SINGAPORE (Mar 25): Day One of the trial of the 2013 penny stock-rigging case saw Goh Hin Calm named as a prosecution witness.

This comes after Goh on March 20 pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting John Soh Chee Wen, alleged mastermind behind the manipulation of the three stocks -- Asiasons (now known as Attilan Capital), Blumont and LionGold -- and his supposed co-conspirator, Quah Su Ling.

Described by authorities as the pair’s former “treasurer”, Goh -- who was sentenced to three years’ jail -- will now testify against Soh and Quah.

After the prosecution submitted new evidence, including statements from Goh, Soh's defence counsel, N. Sreenivasan, called for the trial to be adjourned for a day, after the prosecution submitted new evidence, including statements from Goh.

“[The statements] were not given when Goh's Hin Calm was a co-accused. But now that he's a prosecution witness, they are given. Frankly, it shouldn't make a difference,” Sreenivasan argued, claiming the statements “would have assisted us whether he was a co-accused or whether he was a prosecution witness.”

Sreenivasan's reference to Goh as now a prosecution witness was not denied by the prosecution.

During Monday's session, it was also revealed that Goh had given 33 statements to the authorities, which came up to 492 pages. The statements were sent to the defence counsels for Soh and Quah on the evening of March 22.

Further, it was revealed that statements from Dick Gwee Yow Pin were also sent to the defence counsels on the same day.

Gwee had given more than four statements to the Commercial Affairs Department. Four of these were provided to the defence counsels – three in April 2014, and one in May 2015 – as part of the prosecution's disclosure requirements.

However, Quah’s counsel, Philip Fong, a managing partner at Eversheds Harry Elias, pointed out that the statements given to the defence had missing gaps. Specifically, questions 119 to 241 and 290 to 384 were missing from Gwee’s statements.

Sreenivasan, who is managing director and senior counsel at Straits Law, has yet to file a motion to request for Gwee’s full statement. 

The prosecution, led by deputy public prosecutor Peter Koy, postulates that Soh and Quah manipulated the shares of the three counters using 189 controlled accounts in various names and entities.

The modus operandi was also outlined at trial, with Koy describing how Soh or Quah gave trade instructions to various trading representatives through telephone calls or text messages to trade in shares in the three companies at a certain price.

To strengthen their case, the prosecution will be calling witnesses such as Peter Chen Hing Woon, Leroy Lau Chee Heong and Ken Tai Chee Ming.

Chen is LionGold’s former director of business and corporate development, and a known close associate of Soh and Quah, while Lau and Tai were brokers who helped the pair in their trading activities.

It was also revealed in court that some witnesses might be hostile to the prosecution as well.

The prosecution also introduced new evidence along with the statements to the defence on March 22.

They added a LionGold meeting room telephone number, as well as two Internet trading accounts, into the original data set analysed by the Government Technology Agency.

The original data set also had an issue with dates “8/5” read as Aug 5 instead of May 8. This was discovered after the new number and accounts were analysed.

In light of the new evidence and statements, the defence counsels filed for motions to adjourn for a day to prepare and take instructions from their clients, particularly Soh, who has been in remand since his arrest on Nov 26, 2016.

Justice Hoo Sheau Peng granted the adjournment of the trial for a day. The trial resumes on Wednesday.

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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