A female employee has delayed an investigation into dubious payments to the former boss of Chinese shipbuilder JES International by "absconding" with the company's books.
JES International has begun legal proceedings in China against the woman, administrative officer Ju Li Li, to recover the documents.
After Mr Jin Xin, the group's former chief executive and chairman, resigned in March, Ms Ju "absconded" with the group's administration records and seals of all its Chinese subsidiaries, JES told the Singapore Exchange last night.
JES, now helmed by Mr Jin's daughter, Ms Audrey Jin Yu, said it had intended to investigate its financials after uncovering possible irregularities during a periodic review. These included "questionable transactions" between the group and companies in which Mr Jin's interests were not declared, JES said.
But "the financial records of the group, including account books, chequebooks and financial seals, had been removed... by relatives of Mr Jin", JES said in its filing.
Mr Jin, who resigned from his post as executive director due to "health issues" on May 25, is not the only one to have quit.
On May 15, JES appealed to the Singapore bourse to extend its deadline for announcing first-quarter earnings, citing "a severe shortage of manpower" after half of its finance department resigned.
JES assured shareholders yesterday that if the books are recovered and Mr Jin is found at fault, "necessary action" would be taken. Trading of JES shares has been suspended since March 4. The shares last traded at 2.6 Singapore cents.