oBike Singapore transferred $10m collected here to HK: Liquidators

Discarded oBikes are seen at a recycling firm in Tuas on July 14, 2018.
Discarded oBikes are seen at a recycling firm in Tuas on July 14, 2018.PHOTO: LIN ZHAOWEI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

oBike Singapore allegedly transferred about $10 million collected from users here to its Hong Kong operations, the company's liquidators revealed yesterday.

The pre-payment, purportedly for the supply of bicycles, has not been returned, and letters of demand will be issued to oBike Hong Kong and founder Shi Yi regarding this, liquidators FTI Consulting said.

Its meeting at Shaw Tower yesterday was attended by more than 30 creditors, including oBike users with unrefunded deposits and companies which were owed money.

The majority of creditors voted to confirm the appointment of FTI Consulting's Mr Joshua James Taylor and Mr Yit Chee Wah as the liquidators for oBike.

Mr Taylor, who is FTI Consulting's senior managing director, told reporters following the meeting: "What we have found... is that the deposit holders' money came into the Singapore bank account, and thereafter was transferred to oBike Hong Kong."

oBike Hong Kong separately then provided a loan to oBike Singapore, he added.

"What we have seen in the accounts and what they have done is netted off the two amounts to say nothing's owed," he alleged.

Mr Taylor said this was "not appropriate", and FTI Consulting will be looking at unwinding this transaction to show that money is owed to oBike Singapore and has to be paid back.

In total, oBike Singapore collected $11.7 million from users here, including deposits to rent the bicycles and usage fees.

Besides the $10 million transferred to Hong Kong, the remaining $1.7 million was used to refund customer deposits and for other operational expenses, Mr Taylor added.

The Chinese-founded oBike ceased operations abruptly in June.

As of Aug 1, oBike users had filed claims of around $350,000 with FTI Consulting, according to a participant who attended the meeting.

More than $739,000 worth of claims against oBike have been filed by companies and organisations, such as vendors who provided bike collection and redistribution services.

The owner of one such logistic firm, who identified himself only as Mr Ong, said of the meeting: "It is a standard procedure we are going through. I am not optimistic (of the outcome) unless the Government steps in and investigates... Otherwise, oBike will just go down as a failed business."

Mr Ong said oBike stopped paying his company in April, and would only say that the money owed is in the "five figure" range.

Two other logistic firms present, which declined to be named, said they were each owed a sum in the six figures.

During the meeting, FTI Consulting said it will look into whether there were any financial breaches or lapses.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2018, with the headline 'oBike Singapore transferred $10m collected here to HK: Liquidators'. Print Edition | Subscribe