Singapore High Court on Thursday sentenced Malaysian businessman and woman, John Soh Chee wen and Quah Su-Ling for offenses of market manipulation and cheating which led to the crash of 2013. Local media have mentioned that the 2013 crash was the result of the most severe case of market manipulation in Singapore, as it wiped out over $8 billion from the Singapore Stock Market (SGX).
Chee Wen and Su-Ling executed manipulative professions using 187 trading accounts to artificially inflate the share prices of several penny stocks, including Asiasons Capital, Blumont Group and LionGold Corp. These 3 companies experienced an erratic share rise of around 800% over the course of 9 months, before plunging over a span of 3 days in October 2013. Right after the crash of the 3 companies, the average daily trading volume of SGX fell more than 60% in one year after September 2013. An investor mentioned he had invested SGD 120,000 in Blumont Group, just before the crash. He was left with just SGD5,850 in shares after the crash.
High Court Judge Hoo Sheau Peng sentenced Chee Wen and Su-Ling with 180 and 169 charges respectively. These charges include, but are not limited to, defrauding financial institutions to extend credit, trading accounts without consent, and creating false representation and disclosure to the public. The pair could face imprisonment for up to seven years, fine of up to $250,000, or both for each charge under sections 197 and 201 of the Securities and Futures Act. They could also be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine, for each charge of cheating under Article 420 of the Penal Code. Other charges under the Singapore Companies Act could also expose them to prison terms of up to seven years and a $10,000 fine.
One of their conspirators, the former acting managing director of IPCO International, Goh Hin Calm to plead guilty to 6 strike charges in 2019. The prosecutor described Hin Calm as both a “start-up founder and financial manager” of the entire program. He is currently serving his 3-year prison sentence and has been prosecution witness for the trial of Chee Wen and Su-Ling.