Singapore charges $5.6bn fraud’s masterminds
SINGAPORE: Singaporean authorities charged three people – who allegedly wiped $5.6 billion off the stock exchange – on Friday over manipulating the market.
Malaysian John SohChee Wen and Singaporean Quah Su-Ling are the accused ‘masterminds’ of the plot – that involved using over 180 trading accounts to inflate the share prices of three companies – authorities said.
Calling it the largest market manipulation in the Singapore’s history, prosecutors, police and the central bank said the ‘complex and elaborate fraud’ involved the shares of Blumont Group, Asiasons Capital and LionGold Corporation.
Soh and Quah used the shares as collateral, convincing several banks including Goldman Sachs to extend more than $119 million credit to finance their scheme, a statement said.
“They then used this cash to create demand for penny stocks, with previous reports saying they managed to push up some prices by around 800% in the nine months leading up to October 2013,” authorities said.
However, on October 4 prices crashed – wiping huge sums off the value of the Singapore exchange – and the Singaporean authorities claim the incident ‘dented’ the investor confidence and directly affected trading volumes in 2014.