Ex-New Silkroutes Group CEO Goh Jin Hian, three others charged with market manipulation
The former chief executive of Singapore-listed New Silkroutes Group Goh Jin Hian and three other men were slapped with a total of 132 charges related to false trading offences in the State Courts on Wednesday.
The other three men charged are the healthcare and energy firm’s former chief corporate officer Kelvyn Oo Cheong Kwan and former finance director William Teo Thiam Chuan, as well as Huang Yiwen, the sole director of GTC Group, a commercial market maker that New Silkroutes had engaged.
Market makers help ensure there is enough liquidity in the markets.
Goh, 54, the son of former prime minister Goh Chok Tong, was chief executive of New Silkroutes from 2015 to 2020. In 2020, he also stepped down as non-independent and non-executive chairman of the group.
In a statement on Wednesday, the police said the four men were each charged under the Securities and Futures Act with 31 counts of engaging in a conspiracy to create a misleading appearance with respect to the share price of New Silkroutes.
They allegedly placed orders and executed trades in the company’s shares with the purpose of pushing up its share price on 31 trading days between Feb 26 and Aug 27 in 2018.
The alleged orders and trades include share buybacks carried out through the company’s corporate trading account, the police said.
Goh faced a further eight counts of violating securities regulations. He allegedly placed orders and executed trades in the company’s securities through his DBS Private Bank personal trading account with the purpose of pushing up New Silkroutes’ share price on eight trading days between Aug 31 and Dec 4 in 2018.
Shares of New Silkroutes have been suspended since Nov 15, 2021.
All four men are out on bail. If convicted of an offence under Section 197 of the Securities and Futures Act, they face a jail term of up to seven years or a maximum fine of $250,000, or both.
New Silkroutes had said in October 2020 that Goh resigned from his post of non-independent and non-executive chairman to “devote more time to his personal affairs”.
Teo, meanwhile, stepped down that same month to “focus on personal matters and to pursue other interests”. Oo left his position in August 2020.
Their resignations came after the company disclosed that Goh and Teo were helping the police’s Commercial Affairs Department with investigations.
The charges followed a joint investigation between the Commercial Affairs Department and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Separately, a High Court trial began in April between the liquidators of insolvent marine fuel supplier Inter-Pacific Petroleum (IPP) and Goh, its former director, over US$156 million (S$207 million) in losses resulting from his alleged breach of director’s duties.
Lawyers for IPP’s liquidators, who are seeking to recover that sum, accused Goh of “sleepwalking through his time as a director”, and failing to discover and stop drawdowns in trade financing between June and July 2019 to fund alleged “non-existent or sham transactions”.
But Goh said the suit was a “blatant attempt to scapegoat him”, as he was “not involved in any sham transactions”.
The civil trial ended on May 11 and parties are awaiting judgment.