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  • Writer's pictureJulie O'Connor


Noble, EMAS Group and others. How many more companies have to fall and investors lives be ruined, before Singapore's regulators and legal bodies wake up from their slumber and deliver on what are becoming empty promises?

You wouldn't allow an alleged pedophile to remain in control of a childcare centre, but the SGX believe it is acceptable to allow someone accused of fraud to continue to look after investors' money?

I had been writing to the Board of SGX listed EZRA Holdings since at least July 2014, raising serious concerns about allegations of fraud relating to an attempted acquisition. I would later ask why a Writ which was served on two subsidiaries of EZRA Holdings, that implicated the MD in an alleged pattern of fraud, had not been made public? The Group Legal Counsel and the Company Secretary were well aware of the serious allegations contained in the writ as they had flown to Australia and sat in a meeting with myself, the personal lawyer of the MD and others, where these allegations were discussed. The Company Secretary advised (see below) that it wasn't a SGX requirement to make the writ public, because it was not material information and would not have an adverse affect on the company. Yet, it was material enough for Singapore lawyers to fly to Australia, followed the next day with the offer of a financial incentive which would see the writ retracted.

The MD wasn't exonerated of the allegations made against him, he offered the authorised representative of the plaintiff and his associates A$3.5 million to retroactively ratify and endorse the documents alleged to contain the forged signatures which the MD's personal assistant had witnessed, and to ratify the misappropriation of shares. The signatures had been affixed on behalf of a 'struck off' Bahamas entity.

Ratify and endorse the same documents alleged to contain forged signatures affixed on behalf of a struck off entity.

DBS Bank would increase its financial exposure to the EMAS group to an estimated $637 million, shortly before the group collapsed. Were DBS not in the least concerned about the allegations contained in the writ, or that bank letters had been used to wipe 92.2% - 96.6% off a one week old valuation of a company which a member of the EMAS Group was attempting to acquire?

SGX RegCo, Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Commercial Affairs Department did nothing, when arguably there had been failure to disclose material information on a timely basis, false or misleading disclosures, failure to disclose interests in transactions, insider trading, and failure to discharge directors’ duties. Along with questions as to whether investors were lured into buying notes, convertible bonds and shares of the companies, before losses were reported. If the above failures don't come under the purview of the regulators and legal bodies, investors need to ask if there is any oversight of SGX listed companies?

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