SINGAPORE (Feb 18): Former abettor-turned-prosecution witness Ken Tai Chee Ming in court on Feb 18 alleged that Richard Teng, the former chief regulatory officer of the Singapore Exchange (SGX), was feeding information to penny stock crash mastermind John Soh Chee Wen.

At the time of the crash in October 2013, Teng was the deputy chief regulatory officer at SGX.

In January 2014, Teng was promoted to chief regulatory officer of the bourse – a position he held for just over a year before he took on his current role as CEO of Abu Dhabi Global Market’s (ADGM) Financial Services Regulatory Authority.

Under cross-examination by Philip Fong, the lawyer for Soh’s co-accused Quah Su-Ling, Tai alleged that Soh had claimed to have been receiving information from someone from the authorities during the time the market manipulators were being probed by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).

“According to John, he say he has someone in CAD that he knows, that tells him what was the development. So that was also the reason why, in December 2013 onward, we get constant update what was the development,” Tai said.

“We were told that the CAD were looking at three aspect of this case: was there any money-laundering involved? Who pushed up the share price? And who shorten it down?” he added.

When pressed by Fong on the identity of this person who was feeding Soh with such information, Tai claimed that Soh had named Teng.

“I'm not the only one that knows about this,” Tai said, adding that another former broker, Gabriel Gan, also knew about this.

“The code that we use for Richard Teng was ‘RT’,” Tai added.

Later in the trial, Soh’s lawyer senior counsel N Sreenivasan raised doubt over Tai’s allegations.

The defence counsel reasoned that if Tai had told CAD about Teng, as he had claimed, the authorities would have followed up on it.

“Mr Tai, John Soh never told you that Richard Teng was his source or giving him information. Agree or disagree?” Sreenivasan asked.

“I disagree,” Tai replied.

“Your Honour, I'm putting it as a matter of [Tai’s] credibility, that nobody believed him when he made such a far-fetched allegation,” Sreenivasan told the court.

In response to the allegation regarding its former chief regulatory officer, an SGX spokesperson on Feb 19 said: “The matter is before the court and a trial is ongoing. As such, SGX is unable to comment except to reiterate our continued support of the authorities and our cooperation with them since the time when investigations began.”

The Edge Singapore has also reached out to ADGM for comment.

The trial resumes on Wednesday.


What the 2013 Penny Stock Crash trial is about

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.

Subscribers can click here to read our 8-page special pullout on the penny stock crash trial.

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First tranche of witnesses (March 11, 2019 to May 24, 2019)