Hin Leong's judicial managers seek to freeze O.K. Lim's family assets

Lim Oon Kuin, founder of oil trader Hin Leong Trading.
Lim Oon Kuin, founder of oil trader Hin Leong Trading.PHOTO: ST FILE

Hin Leong Trading, under judicial managers from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), has made an application to freeze assets, shares and funds held by its founder Lim Oon Kuin and his two children as efforts to recoup US$3.5 billion (S$4.61 billion) of debt from the collapsed oil trader continue.

PwC is seeking to block the sale of any private properties and removal of assets from Singapore, among other measures, court filings show.

The application was motivated by a real risk of asset dissipation, even as its judicial managers made progress with the sale of assets such as Universal Terminal.

More than 20 banks are fighting to recover billions of dollars in loans to the trader after wrong-way bets on Covid-19's impact on oil prices unfurled hidden losses and alleged frauds.

The fallout is still reverberating across global markets, prompting financial institutions to reassess their exposure and shaking out large tracts of the often opaque US$4 trillion oil trading industry.

The application to the High Court of Singapore was filed early last month. The court has requested the Lim family to file its response to the application by next Wednesday, documents show.

The hearing is fixed for March 4.

Hin Leong Trading's judicial managers declined to comment.

Calls and an e-mail to Davinder Singh Chambers, which represents Lim Oon Kuin, or O.K. Lim, went unanswered. Separately, no one responded to an e-mail sent to the Lim family seeking comment.

The family assets highlighted by Hin Leong Trading include properties, cash and investments, insurance policies, shares and club memberships, according to the filings.

Lim and his children may remove any of the assets from Singapore, or dispose of or deal with the assets, so long as the total unencumbered value of his assets still in the country remains no less than US$3.5 billion.

Separately, the Singapore court received winding-up applications for several businesses owned by the Lim family, according to government notices.

An application to wind up Hin Leong Marine International, a lubricant oil-blending unit, was filed by Lim and his son Evan, a document showed.

Another application for the winding up of eight shipping entities under Xihe Holdings, also owned by the Lim family, was also seen.

Hin Leong's creditors are scheduled to hold a meeting next Wednesday.

Its judicial managers are set to provide updates on the company's status and seek approval for fees and costs, according to another notice in the Singapore Government Gazette.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2021, with the headline 'Hin Leong's judicial managers seek to freeze O.K. Lim's family assets'. Print Edition | Subscribe