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Wife of Coastal Oil’s Tan Sing Hwa saddled with debt to the tune of USD 131 million

17 Jun 2020

Editor: The following article is a summary of the full 32-page judgement from the High Court of the Republic of Singapore. The complete document published on 4 June 2020 is available here.

The wife of Tan Sing Hwa, namely Lim Sor Choo, has been saddled with debt of USD 131 million, according to a High Court of the Republic of Singapore judgement seen by Manifold Times on Monday (15 June).

Tan Sing Hwa and his wife Lim Sor Choo in 2011 was approved for a loan of USD 1.94 million from Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) to finance a property; and in 2016 Tan Sing Hwa signed on a second loan from OCBC Hong Kong to fund two of his companies namely Coastal Oil (HK) Limited and Coastal Oil Singapore Pte Ltd.

The 2011 loan term stated that Lim is also jointly liable for any sums owed by Tan to OCBC, including any interests and costs incurred. The 2011 loan term was also in effect for Tan’s second loan in 2016.

The loan application for Coastal Oil (HK) Limited and Coastal Oil Singapore Pte Ltd was approved in 2017 based on a letter of guarantee provided by Tan that Coastal Oil HK would be liable for any debts owed by both companies.

Subsequently, when Coastal Oil Singapore was liquidated in 2018, the bank repeatedly approached Tan to make full payments on the amounts due but Tan did not respond even when the bank took legal action in January 2019.

This granted the bank default judgment for Tan’s loans from OCBC which amounted to the sum of USD 131 million. As such, the bank decided to take action against Lim in June 2019, as stated in the terms of the 2011 loan term. 

Lim appealed to the judiciary system that at the time of signing, neither she nor the banks would have known that Tan would incur debts to the tune of hundreds of millions and therefore she should not be liable for the sum.

Judiciary Commissioner Dedar Singh Gill has rejected her appeal reasoning that the terms of the loan are drafted ‘unambiguously’ and it is common for banks to adopt the broadest terms when drafting terms of a loan in order to minimise losses. 

Manifold Times previously reported Coastal Oil’s forgery scandal which involved Ong Ah Huat and Huang Peishi’s alleged operations with Tan Sing Hwa and Carol Zong to embezzle funds from a Singapore bank account to Hong Kong.

Related: Singapore: Former Coastal Oil employees face forgery charges over fake sales contracts
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Related: Fraud suspected in Coastal Oil Singapore case, says COSCO
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Related: Coastal Oil Singapore creditors meeting scheduled on 10 Jan
Related: Coastal Oil Singapore in US $380 million debt to at least 10 banks
Related: Singapore: Coastal Logistics owned MR tanker “Atalanta” arrested
Related: Heng Tong Fuels & Shipping, Coastal Logistics tankers enter S&P market
Related: Coastal Oil Singapore to hold creditors meeting on 28 Dec
Related: Breaking news: Coastal Oil Singapore under liquidation

Photo credit:
Manifold Times
Published: 17 June, 2020

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