Trial to proceed on 2013 penny stock crash case: High Court rules

File photo showing Malaysian businessman John Soh Chee Wen at the High Court, on Jan 27, 2016. He and two others were implicated in the infamous 2013 penny stock crash.
File photo showing Malaysian businessman John Soh Chee Wen at the High Court, on Jan 27, 2016. He and two others were implicated in the infamous 2013 penny stock crash.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - The trial of Malaysian businessman John Soh Chee Wen and two others implicated in the infamous 2013 penny stock crash will proceed, the High Court has ruled on Friday (June 1).

Assistant Registrar James Elisha Lee Han Leong said there are "sufficient grounds to commit the accused persons for trial before the High Court".

This was after a three day committal hearing, which started on Wednesday, to determine if there is sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial.

Of a total of 67 witnesses named by prosecution, 13 took the stand over the course of the committal hearing.

They included the prosecution's expert witness Professor Michael Aitken who gave evidence that some 189 accounts alleged to be controlled by Soh and former Ipcochief executive Quah Su Ling were "engaged in an extraordinarily high level of wash trading among the controlled accounts".

"The controlled accounts were trading with themselves and dominated the trading activity in the shares, thereby generating artificial liquidity and driving the prices of the shares," the prosecution team said in its opening address.

Soh and Quah are accused of manipulating the stock prices of Blumont Group, Asiasons Capital (now Attilan Group) and LionGold Group. Goh Hin Calm, who resigned in March from his role as interim CEO of Ipco, is accused of being an accomplice. Quah and Goh are out on bail, while Soh remains in remand.

Soh faces a total of 189 charges related to the events of October 2013 when the share prices of Blumont, Asiasons and LionGold crashed, triggering massive selloffs in penny stocks and wiping out $8 billion from the stock market.