SINGAPORE - Lim Huey Ching, the daughter of former oil tycoon Lim Oon Kuin and an executive director of insolvent Hin Leong Trading for more than 20 years, has been charged with one count of obstructing the course of justice.
The second member of the Lim family to be charged, Lim Huey Ching was accused of instructing Mr Lim Chin, an IT manager at Hin Leong who is not related to the Lim family, on April 13, 2020, to delete IT records at a time when Hin Leong was facing probable civil proceedings or criminal investigations.
According to the charge sheets, she is accused of instructing Mr Lim Chin to ensure that "deleted items on Hin Leong's servers must not be recoverable, and that previous backups of information on Hin Leong's servers must be disposed of permanently".
Clad in a dark jacket and a white shirt, the bespectacled Lim Huey Ching appeared calm while in the dock as she was awaiting the outcome of proceedings on Wednesday (Aug 4).
Her bail was set at $50,000. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for Aug 30.
Deputy Public Prosecutor G. Kannan had asked for her bail to be set at between $70,000 and $80,000, saying "Lim is linked to Lim Oon Kuin", and that her offence of obstruction "revolves around instructions to delete IT records pertaining to the affairs of the company helmed by her father".
In June, the elder Lim was handed 105 additional charges of cheating and forgery. Together with the 25 forgery-related charges filed last year and in April this year, the 79-year-old former oil tycoon now faces a total of 130 charges involving US$2.7 billion (S$3.64 billion) in alleged fraudulent loans disbursed.
Singapore prosecutors disclosed that 16 banks in Singapore have suffered US$291.9 million in "actual monetary loss" out of the US$2.7 billion in loans that they were allegedly duped into extending to Hin Leong by the elder Lim. The losses are part of the alleged US$3.5 billion debt owed by Hin Leong to the 23 banks.
But Lim Huey Ching's lawyer Christopher Daniel of Advocatus Law argued that the $70,000 bail amount is too high.
In asking for bail to be set at $20,000, Mr Daniel said: "She is not a flight risk. She is based in Singapore, and her family is here... Her passport has been with the Commercial Affairs Department since April or May last year. Her bailor is going to be her mother."
In response to District Judge Terence Tay's question on Lim's flight risk, DPP Kannan said "her flight risk is low to moderate".
"She has multiple properties in Australia and is certainly a woman of means. Her bailor is her mother and her passport is seized, but that has not stopped determined persons in the past. There are ways to leave the country if that is what one wants to do," the DPP said.
But Mr Daniels said his client is not likely to abscond, as her means to do so have been curbed by court-ordered asset-freezing injunctions against her, her father and her brother.
Lim Oon Kuin, better known as O.K. Lim, and his two children were sued in September last year by judicial managers-turned-liquidators, Mr Goh Thien Phong and Mr Chan Kheng Tek, over US$3.5 billion, plus another US$90 million in dividends the Lims allegedly paid themselves even though the company was insolvent.
They accused Lim Oon Kuin, his son Evan Lim Chee Meng and daughter Lim Huey Ching, both executive directors for more than 20 years, of breach of fiduciary duties as directors and fraudulent trading.
They were accused of "deliberately concealing (Hin Leong's) losses and portraying it as a profitable company when in fact it was massively insolvent".
The alleged fraudulent activity included "the creation of fictitious gains to conceal accumulated trading and other losses, the forgery of documents, the manipulation of Hin Leong's accounts through irregular accounting entries, the overstatement of Hin Leong's inventory and the obtaining of financing through improper means".
As a result, they presented a "vastly misleading picture of its financial health to external parties and deceived its lenders into extending financing even though Hin Leong has been insolvent since the financial year ended Oct 31, 2012", Mr Goh said.
In addition, Ernst & Young, the judicial manager of Hin Leong shipping arm Ocean Tankers, also sued Lim Oon Kuin, his son and his daughter over US$19 million allegedly transferred from Ocean Tankers' bank account to the trio's bank accounts just days before the company filed for the debt moratorium.