Eatery owner accused of securities offences

A restaurateur was charged in court yesterday with market rigging and other securities offences relating to troubled mainboard-listed dye maker China Fibretech.

Bruno Ludovic Soligny, 39, a naturalised Singapore citizen, faces a total of 19 charges under the Securities and Futures Act.

He is accused of carrying out more than 3,800 false trades involving 16.6 million shares of the company between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2015, to create "a misleading appearance of active trading".

The trades, described in court documents as reckless, did not involve any change in beneficial ownership of the shares.

Soligny also faces three charges of carrying out trades to lower the share price of China Fibretech on July 1, 7 and 8 in 2015.

Another four charges said he engaged in false trades on July 16, July 22, Aug 31 and Sept 14 in 2015, and these actions inflated the company's market price.

Between July 1, 2013 and Sept 30, 2015, he is said to have used three share trading accounts held by a Linda Na Ching Ching to trade in China Fibretech shares. Court documents did not state his relationship with the account-holder.

He is accused of deceiving UOB Kay Hian, Maybank Kim Eng Securities and KGI Fraser Securities by using these accounts without consent from the securities firms.

Soligny, who became a substantial shareholder of China Fibretech on Oct 24, 2014, also faces eight charges for breaching his duty to notify the company in writing of the extent and changes in his interests.

On Oct 29, 2014, he allegedly failed to notify the company of particulars of the voting shares in which he had an interest.

On seven occasions between March 24 and July 21, 2015, he allegedly failed to notify the firm of the change in the proportion of his interests in the voting shares.

His lawyer is Mr Hamidul Haq of Rajah & Tann and his case will be mentioned in court again on Feb 1.

If convicted of market rigging and deceiving the securities firms, he can be fined up to $250,000, jailed for up to seven years, or both. If convicted of breaching his duty of disclosure, he faces a maximum fine of $25,000 on each charge.

Trading in China Fibretech has been suspended since November 2015. Last March, the Singapore stock exchange filed complaints with the Chinese authorities against the company's executive chairman and chief executive officer Wu Xinhua for alleged involvement in the company's unauthorised transactions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2018, with the headline 'Eatery owner accused of securities offences'. Print Edition | Subscribe