From Noble Group to Hyflux: MAS gives investigation updates on high-profile financial cases

MAS added updates on the proceedings of ongoing investigations into high-profile financial cases, such as Noble Group and Hyflux. PHOTOS: BLOOMBERG, ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in its latest Enforcement Report added a section to update the public on the proceedings of ongoing investigations into high-profile financial cases.

However, it said the details may not be complete as it balances the public's interest in obtaining information against the need to protect the integrity of investigations and any pending court proceedings.

Noble Group

In November 2018, the police's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) and MAS launched joint investigations into Noble Group for suspected disclosure-related offences, and its wholly owned subsidiary Noble Resources International for potential breaches of the Companies Act.

MAS said the investigations are at an advanced stage and the authorities aim to conclude them in the third quarter of this year.

The authorities have reviewed voluminous documentation from Noble and its subsidiary, and sought advice from industry experts. They have also sought the assistance of foreign regulators to obtain information from foreign-based individuals.

Hyflux

In June 2020, CAD, MAS and Acra launched joint investigations into Hyflux and its current and former directors for possible offences under the Securities and Futures Act, as well as non-compliance with accounting standards under the Companies Act.

The investigations stemmed from a review into Hyflux's disclosure, accounting and auditing issues concerning the Tuaspring Integrated Water and Power Project, as announced by Acra, MAS and Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) in April 2019.

The joint investigations include an extensive review of the announcements and financial statements issued by Hyflux from 2011 to 2018.

The authorities have sought advice from industry experts and are working closely with the Attorney-General's Chambers to review the evidence.

Eagle Hospitality Trust

In June 2020, MAS and CAD launched a joint investigation into Eagle Hospitality Trust (EHT) for possible offences under the Securities and Futures Act.

The investigation stemmed from a referral by SGX RegCo. This followed a review that was announced by MAS and SGX RegCo on April 20 of the same year into possible breaches of relevant laws and regulations as well as listing rules.

The authorities have seized relevant records and conducted interviews with persons acquainted with the case.

In October 2020, EHT's former and current Singapore-based directors were arrested and released on bail for suspected breaches of disclosure requirements.

In November 2020, MAS announced that it directed DBS Trustee, in its capacity as trustee of Eagle Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust, to remove Eagle Hospitality Reit Management as the manager of the trust and appoint a new manager as soon as practicable.

The authorities have also sought assistance from foreign authorities.

Eagle Hospitality Trust's portfolio includes Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites - Waterpark. PHOTO: EAGLE HOSPITALITY TRUST

Hui Xun Asset Management

In February 2021, CAD announced investigations into Envy Asset Management (EAM) and Envy Global Trading (EGT) for alleged fraud related to financing of trading activities in nickel.

Ng Yu Zhi, a director of EAM and EGT, was charged, inter alia, with cheating Envysion Wealth Management - now known as Hui Xun Asset Management (HXAM) - and its chief executive officer Shim Wai Han, as well as Mr Finian Tan, founder of Vickers Venture Partners (VVPS). Two funds managed by VVPS had also invested in the purported financing of trading activities in nickel.

MAS is looking into HXAM and VVPS to ascertain if there had been governance or risk management failures in their conduct of business.

MAS is reviewing documents obtained from HXAM and VVPS and has conducted interviews with persons acquainted with the case.

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