S'porean penalised $336k for insider trading on London bourse

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said yesterday it has imposed a civil penalty of $336,000 on Singaporean Raphael Tham Wai Mun for insider trading in the shares of Auhua Clean Energy (ACE), which is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Mr Tham, who was non-executive vice-chairman of ACE, has admitted to contravening the Securities and Futures Act, and has paid MAS the penalty without court action.

The penalty represented 2.5 times the losses that Mr Tham had avoided from the sale of his shares.

He has also given the MAS a voluntary undertaking not to be a company director, or to be involved in the management of a company, for two years with effect from today.

Mr Tham is believed to have worked at the Economic Development Board for several years. He was also the former executive director of mainboard-listed USP Group, which has been placed on the Singapore Exchange's watch list.

ACE is a Shandong-based environmental technology group specialising in the development of energy-efficient water heating solutions. It provides split solar-powered water heating systems, storage tanks and solar energy collector panels under the Weiliya and Jinbiao brand names.

In a press statement yesterday, the MAS said Mr Tham had sold shares in ACE while in possession of "non-public and price-sensitive information" about the company.

On June 16, 2015, ACE announced that it was considering a share placement at a substantial price discount to raise about £1.5 million (S$2.6 million). Following the announcement, the price of ACE shares fell by 45 per cent to close at 7.75 pence.

Three days later, the company announced that it had placed out 38 million shares, representing 30 per cent of the enlarged share capital, to raise about £1.7 million at 4.5 pence per share. The placement price represented a 44 per cent discount from the counter's closing price on the previous day.

After the second announcement, the price of ACE shares fell by another 30 per cent to close at 5.625 pence.

The MAS said that Mr Tham, who was based in Singapore at the time, had used an investment holding company, Foxtrox Holdings, to sell 569,745 ACE shares on June 12, 2015, while he was in possession of the non-public and price-sensitive information concerning the share placement.

Mr Tham also held authority over Foxtrox's trading account when the trades took place. The share sale allowed Foxtrox and Mr Tham to avoid a loss of £76,203, or $134,186, the MAS said.

The MAS added that it was referred to the case by the Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom, which assisted in the investigation.

Correction note: This article has been edited for clarity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2019, with the headline 'S'porean fined $336k for insider trading on London bourse'. Print Edition | Subscribe