Two Malaysians, John Soh Chee Wen and Quah Su-Ling have been convicted of 180 and 169 charges, respectively, for their role in the 2013 penny stock crash in Singapore.
According to The Edge Singapore, the former MCA star Soh and his girlfriend were found guilty of several of the charges ranging from forced trading and price manipulation to deception.
As Singapore’s High Court judge Hoo Sheau Peng read out her verdict on Thursday (5 May), she told a full court that the “participation in criminal conspiracy itself is an offence”.
Hoo then convicted Soh of 180 charges of the 188 he was facing, while Quah was found guilty of 169 of 178 charges she faced.
They were each acquitted, however, of eight charges in addition to the one they beat at the end of the prosecution’s case.
The Edge Singapore described them as “long-term partners in both business and personal affairs” and had been on trial for orchestrating the manipulation of three penny stocks back in 2013 which crashed spectacularly in the end.
The saga was described as Singapore’s largest-ever case of share manipulation and involved 189 securities trading accounts held with 20 financial institutions and 60 individuals and companies.
The duo conspired to manipulate the shares of Blumont Group, Asiasons Capital and LionGold Corp — collectively known as BAL — with help from a network of associates and brokers between 2012 and 2013.
When BAL shares collapsed on 4 October 2013, some US$8 billion (≈RM25.3 billion) in market value were destroyed.
The case involved several local and foreign financial institutions, ranging from small brokerages to global banks.
Blumont has since been renamed Southern Archipelago, Asiasons was first named Attilan Group before it was delisted, while LionGold has been renamed Shen Yao Holdings under new shareholders and management.
The trial began on 25 March 2019 and concluded after 194 hearing days on 30 June 2021.
Hoo previously denied the defence counsels’ application for either a permanent, or conditional stay of proceedings back in Aug 2020.
Several prosecution who testified during the trial agreed to having received instructions on trades to make from either Soh or Quah.
Soh had once been a protégé of then-MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik but fell out with the latter and the latter’s son over business dealings that went sour.