SINGAPORE – Singapore’s high court has convicted two people over what authorities consider to be the largest market manipulation case in the city-state, a joint statement by the Singapore police and Monetary Authority of Singapore said on Thursday.
For almost a decade, Singapore authorities have been investigating suspected trading irregularities tied to a so-called penny-stock crash in late 2013 that wiped out around S$8 billion ($5.78 billion) from the value of three companies within the space of a few days.
Quah Su-Ling and Malaysian John Soh Chee Wen were the masterminds behind an elaborate scheme to artificially inflate the value of shares of Blumont Group Ltd (Blumont), Asiasons Capital Ltd (Asiasons) and LionGold Corp Ltd (LionGold), the statement said.
The pair were found guilty on more than a hundred offences each, including market manipulation and cheating, it said.
The scandal, which saw those stocks surge multiple times in the months before they slumped, battered investor confidence and led to a series of reforms to the city-state’s stock trading rules.
During investigations, Singapore authorities raided more than 50 locations and interviewed over 70 individuals, examining evidence comprising of more than two million emails, 500,000 trade orders, and thousands of telephone records and financial statements, the joint statement said.
Soh and Quah, who could not be reached for comment, will be sentenced at a later date.
A lawyer representing Soh did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Quah was not represented in court, according to media reports.
($1 = 1.3852 Singapore dollars)
(Reporting by Chen Lin in Singapore; Editing by Ed Davies)