Man gets 4 months' jail for manipulating Wilton Resources share price

SINGAPORE - The Singapore State Courts have sentenced Mok Piak Liang to four months' jail for artificially pushing up the share price of Wilton Resources Corp in 2014.

Mok pleaded guilty to four of 13 market misconduct charges under Section 197 of the Securities ad Futures Act. He agreed to have the remaining nine charges taken into account for sentencing.

According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), which jointly carried out the investigations, on 13 separate occasions between Sept 24 and Nov 27, 2014, Mok had purchased shares in Wilton Resources at the close of trading with the intent to alter its closing share prices.

Mok's purchases had the effect of artificially inflating Wilton's share price between 5.9 and 22.8 per cent from the previous traded price, the investigators said, adding that the purchases created a "false appearance" with respect to Wilton's share price.

Within the same time period, Mok had also pledged about 29.5 million Wilton shares in his name to margin facilities held with two financial institutions.

If Wilton's share price fell below the margin value, Mok would have needed to top up the level in his margin accounts within a specific timeline as determined by the financial institutions, the investigators said.

However, instead of paying the top-up payments, Mok chose to inflate Wilton's closing share prices.

Mr Lee Boon Ngiap, assistant managing director (capital markets) at the MAS, said the Authority takes a serious view on any form of false trading and manipulation.

"Such conduct disrupts genuine price discovery and undermines market integrity, and is prohibited under our securities laws," he added.

"MAS will not hesitate to take action against anyone who engages in such conduct."

This is the second conviction for market misconduct resulting from joint investigations between the MAS and CAD since the two agencies began collaborating on cases from March 2015.

Correction note: The article was edited to correct Mok Piak Liang's name. We are sorry for the error.