“Masterminds” Behind Singapore’s Largest Stock Market Manipulation have Been Sentenced

On 28 December 2022, the High Court in Singapore sentenced Mr Soh Chee Wen (also known as John Soh), and Ms Quah Su-Ling to a total of 36 and 20 years’ imprisonment respectively “for, among other things, orchestrating an elaborate scheme to manipulate the shares of Blumont Group Ltd, Asiasons Capital Ltd and LionGold Corp Ltd between August 2012 and October 2013, and cheating two financial institutions.”

Earlier this year on 5 May 2022, Mr Soh and Ms Quah were “convicted of a total of 180 and 169 charges respectively after trial.”

The High Court in Singapore “found the duo guilty of charges of market manipulation and price manipulation, engaging in deceptive practices against financial institutions, and cheating two financial institutions.”

In addition, Mr Soh was “found guilty of witness tampering charges, and charges for being concerned in the management of the three companies whilst being an undischarged bankrupt.”

After hearing arguments by the Prosecution and counsel for Mr Soh and Ms Quah on 4 November 2022, the High Court meted out the following sentences.

Mr Soh and Ms Quah each “indicated that they will be filing a notice of appeal against conviction and the sentences imposed, save that Mr Soh will not be appealing against the conviction for the charges under Section 148 of the Companies Act.”

Chief Prosecutor, Mr Tan Kiat Pheng, said:

“The Prosecution is committed to act against offenders who engage in market manipulation and other offences that harm the investing public and financial market participants, and we will not tolerate any attempts to subvert our criminal justice system. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement agencies and regulator to safeguard Singapore’s reputation as an international financial centre.”

Director of the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), Mr David Chew, said:

“We take a serious view of criminals who manipulate the stock market, as their conduct undermines the integrity of Singapore’s capital markets. In order to protect the integrity of our capital markets, the authorities will vigorously pursue and prosecute criminals who manipulate or conspire with others to manipulate our capital markets.”

Assistant Managing Director, Policy Payments and Financial Crime, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Ms Loo Siew Yee, said:

“The elaborate scheme master-minded by the offenders to manipulate shares listed on SGX led to large losses by investors and harmed public confidence in the integrity of Singapore’s capital markets. The successful prosecution and stiff sentences leave no doubt as to the authorities’ resolve in acting against such misconduct. MAS will continue to work in partnership with AGC, CAD and the industry to effectively detect, deter and prosecute bad actors, with the objective of ensuring that our capital markets remain fair, orderly and transparent.”

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