Arrested Soh to be charged over penny stock fiasco
SINGAPORE: John Soh Chee Wen, who along with a number of individuals were under investigation for the 2013 penny stock crash on the Singapore Exchange, has been arrested by the authorities, according to The Straits Times.
Described by the Public Prosecutor in January as “mastermind” behind the infamous penny stock crash which wiped out S$8bil in market value in just days in October 2013, Soh, 57, will be charged today for his role in Singapore’s biggest securities fraud case, his lawyer Tan Chee Meng told The Straits Times.
The Public Prosecutor in January had indicated that charges were expected to be filed by the end of the year.
Soh, whose passport has been impounded since April 2014, has been helping the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) with its probe, which centres on possible violations of the Securities and Futures Act over trading in Blumont Group, LionGold Corp and Asiasons Capital, which surged between 150% and 800% in less than nine months before losing most of their value in just three days in October 2013.
The CAD had also sought the assistance of executives from ITE Electric including former non-executive independent director Goh Hin Calm.
Shares of ISR Capital, formerly known as Asiasons WFG Financial, and was also linked to the penny stock crash, dived 55% or 15.8 Singapore cents to 12.7 cents earlier yesterday, prompting a query by the Singapore Exchange. ISR requested a trading halt this afternoon pending its reply to the query.
Soh was known to be an active market player in the Malaysian and Singaporean stock exchanges for close to two decades. He was previously found guilty of causing the collapse of Omega Holdings Bhd.
He was nabbed for infringements involving Omega Securities and together with Datuk Tony Tiah, was charged and fined for providing false information to market authorities.
In 2007, Soh pleaded guilty and paid a fine of RM6mil and has since moved his base of operations to Singapore.
At the peak of the stock market rally prior to the crisis, Soh controlled at least 5 listed companies in Malaysia. They were Promet Bhd, Uniphoenix Corp Bhd, Plantation and Development Bhd, Kelanamas Industries Bhd, Rekapacific Bhd, Omega Holdings Bhd and Metro Kajang Bhd.