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HSBC takes Lim family and Hin Leong employee to court to recover USD 85.3 million

06 Nov 2020

Founder of collapsed Hin Leong Trading (HLT) Lim Ooi Kuin and his two children who are also directors of the company are reportedly being sued by UK-based HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBC) to recover USD 85.3 million of its USD 111.7 million exposure to the company, reports The Straits Times. 

In the document filed on Wednesday, 21 October, HSBC accused HLT of fraudulently presenting false invoices and documents in order to convince the bank to provide credit to the company. 

Additionally, HSBC is also taking legal action against Serene Seng Hui Choo, a manager of Hin Leong’s corporate affairs department over the same accusations.

While there have been several accusations of fraud filed against the Lim family, including charges from its judicial managers, this is a first from a bank. 

In its filing, HSBC is alleging 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.

The fake CAO cargo sale is the current contention of HSBC’s lawsuit. Allegedly, Lim had instructed a HLT employee to fabricate a CAO inter-bank transfer claming that HLT had delivered 1.05 million barrels of gasoil to CAO in March, but no such transaction was transpired and no cargo inspection was conducted. 

Choo was in charge of HLT’s finance and accounts department at the time and supposedly informed HSBC that HLT “foresaw some ‘issues’ with repayment from CAO and Unipec”. 

HLT alleged that the transactions with CAO and Unipec fell through and that HLT would refund HSBC.

 Following the conversation, the Lim family reportedly credited USD 17.5 million into HLT’s account with HSBC.

Related: O.K. Lim and two children sued for USD 3.5billion; receiver appointed for 3 Xihe ships
Related: Argus Media: Singapore’s Hin Leong founder charged with forgery

Photo credit: peter-nguyen
Published: 6 November, 2020

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