SINGAPORE (Aug 2): John Soh Chee Wen remains under remand, even as his lawyers on Wednesday say the prosecution has hampered their client from getting a fair shot at receiving bail by selectively putting forward information.

The Malaysian businessman is the alleged mastermind behind the penny stock saga of 2013. He has already been held in remand for nine months, after having been denied bail earlier.

Soh appeared in court today as part of the criminal motion filed by his lawyers to help determine if he can be granted bail.

The hearing was presided over by Judge See Kee Oon, who will make his decision on Aug 8.

Soh was arrested on Nov 24 last year, along with former IPCO International CEO Quah Su Ling and Goh Hin Calm.

The trio are alleged to have manipulated three penny stocks – LionGold Corp, Blumont Group, and Asiasons Capital (since then renamed Attilan) – back in 2013.

The meteoric surge in prices of these three stocks came to a spectacular halt in October that year, when hitherto unexplained reasons caused these three stocks to crash, vapourising $8 billion worth in market value.

Quah and Goh are currently out on bail of $4 million and $750,000, respectively.

Soh faces 188 charges, while his alleged girlfriend Quah faces 178 charges as his fellow mastermind.

Besides using the trading accounts of other individuals to manipulate share prices, they are also charged with cheating Goldman Sachs International and Interactive Brokers LLC of more than $180 million.

Goh, the former interim CEO of IPCO International, faces six charges. He is alleged to have functioned as “treasurer” in the masterminds’ scheme.

Leading Soh’s defence on Wednesday was WongPartnership’s deputy chairman Tan Chee Meng, who told the court that his client’s words were taken in the wrong context as a result of the putting forward of selective information by the prosecution.

For example, Soh was described by prosecutors as having the means to move in and out of Singapore, even though his passport has been impounded since January 2016. Prosecutors say Soh had stayed put because he had not realised the magnitude of the allegations against him.

The prosecution has earlier cited audio recordings of a series of conversation between Soh and one Gabriel Gan as one of the reasons why Soh shouldn’t be given bail.

Gan came into the picture only after Soh was taken in on November 24. That very day, shares of ISR Capital crashed by more than half. When authorities probed the crash, they discovered Gan’s association with Soh.

Yet, Tan pointed out that Soh was recorded as telling Gan that he expects charges and possibly jail sentences.

“This goes directly against what the prosecution had attempted to portray by presenting only selective extracts to the court,” says Tan. “The prosecutors have conflated my client’s belief in innocence with complacency.”

Tan says his defence has also been hampered by incomplete access to these recordings.

In addition, the defence asked for statements given by two other individuals: Peter Chen, LionGold’s former director of business and corporate development; and Ken Tai, known to be CEO of Algo Capital.

The prosecution, represented by senior state counsel Peter Koy, called for Soh’s lawyers to be more specific on the additional information they should be given access to.

"He is asking us to open our cupboards in the hope that he will get something,” says Koy, adding that such a “fishing expedition” ought to be dismissed.