MALAYSIAN businessman John Soh and alleged co-conspirator Quah Su-Ling pleaded not guilty to 189 charges and 178 charges respectively in the first day of their trial for the 2013 penny stock crash, which wiped out $8 billion Singaporean dollars (Bt187 billion) from the Singapore market.
Prosecutors on Monday outlined how Soh, 59, the alleged mastermind, and girlfriend Quah, 54, the former Ipco International chief executive, allegedly exploited family, friends and business associates to manipulate the share prices of Blumont Group, Asiasons Capital (now Attilan Group) and LionGold Group - collectively known as BAL. The stocks surged by at least 800 per cent over nine months before they plunged during three days in October 2013.
“This is a prosecution for the most serious case of stock market manipulation in Singapore,” deputy public prosecutor Peter Koy, who leads a seven-strong prosecution team, said in an opening statement that lasted almost two hours.
Last Wednesday, the third figure in the case, former Ipco interim CEO Goh Hin Calm, pleaded guilty to two of six charges of aiding and abetting Soh and Quah. Goh, 59, described as a "treasurer" in the operation, was sentenced to jail terms of three years for each of those charges, which will run concurrently.
According to prosecutors, Soh and Quah controlled a total of 189 accounts held in the names of 60 individuals and companies at 20 financial institutions, including local and foreign brokerages, as well as international banks.
Soh, an undischarged bankrupt, and Quah have been acquainted since 2002. At the time of the offences, they were in an intimate relationship, said prosecutors.