. Ltd. and five of its six board members are seeking damages from a minority shareholder of the company through a criminal case filed in the High Court of the Republic of Singapore.

The plaintiffs are claiming that Manohar Sabnani defamed the company by alleging, among other things, that it and the directors breached their fiduciary duties to Stamford Land and were guilty of offenses under the Companies Act.

Sabnani's defamatory statements were made on four occasions, the earliest at the company's July 28, 2016, annual general meeting, followed by July 27 comments made at the company's 2018 annual general meeting and through Sabnani's Facebook account, with the latest through a letter published July 31 on The (Singapore) Business Times.

In the July 31 letter to the editor, Sabnani said that after asking "a few hard questions," Stamford Chairman Chio Kiat Ow and other directors "vilified, bullied and made [me] feel totally unwelcome as a minority shareholder." Sabnani added that he was "told there was water in the toilet and I could quench my thirst there," a statement that Stamford disputed in a Sept. 4 letter published by the publication and again in the Sept. 9 filing.

A writ of summons was filed Sept. 7 in the High Court by Stamford Land, the board chairman, Vice Chairman Ow Cheo Guan and directors Ow Yew Heng, Lim Teck Chai Danny and Mark Anthony James Vaile. New board director Shao Lian Benjamin Goh was not named as a plaintiff.

Stamford Land said further announcements will be made in relation to the case when appropriate.