LL.B (Hons), National University of Singapore
Advocate and Solicitor, Supreme Court of Singapore
Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK)
Accredited Mediator, Singapore Mediation Centre
Area of Expertise
Abraham established Providence Law Asia LLC in 2012 as a boutique international arbitration and litigation practice, bringing with him 19 years of extensive experience in contentious work in Asia. 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. He works closely with leading lawyers from other jurisdictions and is regularly instructed as counsel by international firms.
Under Abraham’s leadership Providence Law Asia has attained multiple accolades, including most recently being named the “Rising Law Firm of the Year” by Asian Legal Business.
Abraham’s main areas of practice are:
- International arbitration
- Corporate and commercial litigation
- Corporate insolvency and restructuring
- Private wealth litigation
- Construction litigation
- Crime, compliance and internal investigations
Abraham actively supports pro bono advocacy, legal skills training, and law reform initiatives in Singapore and in the region.
REPRESENTATIVE CASE EXPERIENCE
- International Arbitration
- Corporate & Commercial Litigation
- Private Wealth Litigation
- Construction Litigation
- Crime, compliance and internal investigations
- SIAC arbitration in Singapore, in which Abraham successfully secured damages of approximately US$17 million for losses of profits and the costs of arbitration for his client in a US$70 million claim against a sovereign government for prematurely terminating a 20-year concession agreement between the government and our client.
- Advising a client in a potential arbitration involving claims valued atUS$150 million to US$300 million against a sovereign government for breach of a joint venture agreement, and obtaining third party funding for the contemplated arbitration proceedings.
- 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.
- Arbitration placed to be resolved in London under the London Metals Exchange Rules, representing one of Indonesia’s largest tin metal traders, Uni Bros Metal Pte Ltd, in the setting aside of a Freezing Order obtained in the High Court of Singapore which restrained the client and its affiliates from the disposition of assets up to a value of about US$5.7 million
- SIAC arbitration in Singapore, representing the Singapore subsidiary of a prominent Malaysian infrastructure conglomerate in a S$10 million construction dispute. Abraham and the team succeeded in respect of all arguments in a partial award delivered in June 2017.
- ICC arbitration placed to be heard in London, representing a BVI company in its claims arising from a transfer of US$17.19 million in investment monies. This matter involved working with BVI counsel and BVI liquidator in order to revive the BVI company which had previously been resolved.
- SIAC arbitration in Singapore, representing a Malaysian hotelier group and its subsidiary in its claims arising from the wrongful termination of a development agreement, seeking specific performance of a Share Sale Agreement or alternatively for damages estimated to be at US$4.5 million
- SIAC arbitration in Singapore which raises complex and novel issues of law involving a BVI law issue of whether a dissolved company can be bound by an agreement purportedly entered into on its behalf during its dissolution.
- Representing a subsidiary of the GMR Group, one of India’s leading infrastructure enterprises in its claim for over US$90 million following the abrupt termination of an airport reconstructions project.
Corporate & Commercial Litigation
- Defending the Singapore holding companies of Jordanian principals against US$2.6 billion claim by Motorola Credit Solutions.
- Representation of Mr Deepak Sharma, the retired global chairman of Citi Private Bank in judicial review proceedings against the Law Society of Singapore. Although the review was ultimately dismissed, Abraham and Providence Law Asia succeeded in establishing precedent on novel legal issues on public interest.
- Representing partners of Ernst & Young Solutions LLP who were appointed as liquidators of Griffin Real Estate Investment Holdings Pte Ltd which is a joint venture partly owned by Sakae Holdings Limited. The liquidators are presently involved in the recovery of monies of around S$35 million which the former directors have been ordered to pay for various breaches of director’s duties. Abraham also successfully obtained an injunction against a company related to the former directors over a sum of S$33.59 million which the liquidators are recovering as sales proceeds of a hotel in Singapore.
- Representing a Russian businessman in a 12-day trial in the Singapore International Commercial Court (“SICC”) involving alleged breaches of a partnership agreement relating to an integrated winter resort in China valued at S$2.8 billion. This SICC matter was heard before International Judge Vivian Ramsey, a former Judge of the High Court of England and Wales and involved hot-tubbing of expert witnesses on points of Chinese law.
- Represented an Executive Director of Macquarie Bank Limited in a claim by Macquarie Bank Limited in the SICC against a Singapore subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned enterprise, Graceland Industry Pte Ltd involving OTC forward swap contracts. This SICC matter was heard before International Judge Sir Henry Bernard Eder, a former Judge of the High Court of England and Wales.
- Represented Mr Tan Kim Sing in his claim for S$16 million against an Indonesian company in the business of coal mining being what was agreed in an agreement assigned to Mr Tan.
- 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 claim.
- Represented Yahoo! Singapore to launch judicial review proceedings to protect journalist’s privilege not to disclose their sources of information in light of an order by the Singapore Police Force to disclose metadata on their communications with an internet hacker known as ‘The Messiah, which resulted in the withdrawal of the disclosure order.
