Singapore penny stock crash: Prosecutor says 161 charges sufficiently clear

An office worker walks past a logo of the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) outside its premises in Singapore April 23, 2014. — Reuters pic
An office worker walks past a logo of the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) outside its premises in Singapore April 23, 2014. — Reuters pic

SINGAPORE, May 14 — The 11th to 172nd charges are sufficiently clear and the defence has ample notice of and knows the case it has to meet, said a prosecutor in a joint trial over the 2013 penny stocks crash.

On May 10, both defence counsels of John Soh and Quah Su-Ling asked the prosecutor to amend the 161 charges to provide sufficient particulars related to the instructions to place orders and trades.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Teo Guan Siew said each charge details the dates and the specific counters on which the offending orders and trades are alleged to have been carried out.

Teo said it also details the specific account in which the orders and trades were placed; the name of the account holder; and the financial institution (FI) at which the account was held and against whom the offence was committed.

“These details are sufficient to give the accused persons notice of the illegal conduct they are charged with,” said Teo in his reply submission before High Court Judge Hoo Sheau Peng here today.

Soh, a Malaysian businessman, and Quah pleaded not guilty to 189 and 178 charges respectively, in relation to the Asiasons, Blumont, and LionGold’s penny stocks crash in 2013.

Soh was represented by Narayanan Sreenivasan of K&L Gates Straits Law LLC while Quah by Philip Fong of Eversheds Harry Elias LLP.

In their submission last Friday, defence counsels said that the charges were insufficiently particularised to the extent that they are misleading to the defence.

Among others, the counsels said the charges do not state whether the alleged instructions were given directly from the accused persons to the trading representatives (TRs) or whether they were given indirectly through the account holder or a third party.

The lawyers also said the charges did not state that they cover all orders and trades within the relevant time periods, as well as did not specify which individual orders and trades were the ones that allegedly constituted offences.

According to Teo, there were cases where instructions from accused persons were given to a financial intermediary who then gave instructions to the FIs.

These are the accounts held with the private banks and foreign FIs, and which have been identified, he said.

“For such accounts, we accept that all of the instructions were indirect,” said Teo.

In addition, Teo said there are four local brokerage accounts, for which “our case is similarly that all the instructions from Soh and Quah were conveyed to the TRs placing the orders through an authorised person, in these cases through the account holder himself.”

Judge Hoo is expected to respond next Thursday. — Bernama

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