Malaysian businessman in Singapore Soh Chee Wen sentenced to 36 years in jail

Malaysian businessman in Singapore Soh Chee Wen sentenced to 36 years in jail

SINGAPORE: Malaysian businessman John Soh Chee Wen has been handed down a 36-year jail term in Singapore for his involvement in the largest and most serious case of market manipulation, which wiped out S$8 billion from the republic’s stock market in 2013.

A local news outlet also reported the 62 year old businessman’s ex-partner and accomplice Quah Su-Ling was given 20-year jail term.

Quah, 57, was formerly chief executive officer of Singapore Exchange(SGX)-listed IPCO International.

Soh and Quah had been convicted of 180 and 169 charges respectively after a long-running trial spanning almost 200 days and involving close to 100 prosecution witnesses, said the report.

The report said from August 2012 to October 2013, Quah and Soh artificially inflated the share prices of three penny stocks: Blumont, Asiasons and LionGold.

They controlled, obtained financing for, conducted illegitimate trading activity in and coordinated their use of 189 securities trading accounts.

These accounts were held with 20 financial institutions in the names of 60 individuals and companies.

The bulk of their charges – 106 counts of deception – were for deceiving financial institutions by concealing their involvement when giving instructions to make orders and trades, it said.

The report said Soh was additionally found guilty of witness tampering by asking four witnesses to lie to investigators after the stock market crash.

The scheme unravelled on Oct 4, 2013 when the share prices of the three companies crashed, erasing S$8 billion in market capitalisation from SGX.

The prosecution had sought 40 years’ jail for Soh, and 19-and-a-half years for Quah, who was less culpable.

A third co-accused, 59-year-old Goh Hin Calm, was sentenced to three years’ jail in 2019 after pleading guilty to two charges of false trading and market rigging, said the report.-Bernama