SINGAPORE (Oct 29): Adeline Cheng Jo-Ee, the ex-girlfriend of alleged 2013 penny stock crash mastermind John Soh Chee Wen, would often take “extreme actions” against people she dislikes or felt betrayed her, prosecution witness Ivy Tan Ai Bee reveal in court on Tuesday.

“[Cheng] always threatened to give people legal letters,” Tan said under cross-examination by Philip Fong, managing director of Eversheds Harry Elias. Fong is the lawyer for Quah Su-Ling, Soh’s alleged co-conspirator and romantic partner.

Tan, who earlier admitted to being Cheng’s “personal assistant cum general manager” at Alethia Asset Management, said she had left the company on bad terms with Cheng.

According to Fong, Cheng had made false allegations against Tan, such as resigning without notice. She had also made these allegations to the police, Fong said.

Cheng had even sent a lawyer letter to Tan for the alleged breach of her terms of employment.

Tan also revealed that Cheng was jealous of Quah’s relationship with Soh, and had followed him secretly to the airport to see who he was meeting.

Cheng also secretly read Soh’s emails, and booked a room in the same hotel Quah was staying at to see if Soh was there.

Upon questioning by Fong, Tan also said she suspected that Cheng had forged her father’s signature. However, she added that she had no proof of this.

Tan had earlier testified that she was given authority to place orders in the trading accounts of Alethia, as well as those under Alethia Elite, a company owned by Cheng’s father, Cheng Wah.

In the prosecution’s re-examination, Tan revealed that Cheng had brought her to see a lawyer, PK Wong, and was told the reasons why Tan’s name had to be on the capital market services license.

Having had to submit her curriculum vitae to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Tan said she thought she was “fit and proper”, since she had banking and sectorial experience.

“I can’t remember”

Later on Tuesday, another prosecution witness, former Philips Securities remisier Joe Tiong Sing Fatt, was called to the stand.

Tiong had handled the accounts of Chong Kwan Lian and Ooi Kwee Seah, which have been identified as allegedly controlled by Soh and Quah.

However, compared as the other prosecution witnesses, Tiong was not as forthcoming in his replies.

In response to questions from deputy public prosecutor Nicholas Tan, Tiong often answered with “I can’t remember” and “I’m not sure.”

Tiong revealed that he had been introduced to Soh while looking for a job. Soh had given him a job as a director of Dongshan Group, which was formerly the listed Greatronics Group.

When questioned by Tan on why Soh would offer him such a job, Tiong put it down to Soh needing a Singaporean, and not being bankrupt.

“I have a degree, [and] I have been in the stockbroking industry for a number of years,” Tiong said, adding that he had “experience in finance”.

“When I joined, Dongshan was a shell with many shareholders, and looking for a new business and structure,” he said.

However, it was later revealed that Tiong had incurred a debt of $360,000 to Phillip Securities from the accounts of Chong and Ooi.

Tiong said he could not pay off the debt, and was considering declaring bankruptcy as well.

Tiong also gave contradictory statements on the stand.

When asked about who he recognised at a meeting at LionGold, Tiong said he only recognised Soh and Wong Xu Yue, another broker at Maybank Kim Eng, who brought him to the meeting.

However, when Tiong was later questioned about where he saw Quah, he said he recognised her at the same LionGold meeting.

While Tiong feigned ignorance about the level of contributions of Chong and Ooi’s trades to his commissions, he did acknowledge that the two accounts were his top two clients. Tiong claimed that Chong and Ooi’s accounts made up for about half of his commissions.

However, DPP Tan revealed that Chong alone accounted for 60% of the commissions, and the two accounts combined accounted for 90% of Tiong’s commissions.

Tiong also seemed to not have looked up details of Chong and Ooi before taking them on as new clients. He did not know either of their incomes, or even what contact numbers they had listed on their account opening forms.

When Tiong was contacted by a lady with a Malaysian number who claimed to be Chong, he initially did the verification checks. Tiong also asked for Ooi to be put on the line to verify his identity before placing the orders.

However, Tiong claims that he got subsequently lazy and allowed the woman to place the orders on Ooi’s account as well.

According to Tan, Tiong’s commissions before taking over Chong and Ooi’s accounts were practically zero. “You were basically a struggling remisier before Quah introduced these two clients to you,” Tan said.

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.

Don’t miss out on these highlights in the penny stock saga so far:

Second tranche of witnesses (starting Oct 1, 2019)

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