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Founder OK Lim grilled by prosecutors on his involvement at Hin Leong Trading

Prosecutors accused Lim, who is accused of alleged cheating and forgery charges involving USD 111.7 million (SGD 148.7 million), of lying and playing down his involvement in the company’s dealings.

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RESIZED state courts

Prosecutors grilled Hin Leong Trading (Pte) Ltd Founder Lim Oon Kuin, who is accused of alleged cheating and forgery charges involving USD 111.7 million (SGD 148.7 million), over his role in the company at the Singapore State Courts on Monday (20 November), according to The Business Times

Prosecutors accused him of lying and playing down his involvement in the company’s dealings. 

During cross-examination, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Christopher Ong questioned Lim of his involvement in the company’s day-to-day operations until he stepped down as the managing direction in April 2020.

Lim said Hin Leong traders would inform him only “as a matter of formality” when asked if he would give approval to them for trades they conducted. 

“If the deal is profitable and they are earning money for the company, of course they can do (the deals). They just informed me as a matter of formality that they have completed the deal,” Lim said as quoted by The Business Times.

In June, Hin Leong’s general manager for trading Wong See Meng had testified in court that he would get approval or in-principle approval from Lim or members of the Lim family for any deal that he wished to carry out. He added that he would get approval from Lim for deals involving gas oil and aviation fuel. 

When asked by DPP Ong whether Wong had asked Lim for directions on whether sale deals should proceed, Lim disagreed. 

Lim said: “He is holding such a senior position. If he needed to ask me before he could proceed, then what is the point of employing him?” 

DPP Ong then suggested that Lim was lying when he said he did not approve the trades that Hin Leong conducted. Lim disagreed. 

Lim also denied knowing what the term “discounting” meant when queried on discounting facilities that Hin Leong had with several banks including HSBC.

DPP Ong asked Lim whether he was aware that Hin Leong had a facility with HSBC where Hin Leong could present invoices for oil sales that it had made, and the bank would pay the company before payment from the buyer was due. 

Lim said such things were “accounts matters”, and that he was never involved in accounts matters.

“I put it to you that your claim not to have known what discounting was, all the way up to April 12, 2020, is completely incredible,” DPP Ong said, to which Lim disagreed.

DPP Ong suggested that Lim knew about discounting “long before” 2020. 

“I put it to you that you are lying about when and how you found out about the two discounting applications that had been made to HSBC,” DPP Ong said. Lim disagreed.

DPP Ong then suggested that Lim was “making up” evidence that his former personal assistant Serene Seng, whose last position at Hin Leong was manager of corporate affairs, approached him to do more trades when Hin Leong’s cashflows were low.

“I put it to you that you are trying to pretend that you had no involvement in dealing with Hin Leong’s low cash situations when they occurred,” said DPP Ong, to which Lim disagreed.

In April, the Singapore State Court heard Seng confess to lying during investigations by Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), when she said she was unable to recall events connected to a transaction that is related to Lim Oon Kuin’s criminal charges.

The 61-year-old who had worked at Hin Leong Trading for close to 30 years and whose last position was Manager of Corporate Affairs, testified against her former boss, Lim.

More than 100 other charges against Lim have been put on hold while this trial is in progress.

The 81-year-old went on trial when prosecution proceeded on three charges out of the total of 130 charges: Two counts of cheating the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) and one count of instigating a contracts executive of Hin Leong Trading to forge a false record.

The 130 charges were for the offences of cheating, abetment of forgery of a valuable security, and abetment of forgery. 

The three charges relate to HSBC previously alleging Lim had falsified documents in order to obtain credit from the bank. In October, HSBC filed for legal action against the Lim family and a Hin Leong employee to recover USD 85.3 million of its USD 111.7 million exposure to Hin Leong.

In its filing, HSBC alleged that it was “fraudulently deceived” into lending USD 111.7 million by signing off a forged invoice for cargo sold to China Aviation Oil (CAO) for USD 56 million, the other for cargo sold to Unipec Singapore for USD 55.7 million.

