Abraham Vergis

Abraham Vergis, Managing Director, Providence Law Asia

Areas of Practice

Abraham is an experienced Singapore court advocate and counsel in international arbitrations. He is also a trained mediator and arbitrator.

Abraham established Providence Law Asia LLC in 2012 as a boutique international arbitration and litigation practice. Prior to that, he practiced international arbitration and litigation for 14 years at Drew & Napier LLC, where he was a Director in the Dispute Resolution Department and co-Head of the South Asia Desk.

Abraham’s main areas of practice are:

  • international arbitration
  • corporate and commercial litigation
  • private wealth litigation
  • construction litigation
  • crime, compliance and internal investigations

Abraham brings with him extensive experience in contentious work in Asia. He has represented Singapore and international clients in high-value cases spanning the finance, oil and gas, logistics, construction, telecommunications, entertainment, aerospace, and energy industries. He has also worked closely with leading lawyers from other jurisdictions and is regularly instructed as counsel by foreign law firms.

Abraham actively supports pro bono advocacy, legal skills training and law reform initiatives in Singapore and in the region.

Abraham teaches Advocacy on the adjunct faculty at the Singapore Management University School of Law and the Law Faculty of the National University of Singapore. He is also an Advocacy Trainer for the Singapore Bar exams at the Singapore Institute of Legal Education.

In 2011, Abraham co-authored a paper titled “Right to Judicial Review of Negative Jurisdictional Rulings” for the Law Reform Committee of the Singapore Academy of Law. The paper proposed amendments to Singapore’s International Arbitration Act, which were in turn accepted and passed in Parliament in 2012.


Representative Case Experience

International Arbitration

  • SIAC arbitration in Singapore, representing a South Asian telecommunications company against a prominent Malaysian conglomerate, over an acquisition dispute valued at over US$250 million.
  • HKIAC arbitration in Hong Kong, representing a prominent Indonesian billionaire and his group of companies, in a dispute with a Canadian party over a private equity investment venture valued at US$100 million.
  • LCIA arbitration in London, representing a German distributor against a Malaysian government-linked company, concerning the termination of a distribution agreement in Europe, involving claims of over US$60 million.
  • SIAC arbitration in Singapore, representing American and Japanese vendors against Indian purchasers, concerning the repudiated sale of a group of Japanese companies valued at US$30 million.
  • ICC arbitration in Bangkok, representing a Japanese global corporation against its Thai distributor, concerning the termination of a distribution agreement and involving claims of US$14 million.

Abraham has also been involved in arbitration-related court proceedings in Singapore:

  • Singapore Court of Appeal, to reinstate a domestic arbitral award that had been set aside by the High Court on grounds of breach of natural justice and exceeding scope of submission to jurisdiction.

Corporate & Commercial Litigation

  • 65-day Singapore High Court trial, involving 3 consolidated Suits, 14 parties and 5 sets of Counsel, and concerning claims for misrepresentation and market manipulation in relation to a US$40 million take-over of a Malaysian public-listed company. The other parties included German and Singapore banks and prominent Malaysian business and political elites.
  • Instructed in several related High Court Suits involving liquidation of S$200 million company and competing derivative action and minority oppression claims.
  • Instructed in a widely-reported real estate dispute worth over S$50 million involving a Singapore statutory board and a number of sizeable Singapore companies.
  • A multi-million dollar joint venture dispute before the Singapore High Court, representing a Singapore-headquartered multinational against an Australian public listed company over oil & gas industry services contracts in the Caspian.

Private Wealth Litigation

  • Instructed to resolve the deadlocked administration of an S$320 million estate that had remained unresolved for 15 years.
  • Instructed in several related Singapore High Court Suits relating to S$200 million estate (held through a network of corporate structures and nominees) that became the subject of controversy between the testator’s family members and his business associates.
  • Represented a member of royalty in South East Asia in a number of Singapore court proceedings relating to a private equity investment.

Construction Litigation

  • 80-day multi-party construction arbitration in Singapore concerning the partial collapse of a cement silo and involving claims of over S$25 million. This case featured complex civil and structural engineering issues addressed by an international panel of 14 expert witnesses.
  • 25-day construction arbitration under ICC Rules in Bangkok, between a Malaysian boilermaker and a prominent Thai mill owner, concerning construction defects in a palm oil refinery in Krabi. This matter involved complex technical issues, Thai law issues and accounting evidence concerning loss of profits as well as earning capacity claims in excess of US$25 million.
  • Represented the Respondent before the Singapore Court of Appeal, to uphold a High Court judgment disallowing defects and delay claims relating to condominium development in Singapore.

Crime, compliance and internal investigations

  • Multi-jurisdictional fraud case involving misappropriation of several million dollars by two senior executives in a Kazakhstan subsidiary of a Singapore company, and diversion of proceeds to Hong Kong, Ahmedabad and Liechtenstein. Abraham directed the fraud investigations in Almaty and Singapore, which culminated in worldwide freezing orders and legal action in the Singapore High Court.
  • Directed and coordinated multi-disciplinary investigations for a leading airport operator in India against a former director in respect of suspected conflict of interest and other serious irregularities, which led to Singapore High Court proceedings, which were subsequently settled favourably.
  • Instructed by a foreign Government to investigate substantial hospital bills rendered by a South East Asian hospital in respect of treatment rendered to a group of foreign patients. Investigations revealed that the hospital had systematically overcharged the foreign government millions of dollars, which directly resulted in an amicable settlement based on substantial discounting of all outstanding hospital bills.
  • Secured two acquittals for a Singapore lawyer in two separate trials on serious charges of perjury and corruption, allegedly committed in the course of his practice as an advocate & solicitor.

Appointments

Singapore Academy of Law

  • International Promotion of Singapore Law Committee: Appointed by Justice VK Rajah to promote the use of Singapore law and Singapore as a venue for arbitration in cross-border disputes in South Asia
  • Law Reform Committee: Appointed by (Retd) Justice Philip Pillai to consider law reforms in the area of arbitration law
  • Professional Affairs Committee: Appointed by Second Solicitor-General Lionel Yee to contribute to the Professional Values Chapter

Law Society of Singapore

  • Chairman, Criminal Legal Aid Scheme
  • Member, Law Society’s Council Pro Bono Committee
  • Served as Chairman of the Law Society’s Investigative Tribunal for Inadequate Professional Services
  • Appointed by the Law Society to serve as mediator to conduct mediation pursuant to s75B of the Legal Profession (Inadequate Professional Service) Inquiry Rules

Subordinate Courts

  • Associate Mediator, Primary Dispute Resolution Centre