Singaporean duo charged over alleged links to cheating case totalling over US$340 million in loans from 8 banks

Ong Ah Huat (left) and Huang Peishi submitted fictitious sales contracts to eight banks to obtain financing. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Two former employees of a crude oil products supplier appeared in a district court on Friday (June 12) over their alleged links to a cheating case involving more than US$340 million (S$470 million) in loans.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran said that the offences led to US$9 million in losses.

Ong Ah Huat, 60, was the former chief finance officer of Coastal Oil Singapore, and Huang Peishi, 34, used to be a treasury manager at the firm.

Police said in a statement on Thursday that the two Singaporeans allegedly created fictitious sales contracts before submitting them to eight banks, in order to obtain financing between July 2017 and December 2018.

The banks included China Merchants Bank (CMB) and Standard Chartered Bank, Hong Kong.

Ong was handed 58 charges in all, including 44 counts of being part of a conspiracy to commit forgery for the purpose of cheating.

Huang faces a total of 63 charges for similar offences.

The pair are accused of committing the offences with Mr Tan Sing Hwa and Ms Carol Zong but their details were not disclosed in court documents.

The four of them are said to have worked together to cheat CMB in July 2017.

They allegedly forged documents to dupe the bank into believing that Coastal Oil had entered into a contract with a firm known as Sinfeng Marine Services to sell marine oil to the latter.

According to court documents, Sinfeng, which deals in fuel oil, then had to purportedly repay Coastal Oil on "credit payment term basis".

As a result, CMB was allegedly induced to issue more than $13 million in credit facilities to Coastal Oil.

The four alleged offenders are accused of using a similar method to commit more counts of cheating following this incident.

They are also accused of entering into an arrangement to deal with the benefits of their alleged criminal activities between July and November 2017.

During those months, cash totalling more than US$20 million was allegedly transferred from Coastal Oil's bank account with CMB Singapore to other bank accounts in Hong Kong.

On Friday, Ong was offered bail of $100,000 while Huang's bail was set at $50,000.

Huang's lawyer, Mr Lau Wen Jin, told the court that his client had not benefited from her alleged offences.

The lawyer also said that she played a minor role as compared to Ong.

Their cases have been adjourned to July 10.

For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

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