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O.K. Lim and two children sued for USD 3.5billion; receiver appointed for 3 Xihe ships

31 Aug 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 HLT’s judicial managers PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services for breaching fiduciary duties as directors and fraud.

In a court filing, the judicial managers are looking to recover USD 3.5 billion (SGD 4.75 billion) on top of another USD 90 million in dividends which the trio had allegedly paid themselves despite the company being insolvent.

PwC is now accusing the Lim family of “deliberately concealing losses and portraying it (HLT) as a profitable company when in fact it was massively insolvent”, as quoted by The Business Times on Monday (31 August).

The Lims managed to pull this off by creating “fictitious gains to conceal accumulated trading and other losses, the forgery of documents, the manipulation of Hin Leong’s accounts through irregular accounting entries, the overstatement of Hin Leong’s inventory and the obtaining of financing through improper means”.

PwC concluded that in combination, these maneuvers were used to paint a “vastly misleading picture of its financial health to external parties and deceived its lenders into extending financing even though Hin Leong has been insolvent since the financial year ended Oct 31, 2012”.

Lim Ooi Kuin was charged in mid-August over the accounts of fraud and is currently out on SGD 3 million bail. 

Court-appointed managers of Lim family owned Ocean Tankers Pte  Ltd (OTPL) are also in pursuit to recover USD 19 million from the Lim family, who transferred the amount from OTPL to their accounts in April.

Malayan Banking (Maybank), meanwhile, has appointed KPMG as the receiver and manager of a vessel owned by An Ya Shipping, a subsidiary of Xihe Holdings in order to safeguard its interest as creditor, reported The Business Times on Thursday (27 August).

An Ya Shipping, which owns the vessel Ocean Success, has taken out a mortgage with Maybank in 2015. 

Maybank has also made a similar move for two other shipping companies, Xin Guang Shipping and An Xing Shipping, which are also subsidiaries of Xihe Holdings.

The two companies own the vessels Marine Topaz and Ocean Supreme.

Xihe Holdings, the 60% holding company for Singapore-based tanker ship owner Xihe Group of Companies, has been placed under interim judicial managers (IJMs) as creditors supported OCBC’s application for Xihe’s restructuring to be independent of the Lim family. 

While it remains clear how this move corresponds with the IJM arrangement as a whole, The Business Times feels that it is unlikely that court appointed judicial managers Grant Thornton will supervise the sale. 

Related: Argus Media: Trafigura, Gunvor take over Hin Leong fuel oil storage
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’

Photo credit: Peter-nguyen

Published: 31 August, 2020

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