An extensive coverage by Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times regarding the fall of Hin Leong can be found below:

Related: Singapore: Hin Leong Trading Founder testifies for the first time in his own defence
Related: Singapore: Hin Leong Trading Founder to testify in USD 111.7 mil cheating, forgery case
Related: Singapore: O.K. Lim, children faces liquidators and HSBC in USD 3.5 bil civil lawsuit
Related: Former PA to Hin Leong Trading Founder found lying in CAD investigations
Related: Singapore: Hin Leong Trading Founder goes to trial for cheating, forgery charges
Related: Hin Leong Trading Founder faces additional 105 cheating, forgery charges in court
Related: Ocean Tankers judicial managers progressing to liquidate firm after expiry of court order
Related: Singapore: Hin Leong Trading Director charged with obstructing course of justice
Related: Court of Appeal: Hin Leong, Lim family claim ‘without any factual or legal basis’
Related: Singapore: High Court dismisses UniCredit Bank USD 37 million claim against Glencore over Hin Leong transaction
Related: Singapore: Hin Leong takes Deloitte to court over alleged auditing failures
Related: Hin Leong Trading Founder OK Lim facing 23 new forgery-related charges at State Courts
Related: Application to wind up Hin Leong Trading subsidiary, Hin Leong Marine approved
Related: Singapore High Court approves Hin Leong Trading wind up order application
Related: Hin Leong Trading liquidates a third of its fleet to recover USD 3.5 billion debt
Related: Lim family aims to wind up Hin Leong Trading subsidiary, Hin Leong Marine
Related: Judicial Managers of Hin Leong Trading Pte Ltd file for winding up order
Related: Hin Leong judicial managers to hold meeting of creditors to discuss fees incurred
Related: Lim family files application to wind up Hin Leong Trading subsidiary, Hin Leong Marine
Related: First creditors meeting of Ocean Tankers to be held in early January 2021
Related: Bank of China takes legal action against BP Plc and Lim family to recover $312.9 million
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Related: Ocean Tankers publishes notice for creditors to prove any debts or claims for publication
Related: Hin Leong Trading founder denies allegations of forgery put forward by HSBC
Related: Singapore: Xihe Holdings and subsidiaries to be placed under judicial management
Related: HSBC takes Lim family and Hin Leong employee to court to recover USD 85.3 million
Related: Da An Shipping Pte Ltd passes winding-up resolution and publishes notice to creditors
Related: Xihe Capital and subsidiaries, Nan Guang Maritime to undergo voluntary liquidation
Related: MPA: Ocean Bunkering Services licenses suspended ‘until further notice’ and not revoked
Related: Ocean Bunkering Services bunker claims against ASL Marine & Offshore heads to arbitration
Related: Ocean Tankers to return most ships to owners to reduce $540,000 a day cash burn
Related: Singapore: Ocean Bunkering Services license suspended until further notice
Related: PwC publishes ‘investment opportunity’ for Singapore independent bunker fuel supplier
Related: Hin Leong founder O.K. Lim hit with second charge of abatement in forgery
Related: Hin Leong judicial managers and legal firms could rack up SGD 17.3 million in fees
Related: Winson Group wins ICC backing in dispute against banks over credit for Hin Leong Trading
Related: O.K. Lim and two children sued for USD 3.5billion; receiver appointed for 3 Xihe ships
Related: Managers of Ocean Tankers looking to recover USD 19 million from Lim family
Related: Argus Media: Singapore’s Hin Leong founder charged with forgery
Related: Xihe Holdings placed under IJM as OCBC reverses decision for ‘consensual restructuring’
Related: Xihe replaces Directors, forms new management team to chart fresh course for Group
Related: Hin Leong Trading lawyers publish application to fulfill requirements for hearing to proceed
Related: Ocean Tankers legal team publishes application to be placed under judicial management
Related: Judicial management applications for Hin Leong Trading and Ocean Tankers delayed
Related: Lim family to inhibit law firm Rajah & Tann from representing troubled HLT & OTPL
Related: OCBC files for Xihe Holdings to be placed under judicial management
Related: Judicial managers of Ocean Tankers discover discrepancies and fraud in exposure claims
Related: Judicial managers of Ocean Tankers to present restructuring proposals to owners
Related: PwC probes uncover mass grave of financial skeletons and alleged fraud within HLT
Related: Winson Group seeks SGD 30.4 million from Standard Chartered over HLT related trade
Related: Winson Group seeks SGD 30.4 million from OCBC over credit pull in Hin Leong trade
Related: Ocean Tankers: Notice to prove debt or claim published by interim judicial managers
Related: ‘Reasonable prospects’ to keep Ocean Tankers as a going concern, states Director
Related: Singapore: Ocean Tankers, a separate entity of Hin Leong, seeking judicial management
Related: Singapore High Court concedes interim judicial management to Hin Leong Trading
Related: Sembcorp commences legal proceedings against Hin Leong Trading over gasoil cargo
Related: Sembcorp Cogen aborts gasoil supply and storage contract with Hin Leong Trading
Related: Report: Sinopec expresses interest in Hin Leong Trading stake of Universal Terminal
Related: Report: Hin Leong Trading appoints PwC as interim judicial manager
Related: Singapore’s Police Force commence investigations into Hin Leong Trading
Related: Report: Hin Leong Trading founder gave instructions to hide USD 800 million losses
Related: Singapore: Ocean Bunkering Services to discontinue marine fuel deliveries
Related: Hin Leong in debt restructuring exercise; Ocean Tankers a separate entity, says CEO
Related: Report: Hin Leong Trading finances under scrutiny, amid credit pull from two banks

