SINGAPORE (May 20): As the trial of the alleged masterminds of the 2013 penny stock crash enters its fourth week, witnesses have admitted to lying in their statements to the police, confessed to ignorance and “imprudent” actions and agreed with suggestions that perhaps the regulators themselves may have caused the crash.

On May 13, a representative from Lim & Tan Securities admitted that “on hindsight”, restrictions imposed by the Singapore Exchange on Blumont Group, Asiasons Capital (now Attilan Group) and LionGold Group — collectively known as BAL stocks — could have caused the crash.

Esther Seet, the brokerage’s executive director, agreed with senior counsel N Sreenivasan that an SGX designation — which was imposed on the BAL stocks on Oct 6, 2013 — would cause severe downward pressure on their price. “Logically, any imposition of trading restrictions would definitely affect the market, because a restriction is quite negative,” she said.

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