Spanish judge requests financial information from S’pore on Audrey Fang & murder suspect Mitchell Ong

Audrey Fang murder: Spanish judge orders Singapore authorities to give financial information on victim & suspect

A judge in Spain has requested from Singapore the financial information of murder victim Audrey Fang, as well as that of the suspect, Mitchell Ong, according to Spanish media La Verdad.

Source: Fang Dirou on Facebook

The information includes banking, property, and economic details.

Authorities are investigating if there is an “economic motive” for the murder, as well as the relationship between the suspect and victim.

Ms Fang was found in Abanilla on 10 April with 30 stab wounds. Ong was arrested on 16 April in connection with her murder. His hotel room and belongings were searched and he was later brought to court.

The pair’s relationship is still unclear, although Ms Fang’s family found out last month that she’d signed two insurance policies in 2015 with his name listed as the agent.

Spanish judge requests financial information of Audrey Fang & suspect Mitchell Ong

La Verdad reported on 13 May that the magistrate has requested from the Singapore authorities “banking information, movements and history of accounts opened” of both the suspect and the victim.

She explained that she considers the information regarding the CPF (Central Provident Fund) “especially relevant”.

She also stressed the importance of determining whether Ms Fang had named any CPF beneficiaries, and whether that person was Ong.

The Spanish authorities had found a note in her iPad revealing her intention to nominate an unidentified person as her CPF beneficiary.

Supposedly dated 24 March, it read:

I wish to clarify that my decision to nominate you for my CPF was made because you are my long-time friend and my trusted confidant.

Source: AGENCIA EFE on YouTube

The note also expressed gratitude to the unnamed recipient for previously lending her US$50,000 (S$68,000).

Authorities are now investigating if there is a link between the note, potential beneficiaries, and the murder.

The judge also requested information on Ms Fang’s life insurance policies from Singapore authorities, including beneficiaries.

She also asked to be informed of any previous criminal record Ong might have had in Singapore.

She ordered that the Consulate in Spain be informed of the request so that they could obtain the information “by the most immediate means”.

“Solid indications of criminality” against accused

The judge is also asking banks to report if the accused or victim has made any cash withdrawals during their stay in Spain, La Verdad reported.

If that is the case, the magistrate has asked for information on the branch or ATM where the withdrawals were made, as well as the amount, date, and time.

She noted that there are “solid indications of criminality” against the accused, including security camera recordings, as well as telco operators confirming that both the phones of the accused and victim were at the scene of the crime.

There are also “multiple well-founded suspicions” against Ong.

SPF working with Spanish police

The CPF Board told Channel NewsAsia (CNA) that it would launch an investigation if it is “informed of any facts or circumstances that may affect the validity of a nomination”.

It will look at the evidence and supporting documents to ascertain this validity, it added.

“For CPF nominations that are contested posthumously, CPF Board will withhold the distribution of the deceased member’s CPF savings till investigations are completed,” the CPF Board said.

“If the nomination is found to be invalid, CPF savings will generally be distributed based on an earlier nomination if any, or according to intestacy laws.”

Meanwhile, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) told MS News that it is working with its Spanish counterparts.

“As the incident had happened in Spain, the Singapore Police Force has and will continue to render the necessary assistance to the Spanish authorities within the ambit of our laws,” SPF said.

Ong still in pretrial detention

Sources close to the investigation have said that it may be “months” before Ong is formally charged, according to CNA.

According to them, the public prosecutor’s office is still reviewing police evidence and investigations. The police report is expected to take “months” before completion.

The accused is currently in remand in a Murcia jail. He has so far refused to give a statement, which has hindered investigations.

The accused was deemed a flight risk as he is a tourist in Spain and has no family or friends in either Alicante or in Abanilla, where Ms Fang’s body was found.

He is still in pre-trial detention, even though he appeared before a judge three days after he was arrested.

In Spain, a person can be on pre-trial detention for up to two years. This can be extended by two years for serious offences.

Featured image adapted from Fang Dirou on Facebook and AGENCIA EFE on YouTube.

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