SINGAPORE - Embattled oil tycoon Lim Oon Kuin was hit on Friday (Sept 25) with a second charge of abetment of forgery for the purpose of cheating.
Better known as O.K. Lim, the 78-year-old founder of Hin Leong Trading was not allowed into the State Courts due to a respiratory problem. The second charge against him was read in Mandarin to him outside the court. His $3 million bail was also extended.
Lim was earlier charged last month with one count of abetment of forgery for the purpose of cheating. The offence carries a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine.
Responding to District Judge Christopher Goh's query, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Navin Naidu told the court that there could be additional charges brought against Lim.
The next mention in court will take place on Nov 23 at 3pm.
Charge sheets filed in the State Courts on Friday alleged that Lim "instigated" Mr Freddy Tan Jie Ren, a contracts executive of Hin Leong, to forge a false electronic record. Lim was accused of instructing Mr Tan to write an e-mail with the subject header "CAO - Sale of gasoil 10PPM sulphur", which was purportedly sent from Hin Leong to China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corporation on Feb 26 at 4.41pm. The e-mail message was allegedly intended to be used for the purpose of cheating.
In the first charge, Lim was accused of "instigating" Mr Tan to forge a document purportedly issued by UT Singapore Services. Lim allegedly instructed Mr Tan to make an ITT certificate or inter-tank transfer certificate using the letterhead of UT Singapore Services. The document stated that Hin Leong had transferred 1.05 million barrels of gasoil to China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corporation on March 18.
The document was then allegedly used to secure more than US$56 million (S$77 million) in trade financing from a financial institution, the police said.
Yesterday's charge follows investigations into Hin Leong by the Commercial Affairs Department, the white-collar crime unit of the Singapore police. Investigations continue into other offences allegedly committed by Lim.
Three companies related to the Lim family have been brought under interim judicial management. They are Hin Leong and its shipping arm Ocean Tankers, and Xihe Holdings, which is owned by Lim and his son, Mr Evan Lim Chee Meng.
Hin Leong and Ocean Tankers had initially sought a six-month moratorium on debts of more than US$3.6 billion to 23 banks, but have since withdrawn this application.
Hin Leong's troubles escalated following a probe by the police and increased scrutiny by several regulators.
This came after the elder Mr Lim said the firm hid about US$800 million in losses incurred from futures trading over the years on his instructions. Hin Leong sold a substantial part of the inventory it had used as collateral to secure loans from its banks, according to filings.