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 22 November, 2023

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Crime

Vietnam: Two ships seized over 170,000 litres of unknown origin diesel oil

Vietnam Coast Guard said vessels were transporting various quantities of oil cargo: KG-91487- DR was transporting about 145,000 litres and KG-91602-TS transported about 25,000 litres.

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Vietnam: Two ships seized over 170,000 litres of unknown origin diesel oil

The Vietnam Coast Guard on Tuesday (20 February) said it seized a total of about 170,000 litres of unknown origin diesel oil in an operation. 

Patrol boats belonging to Coast Guard Region 4 Command detected two fishing boats – KG-91487- DR and KG-91602-TS – displaying several suspicious signs.

Initial investigations found all vessels without invoices and documents proving legal origin of the oil material.

The vessels were transporting various quantities of oil material: KG-91487- DR was transporting about 145,000 litres and KG-91602-TS transported about 25,000 litres.

The authorities made records of administrative violations,and escorted the vessels to Fleet Port 422 in Phú Quốc city, Kiên Giang province for further investigations and handling in accordance with the law.

 

Photo credit: Vietnam Coast Guard
Published: 23 February, 2024

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Winding up

Xihe Holdings liquidators issue intended dividend notice to creditors

Creditors will need to produce proofs of debt to liquidators of the company by 8 March 2024 at 5pm, according to Government Gazette notice.

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RESIZED Drew Beamer

A notice to declare intended dividend of Xihe Holdings Pte Ltd to its creditors has been posted on Singapore’s Government Gazette on Friday (16 February). 

Xihe Holdings Pte Ltd and its subsidiaries are owned by the Lim family, who are also the owners of the embattled Hin Leong Trading.

Details of the notice of intended dividend are as follows:

Name of Company : Xihe Holdings (Pte) Ltd (In Liquidation)

Unique Entity No. / Registration No. : 199002021M

Address of Registered Office : c/o Grant Thornton Singapore Private Limited 8 Marina View #40-04/05 Asia Square Tower 1 Singapore 018960

Court : High Court of Singapore

Number of Matter : HC/CWU 40/2022

Last Day for Receiving Proofs : 8 March 2024 at 5:00 pm by email to [email protected] 

Name of Liquidators : Seshadri Rajagopalan, Paresh Tribhovan Jotangia and Ho May Kee

Address : c/o Grant Thornton Singapore Private Limited, 8 Marina View #40-04/05 Asia Square Tower 1

Singapore 018960

 

Photo credit: Drew Beamer
Published: 21 February, 2024

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Legal

Malaysia: MMEA detains modified fishing boat suspected of smuggling diesel oil

Three men, aged 32 to 40, were suspected to be involved in smuggling the subsidised oil estimated to be 6,000 litres, worth almost MYR 13,000 (USD 2,712).

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Malaysia: MMEA detains modified fishing boat suspected of smuggling diesel oil

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) on Monday (19 February) said it detained a fishing vessel and three local men who were onboard after they allegedly tried to smuggle 6,000 litres of diesel worth MYR 13,000 (USD 2,712) on 18 February. 

In the 11pm incident, the men, aged 32 to 40, onboard the ship were found with the diesel at 0.6 nautical miles north of Pulau Langgun, Langkawi. 

“During the inspection of the boat in question, officers found there was an additional space on the deck and covered with plywood in the intention of hiding it from authorities,” said MMEA. 

Malaysia: MMEA detains modified fishing boat suspected of smuggling diesel oil

“Officers then proceeded to dismantle the plywood and found two storage containers that were converted into extra oil barrels.”

“As a result of that discovery, the suspects are suspected to be involved in smuggling subsidised oil estimated to be 6,000 litres, worth almost MYR 13,000.”

MMEA detained the fishing vessel and men before they were brought to Bukit Malut Maritime Jetty for further investigations.

 

Photo credit: Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency
Published: 20 February, 2024

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