Advocate and Solicitor, Singapore
Charmaine Neo is an Associate Director in the firm’s Corporate, Investigations, and Regulatory Practice Group, and heads its Employment Practice and Investigations Practice.
Prior to joining the Firm, Charmaine worked in-house with a major local listed company (a local conglomerate with a global footprint in more than 20 countries) and in private practice at a local Big Four law firm.
Charmaine handles both contentious and non-contentious matters with a dedicated specialisation in the areas of employment disputes, investigations, and compliance, with a strong focus on cross-border corporate whistleblowing and governmental investigations.
Charmaine has represented clients before all levels of court in Singapore (including the Singapore Medical Council’s disciplinary proceedings) as well as arbitration with the International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”).
During her time in-house, Charmaine handled investigations on anti-bribery and employment / conduct matters in China, Malaysia and Vietnam, including significant cross-border anti-bribery and fraud investigations involving government authorities in both Singapore and the U.S.
Charmaine is also well-versed in advising on regulatory compliance matters, including designing, implementing and monitoring scalable company-wide compliance programs in relation to data protection (Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act (“PDPA”) and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”)), international trade and sanctions, anti-corruption, and anti-money laundering. She has also advised Dubai Healthcare City, a foreign quasi-government entity, on an overhaul of its medical regulations, including its oversight and disciplinary processes, and standards of medical education and research.
Whilst in private practice in a local Big Four law firm, Charmaine represented clients in a wide range of dispute resolution matters, including but not limited to the following:
• Successfully obtained a permanent injunction for a local listed company in the Singapore Court of Appeal against an international bank, thus preventing the bank from paying out US$18 million under counter-guarantees on grounds of fraud (reported as Boustead Singapore Ltd v Arab Banking Corp  SGCA 26);
• Represented an Italian company in an ICC arbitration against its former joint venture partner, a Malaysian listed company. The arbitration centred on quantification of damages suffered for breaches of contract, and loss of profit exceeding US$50 million;
• Represented the Singapore Medical Council in disciplinary proceedings against a doctor who administered a surgical treatment not accepted by the profession outside the context of an approved clinical trial;
• Representing a patient in a defamation claim against a top local plastic surgeon;
• Represented a private education institution in Singapore in a claim for wrongful termination of contract against two government bodies (reported as The Stansfield Group Pte Ltd (trading as Stansfield College) v Consumers’ Association of Singapore and NTUC Income Insurance Co-Operative Limited  4 SLR 130); • Represented a bank in defending an allegation of unfair preference in a High Court suit and appeal (reported as Rabobank International, Singapore branch v Jurong Technologies Industrial Corp Ltd (under judicial management)  4 SLR 977).
• Represented foreign HNWIs in novel local judicial review proceedings against the Singapore tax authority;
• Defended a senior officer in a top marine company against charges of corruption and falsification of documents; and
• Represented the ex-wife of a foreign national football team in acrimonious divorce proceedings.
Charmaine has also managed significant cross-border litigation matters, including a fraud claim worth over US$500 million in the US District Court, and employment disputes in the Singapore High Court and in the Shanghai courts. She has also worked in a top Japanese law firm headquartered in Tokyo advising on arbitration matters and disputes.