Already buffeted by ferocious storms from the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore’s financial landscape was thrown into further disarray in April following a financial scandal at leading oil trader firm Hin Leong Group. Its founder, Lim Oon Kuin, was found to have hidden US$800 million ($1.11 billion) worth of losses, selling inventories to multiple parties and using the same cargo to obtain financing from different banks. 

In the words of interim judicial managers Goh Thien Phong and Chan Kheng Tek of PwC Advisory Services, Hin Leong fabricated documents on a “massive scale”, and this has allegedly been going on for some years. 

This scandal has threatened Singapore’s “squeaky-clean” reputation for financial integrity and robust regulation. A slew of other commodity traders, ranging from ZenRock, Agritrade International and Noble Group are also in trouble of one kind or another, undermining Singapore’s status as a trading and financial hub. 

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