Soh Chee Wen gets 36 years’ jail for masterminding S$8 bil penny stock crash

ONCE high-flying Malaysian corporate dealmaker Soh Chee Wen a.k.a. John Soh who masterminded Singapore’s biggest case of stock market manipulation that wiped out nearly S$8 bil (RM26.3 bil) in market value in October 2013 has today (Dec 28) been sentenced to a 36-year jail term.

His co-conspirator Quah Su-Ling was handed 20 years with both Soh and his “long-term partner in both business and personal affairs” appealing their sentences, according to the Singapore Straits Times.

Prosecutors had sought a jail sentence of 40 years for Soh, and 19½ years’ for Quah.

The court case spanned a record 349 successful charges in some 200 days of trial over nearly four years.

Singapore High Court judge Hoo Sheau Peng had on May 5 found Soh, 63, guilty of 180 charges of the 188 while his girlfriend Quah, 58, was convicted on 169 of 177 charges that she faced.

Singapore High Court Judge Hoo Sheau Peng

The duo were found to have manipulated the share prices of Blumont Group, Asiasons Capital and LionGold Corp – known collectively as BAL – between August 2012 and October 2013, through 187 trading accounts held with 20 financial institutions in the names of 58 individuals and companies.

“In terms of the large number of controlled accounts and intermediaries and financial institutions involved, and the substantial volume of BAL trades and high percentage of whole market’s trading volume, … the accused are to be held responsible for most of the trades,” the Singapore Straits Times cited Judge Hoo as saying.

In deciding Quah’s sentence, Judge Hoo said: “In my view, there is no dispute that Quah is less culpable, and she is less involved in terms of the scheme’s conceptualisation and execution. … As a starting point for the false trading and price manipulation charges, I will impose on Quah two-thirds of the sentence imposed on Soh.”

The Batu Pahat (Johor)-born Soh whom friends described as a person with integrity – an individual who achieved success due to hard work and tenacity – has been in remand since November 2016, while Quah, the former CEO of Ipco International Ltd (now renamed Renaissance United Ltd), is out on bail of S$4 mil.

Of the 180 charges on which Soh was convicted, prosecutors sought consecutive sentences for 11 charges (three of false trading, three deception charges, two cheating charges and three tampering charges) and an aggregate sentence of 40 years’ jail.


Main pic credit: Singapore Straits Times

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