Eagle Hospitality Trust's former and current directors arrested, out on bail

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - All six of Eagle Hospitality Trust's (EHT) former and current Singapore-based directors were arrested and released on bail on Oct 1 on "reasonable suspicion" over breaches of disclosure rules.

This follows from ongoing police investigations, first announced in June, over suspected breaches of disclosure requirements on Section 203 read with Section 331 of the Securities and Futures Act (Chapter 289) of Singapore, said the managers in a regulatory filing on Friday night (Oct 2).

EHT's former and current directors out on bail are Lau Chun Wah, Kelvin Peng, Tarun Kataria, Salvatore G Takoushian, Carl Gabriel Florian Stubbe and Ng Kheng Choo. Lau, Tan, Kataria and Takoushian continue to serve on EHT's board, according to its website.

The managers confirmed that the current directors have attended interviews with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to assist in the investigation. Former directors have also been, or will be, interviewed.

"EHT further understands that the investigations are still ongoing, and none of the aforementioned individuals have been charged for any offence nor do the arrests necessarily signify that there will be charges," said the managers. No further details can be provided at this time.

EHT's current directors will continue to serve on the boards amid "unprecedented levels" of stress and challenges, and will work through the restructuring process of EHT "as far as they are able to", said the managers.

Trading of EHT units was voluntarily suspended on March 24, 2020, after the manager defaulted on a loan of US$341 million (S$465 million).

Composed of a stapled group of Eagle Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust (EH-Reit) and Eagle Hospitality Business Trust (EH-BT), EHT posted a loss of US$38.9 million for the second quarter ended June 30.

On Sept 23, citing repeated defaults on rent payments, the trust's manager issued termination notices to the master lessees for all 18 US hotel properties making up EHT's portfolio.

Out of the 18 hotels, which include the docked luxury liner Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, only three remain in operation. The manager noted then that the seizure "may not necessarily lead to the successful rehabilitation of EHT".

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