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Audrey Fang nominated suspect as sole CPF beneficiary 6 months before she was killed in Spain

Audrey Fang nominated suspect as sole CPF beneficiary 6 months before she was killed in Spain
Ms Audrey Fang was found dead with 30 stab wounds and other injuries in south-eastern Spain on April 10 while she was on a solo trip.
PHOTO: Facebook/Fang DiRou

SINGAPORE – Six months before she was killed in Spain, Singaporean Audrey Fang deposited nearly $200,000 into her Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts for investment-linked products, and also nominated a beneficiary.

The sole beneficiary is Mitchell Ong, who is currently being held in custody in south-eastern Spain in connection with her murder.

He is also the insurance agent who sold her two investment-linked policies in 2015.

Ms Fang was found dead in April with more than 30 stab wounds while travelling alone.

It is not clear how the pair knew each other, but they both attended the National University of Singapore at around the same time.

Ms Fang, 39, studied architecture, while Ong did a course in economics.

Ms Fang’s brother, Mr Benjamin Fang, 34, told The Straits Times that he was informed by the CPF Board that the nomination was done in person on Oct 4, 2023, at a CPF service centre.

He noticed that at around the same time, Ms Fang had deposited money into her CPF accounts for investment purposes.

“We were very shocked and sad to find out that he is her beneficiary. We do not know why he was nominated, as we hadn’t heard of him before,” he said.

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ST contacted AIA Singapore to ask if the insurer is looking into whether Ong is a beneficiary of Ms Fang’s insurance policies, but a spokesperson declined to answer the question.

The spokesperson said: “We are unable to comment on this matter or disclose specific policyholder information due to confidentiality reasons.

“Please be assured that AIA Singapore will provide any required support and assistance to the relevant authorities on matters relating to her insurance policies.”

Mr Fang said it is puzzling that his sister, who lived in the same flat as him and their father, and was close to the family, did not mention Ong once.

He added that the family intends to contest the nomination when more details come to light.

News of the nomination was revealed earlier in June when a court in Spain heard that the suspect, who has opted to stay silent during investigations, stood to benefit from her CPF savings.

Police in Spain had earlier raised suspicions around an economic motive for the murder, after a note on Ms Fang’s iPad declared a decision to name a “long-time friend and trusted confidant” as the recipient of her CPF savings in the event of her death.

The iPad was found in her hotel room with her other belongings.

The note also granted the beneficiary a “friendly loan of US$50,000 (S$68,000) based on our friendship in the past”, separate from the CPF nomination.

Mr Fang said he learnt that Ong had sold his sister the insurance policies only when he found letters from AIA with her belongings.

They were for two investment-linked policies, which she took up in 2015 from an agent named Ong Cheong Yi, which is?Ong’s Chinese name. Ong registered his marriage in June 2012 under the same name.

Mr Fang said: “She mentioned in the past that her insurance agent was investing her CPF for her. I’m not sure if the agent is Ong, but it seems likely.”

Mr Fang said the CPF Board told him it will withhold the distribution of Ms Fang’s CPF savings until the case concludes.

He was also assured that Ong will not be entitled to his sister’s CPF savings should he be convicted of killing her.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wDlqtSHhhE[/embed]

Former colleague

Ms Fang left for Spain on April 4, and became uncontactable on the night of April 9. She had told her family that she might be meeting a former colleague there but did not give details.

On April 10, she was found with 30 stab wounds and other injuries near a parking area for lorries in the town of Abanilla. It is about 150km from the hotel she was staying in.

Spanish police arrested Ong on April 16 in connection with the case.

Mr Manuel Martinez, the Spanish lawyer representing Ms Fang’s family, told ST that Ong, who invoked his right not to testify in court, is currently in pre-trial detention in Spain.

He said that if Ong is convicted of murder after trial, he will seek a jail term of between 20 and 25 years for the suspect, and possibly reviewable life imprisonment.

Mr Martinez believes he has a strong case against Ong, saying: “To date and pending further investigation, I can prove the existence of malice aforethought in the actions of Ong.”

The lawyer added that two witness statements from Singaporeans who can shed light on the relationship between Ms Fang and Ong will be submitted to the Spanish court.

As Ms Fang did not leave a will, her family has engaged a lawyer in Singapore to obtain a grant of letters of administration, which will give them the authority to manage Ms Fang’s estate.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21vQOlyJr9w[/embed]

This includes being able to access Ms Fang’s financial records, which Mr Fang said could give the family answers on her dealings with Ong.

Getting the grant of letters of administration, however, will likely take between four and six months, he added.

When asked if the CPF Board is investigating Ms Fang’s nomination, a CPF Board spokesperson said it is unable to comment directly on the matter due to confidentiality reasons.

The spokesperson said: “If the CPF Board is informed of any facts or circumstances which may affect the validity of the CPF nomination, an investigation will be conducted by examining the evidence and supporting documents to ascertain the validity of the nomination.

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

“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.”

ALSO READ:?Spain police probing origins of CPF nomination, $68k loan note on Audrey Fang's iPad

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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