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  • Writer's pictureJulie O'Connor

EZRA Holdings Group: A Tangled Web of Allegations and Lack of Accountability

I'll start this brief chronology of events from November 2014, yet the scheme to defraud, claims of forgery, and the alleged deception of investors date back even earlier.

In November 2014, a writ was served on two subsidiaries of EZRA Holdings which implicated a board member in an alleged fraud pattern. Despite its material significance with reference being made to the Strategic Marine assets acquired by Triyards, which was an EZRA subsidiary, the writ was not publicly disclosed.

February 2015 - the authorised representative of the Plaintiff and his associates were offered A$3.5 million to ratify and endorse the Strategic Marine documents alleged to contain forged signatures, handover evidence, retract the complaints made to SGX, DBS, EZRA Holdings Board, Triyards Audit Committee etc, and retract the writ.

The Plaintiff was a struck off entity at the time the Strategic Marine documents were signed, and therefore unable to be entered into any agreements.

May 2015 - the Writ was to be retracted.

August 2015 - EZRA Holdings announced the signing of a MOU with Chiyoda for a $1.25 billion JV

February 2016 - I raised concerns with the Group Head Of DBS Financial Crime in relation to a transaction involving a subsidiary of EZRA Holdings and two DBS letters

April 2016 - JV was completed

June 2016 - NYK acquired a 25% stake in EMAS Chiyoda

30th November 2016 - I advised the DBS Board of the Writ of Summons which had not been disclosed by the EZRA Holdings Board, because DBS was one of the principal bankers for the Group.

February 2017 - I continued to raise concerns with the DBS Group Head of Financial Crime until advised of the resignation of the first DBS Group Head of Financial Crime I would liaise with.

February 2017 - EMAS Chiyoda filed for Chapter 11

March 2017 - The DBS Group Company Secretary advised me of the finding of the DBS investigation into my concerns on Friday 17th March 2017

March 2017 - EZRA Holdings files for Chapter 11 on Saturday 18th March 2017

Despite significant evidence provided by me, and questions raised by others from public information suggesting failures in timely disclosure, false/misleading disclosures, failure to disclose interests in transactions, insider trading, and failure to discharge directors’ duties and more, Singapore's Commercial Affairs Department have REFUSED to INVESTIGATE.

Significant losses have, and may still be suffered by DBS, OCBC, Chiyoda, and NYK, with the collapse also affecting numerous creditors and Singaporean investors/bondholders.

"The firm pointed out that DBS has the largest exposure to the Ezra group of companies at $637m, followed by OCBC at $300m and UOB at $166m. DBS's exposure is due to its lending to EMAS Chiyoda Subsea, given that it was the co-lead arranger for the loan facility for EMAS Chiyoda’s main vessel, the Lewek Constellation."

"According to a report, Chiyoda and NYK revealed writedowns totalling S$635 million."

The lack of action thus far, along with the apparent absence of reports to the authorities by PricewaterhouseCoopers, who acted as judicial managers, calls into question the commitment of Singapore’s Prime Minister and his administration to their stance against cover-ups and the necessity for accountability, regardless of the discomfort it may cause to individuals who may have initially ignored the issues at hand.

For those keen on delving deeper, I highly suggest exploring the five-part article series by the esteemed NUS Professor Mak Yuen Teen. The series of articles titled “EZRA and the Tri-Tanic.” are accessible via this link.


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