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Investors file suits to claim $50m from Envy Global and director

Investors file suits to claim $50m from Envy Global and director

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 05 May 2021
Author: Joyce Lim

The firm's director, Ng Yu Zhi, is accused of involvement in deceiving investors into putting at least $1 billion into nickel deals that never took place and has been charged with at least 11 counts of cheating, fraudulent trading and forgery.

At least four lawsuits have been filed in court by investors seeking to claim some $50 million from Envy Global Trading and its director Ng Yu Zhi. The nickel trading firm and Ng, 33, have been linked to an alleged fraud involving $1 billion. This is a record for financial fraud cases in Singapore.

On April 27, the High Court granted applications by the Envy group of companies - Envy Global Trading, Envy Asset Management and Envy Management Holdings - for the group to be placed under interim judicial management.

Mr Bob Yap, Mr Martin Wong and Ms Toh Ai Ling, all from KPMG, were jointly and severally appointed as interim judicial managers for the Envy group.

Mr Yap, a partner and head of restructuring at KPMG in Singapore, told The Straits Times yesterday that their immediate focus was to conduct an inquiry into the Envy group's affairs, business and property, with a view to preparing a report for the court within four weeks from April 27 as to whether the objectives of judicial management will be achievable.

"At this juncture, it is still preliminary to provide any information," said Mr Yap.

Ng, who is also the director of Envy Asset Management and Envy Management Holdings, is accused of involvement in deceiving investors into putting at least $1 billion into nickel deals that never took place. He has been charged with at least 11 counts of cheating, fraudulent trading and forgery.

In the latest charges last month, Ng was accused of fabricating two electronic records - one of a US$60 million (S$79.5 million) bank transfer and the other, US$302 million that was purportedly the balances of his firm's bank account.

Between last September and February this year, he allegedly deceived five individuals into purchasing some receivables from Envy Global Trading's purported sale of nickel to a firm named Raffemet, but there was no such transaction. The individuals paid sums ranging from $750,000 to $4.4 million. In all, they were cheated of almost $9 million.

In one of the four civil suits filed, construction firm Debenho and its managing director Low Teck Dee are seeking to recover $23.13 million from Envy Global Trading and Ng.

The plaintiffs claimed to have entered into five receivables purchase agreements with Envy Global Trading between last November and January this year.

The agreements stated that Debenho or Mr Low agreed to purchase a certain percentage of Envy Global Trading's total trade receivables from Raffemet.

Trade receivables are the amounts owed to a business by its customers following the sale of goods or services on credit.

The plaintiffs claimed to have paid a total of $20.1 million to Envy Global Trading for the trade receivables with expected returns of over $3 million.

In court documents seen by ST, the plaintiffs called Ng the "controlling mind and alter ego" of Envy Global Trading. The receivables purchase agreements were allegedly authorised, directed and procured by Ng.

The plaintiffs, who were represented by Mr Alfred Lim and Ms Jaime Lye of Fullerton Law Chambers, said the payments were made in reliance on the truth of the representations by Ng.

Envy Global Trading was represented by lawyers from Quahe Woo & Palmer and Ng was represented by Davinder Singh Chambers.

The Commercial Affairs Department has seized about $100 million of assets from Ng, who is currently out on bail of $1.5 million.

He also has to continue wearing an electronic tag, and comply with a 10pm to 6am curfew.

Ng's bail is believed to be the highest sum imposed since electronic monitoring was introduced as a condition of bail in 2018.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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