SINGAPORE (Jan 8): Prosecution witness Ken Tai Chee Ming conceded in court on Wednesday that John Soh Chee Wen, the alleged mastermind behind the 2013 penny stock crash, did not explicitly tell him to lie to the Commercial Affairs Department.

According to Tai, he had gone with Husein Tjoa to see Soh, when they heard that CAD had launched an investigation into the stock market crash of Oct 4, 2013.

Tai had earlier claimed in his conditioned statement that Soh had told him to “sing to the tune”.

Soh’s defence lawyer, senior counsel N Sreenivasan of K&L Gates Straits Law, on Wednesday cross-examined Tai on this incident of alleged witness tampering.

When they then asked Soh what kind of reasons they should give to the authorities, Tai claims that Soh had told them: “Just say that you have authority to trade. You have the discretion to trade, or you push it to the Malaysians.”

“Did John use words like ‘lie to the CAD’?” Sreenivasan asked. “Did he say ‘mislead the CAD’?”

To both questions, Tai admitted that Soh had not told him to do so.

“Did he tell you to cover up for Dick Gwee?” Sreenivasan continued. “Did he tell you to make up stories about the butterfinger trades?”

Again, Tai answered “no” to both questions.

“All the lies that you have been telling are lies that John Soh did not instigate,” Sreenivasan suggested.

“He asked me to exclude him,” Tai insisted.

Sreenivasan also put to Tai that, according to Tjoa’s statement, this incident had occurred in October 2013 at the Shangri-La, rather than the LionGold Office in December 2013 as Tai described.

He then challenged Tai that either one of them had gotten it wrong, or both of them did.

While Tai agreed that one of them might have gotten it wrong, he said it was “possible but unlikely” that both had gotten it wrong. “John even briefed us what is the reason why CAD was investigating us,” he added.

“From what we have heard in the court in the last four days, you have been guilty of market manipulation yourself,” observed Sreenivasan.

Sreenivasan in court on Wednesday also confirmed that there will be a formal impeachment of Tai as a witness.

The trial will resume on Thursday with Sreenivasan wrapping up his cross-examination of Tai, before Quah Su-Ling’s defence counsel, Phillip Fong of Eversheds Harry Elias, begins his cross-examination.

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:

Third tranche of witnesses (From Jan 2, 2020)

Second tranche of witnesses (Oct 1, 2019 to Oct 31, 2019)

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