SINGAPORE (Apr 23): In Day Six of the trial of John Soh Chee Wen, the defence wrapped up their cross examination of the prosecution’s first witness, former OCBC Securities remisier Ng Kit Kiat.

Ng had on Monday admitted to having performed trades without third-party authorisation.

The trades performed without third-party authorisation included those based on orders given by a certain Ang Cheau Hoon Alice and Kent Eng Peng Huat, both of whom are remisiers at UOB Kay Hian, for accounts held by Ang's husband Poh Sian Hong as well as Eng's wife Yew Yong Mei.

When asked by Soh’s defence counsel Senior Counsel N Sreenivasan why he had only revealed he the trades done without third-party authorisation on the orders of Soh and Quah Su-Ling, Ng said, “Nobody asked me,” before adding, “I only answered the questions on the topics that CAD (Commercial Affairs Department) asked me.”

Ng also disagreed with the allegation by Quah’s defence counsel Phillip Fong that he and Ang had engaged in “layering” where a trader makes and then cancels orders in hopes of influencing the stock price.

Fong said, “You been a trader for over 40 years, surely you must know what’s going on.”

Ng replied, “I simply take orders, asking clients if they are keen to buy, keen to sell, or withdraw.”

Fong then put it to Ng that he was “trying to hide (his) own market misconducts by telling the CAD what they wanted to hear”.

“You are insistent on distancing yourself from John Soh and Quah Su-Ling to in hopes of hiding your acts,” said Fong.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Peter Koy then took over, addressing allegations made by the defence that Ng had received coaching from an investigating officer at CAD when giving his statements, particularly on the nature of the instructions he had received from Soh and Quah.

Koy reviewed the names of the officers who had interviewed Ng and asked if Clarence Chew – the officer who had taken most of Ng’s statements – had persuaded him to answer in the way he did.

Ng refuted this saying, “It is not the IO (investigating officer) who convinced me, it is my conclusion.”

Ng also said that he his departure from OCBC Securities was not sanctioned by the Monetary Authority of Singapore but because he “wanted to call it a day”.

Next to take the stand for the day was the prosecution’s second witness Alex Chew Keng Chiow, a dealer at RHB Securities.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Toh Guan Siew first read out his conditional statement emphasising the trades Chew had made under the accounts of four individuals – Goh Hin Calm, former IPCO International interim chief executive who had pleaded guilty to his role in rigging the stocks, Huang Phuet Mui, James Hong Gee Ho and Edwin Sugiarto.

See also: Two stock market manipulation precedents invoked as prosecutors call for 3-year sentence for Goh Hin Calm

Chew said he took over these accounts from a former colleague Ken Tai Chee Ming in October 2011, and was told to take instructions on trade deals from Quah. He, like Ng, admitted to performing these trades without obtaining an official third party authorisation.

Toh then went on to ask Chew on the trades he had made under the four accounts – which account what trade was made under as well as the volume and price of each trade.

Chew responded saying he made the trades under any of the four accounts that had sufficient trading limit, “unless otherwise requested by John or Su-Ling”.

Chew also became emotional when Toh read out a statement by the witness admitting he only told the whole truth in his third statement to CAD.

“In my first statement which I gave in the afternoon, I did not tell the truth that it was in fact ‘Su Ling’ and ‘John’ who placed the orders, as I was afraid that I would get implicated in the case,” Chew said in his statement.

Fighting back tears, Chew went on to add that he had a change of heart during the dinner break after recording his first statement.

“During this time, as I am Christian, I prayed about my fears. I eventually felt that I should the truth to the CAD. As such, when the CAD officer returned in the evening to record my second statement, I told her the truth. Since then, I have fully cooperated with the CAD,” he said.

Asked at what time did he realise he had withheld some information in the second statement, Chew replied this was when he was shown the statement a few weeks ago, although he could not remember exactly when.

The trial is adjourned to Wednesday morning where Chew will be cross examined by the defence counsels.

2013 Penny Stock Crash

John Soh Chee Wen is the alleged mastermind behind the penny stock crash of 2013, which prosecutors have called “the most audacious, extensive and injurious market manipulation scheme ever in Singapore”.

Together with his alleged co-conspirator and girlfriend Quah Su-Ling, Soh and his associates are alleged to have been behind the massive rise and sudden collapse of shares in Blumont Group, LionGold Corp and Asiasons Capital (now Attilan Group), which wiped out some $8 billion in market value.

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