- Representing Zylog Systems Limited, a company publicly listed on the National Stock Exchange of India, in Singapore High Court proceedings to replace the current board of directors of its Singapore subsidiary so that an investigation into the affairs of the Singapore subsidiary may be commenced – Zylog Systems Limited is currently under administration with a retired Judge of the Madras High Court appointed as the administrator.
- Instructed by ChemOne Holdings Pte Ltd to assist with a restructuring project at the US$2.4 billion Jurong Aromatics Corporation Integrated Aromatics Project on Jurong Island Singapore.
- Represented a Singapore publicly listed company which specialises in constructing oil tanks in its dispute worth S$275 million with a petroleum and petrochemical products storage owner. The case raised issues which test the boundaries of limitation and liability clauses and the extent to which engineering, procurement and construction contractors are required to seek the approval of the employer in designing and implementing the project.
- Successfully obtaining a rare quia timet injunction for Pacific Star Group to ensure that a tenant in TripleOne Somerset, a shopping mall along Singapore’s premier Orchard Road shopping district, will vacate the premises after the client has finalised a sale of the mall to a third party for over S$900 million.
Private Wealth Litigation
- Represented a high net worth US Permanent Resident against a claim by one of prominent high net worth individual in Singapore, in respect of a dispute relating to the shares in an Indian company worth around US$40 million. The litigation raises complex and novel legal issues involving, among other things, Indian law relating to regulated agricultural land in India and the enforceability of agreements relating to the transfer of property held by, and to be transferred to, third parties.
- Instructed to resolve the deadlocked administration of a 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 among 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.
- Representing a high net worth individual in respect of a Cayman Island family trust with assets valued at over US$133 million against civil lawsuits in Singapore and possible criminal prosecution initiated by third parties in multiple jurisdictions.
- 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
- Representing Li Sheng Wu, the grandson of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, in contempt of court proceedings brought by the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
- Representing a former executive of Keppel Fels Brazil, who is being investigated by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.
- International Promotion of Singapore Law Committee: Appointed by Justice VK Rajah in 2008 to promote the use of Singapore law and Singapore as a venue for arbitration in cross-border disputes in Asia
- Law Reform Committee: Appointed by Justice Philip Pillai in 2010 to consider law reforms, inter alia, in the area of arbitration law
- Professional Affairs Committee: Appointed by Second Solicitor-General Lionel Yee in 2012 to contribute to the Professional Values Chapter
- SAL Practitioner Journal: Appointed to be Subject Editor of Advocacy Procedure 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 conduction mediation pursuant to s75B of the Legal Profession (Inadequate Professional Service) Inquiry Rules
- Associate Mediator, Primary Dispute Resolution Centre
Malaysian Association in Singapore, MASIS
- Founder and President
Chancery Bar Association of England and Wales
Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2018 - Disputes Star in Commercial Disputes, Bankruptcy & Insolvency and International Arbitration
Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2018 is an online publication which serves as a guide to the region's dispute resolution law firms and lawyers and awards them on the basis of peers and client recommendations. Abraham has been described as his peers as a lawyer who is "excellent and can think outside the box when required".
Asian Legal Business SE Asia Law Awards 2018
Abraham Vergis is a finalist for Singapore’s Managing Partner of the Year and Dispute Resolution Lawyer of the Year. Other finalists in both categories are notable senior counsel in the legal industry in the Southeast Asian region.
Asialaw Leading Lawyers 2018 & 2017 – Market Leading Lawyer in Singapore
Asialaw Leading Lawyers features the prominent practitioners in 18 practice areas in 24 jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region. An extensive survey was carried out, inviting many reputable lawyer, in house counsels and international law firms to nominate individual lawyers who excel in various practice areas based on their work and reputation.
Chambers & Partners – Top 20 litigators in Singapore
Abraham Vergis, is once again recognised and ranked by Chambers and Partners in Chambers Asia-Pacific Guide 2017. Abraham is ranked amongst the top twenty litigators in Singapore.
Chambers & Partners Asia Pacific 2016 – Dispute Resolution Litigation –Singapore
Chambers and Partners publish the leading guides to the legal profession, ranking the world’s best lawyers and law firms based on in-depth and objective research. The Chambers Asia-Pacific Guide covers 41 jurisdictions across the region, featuring over 20 areas of law.
Finance Monthly – International Arbitration Lawyer of the Year – 2016
Finance Monthly recognises and celebrates law firms and legal professionals worldwide who have consistently excelled in their field of practice through nomination entries and extensive research involving clients and peers.
The Best Lawyers in Singapore – International Arbitration – 2016
Best Lawyers, established in 1983 is the oldest and most respected peer-reviewed publication in the legal profession. The publication is based on an exhaustive and rigorous peer-review survey in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidently evaluate their professional peers.