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Hin Leong founder set to face more charges

Hin Leong founder set to face more charges

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 30 Mar 2021
Author: Grace Leong

The 23 charges against Mr Lim Oon Kuin are expected to be tendered at the next court mention on April 8, 2021.

Another 23 charges of forgery-related offences are expected to be tendered against embattled Hin Leong Trading founder Lim Oon Kuin, prosecutors told the State Courts yesterday.

The new charges could not be tendered yesterday against the 78-year-old former oil tycoon - better known as O.K. Lim - as the Commercial Affairs Department could not complete recording the cautioned statements prior to the charging as Lim said that he was unwell, Deputy Public Prosecutor Navin Naidu told the court.

Cautioned statements are statements made by the defendant in his defence at the time the charges are presented to him.

The 23 charges are expected to be tendered at the next court mention on April 8. "Between now and April 8, there should be sufficient time for all cautioned statements to be administered prior to the rendering of the 23 charges via video link," the DPP said.

Lim's defence lawyer told the court that his client has "no objections to appearing by way of video link from the Police Cantonment Complex for the mention".

His $3 million court bail was extended yesterday.

In August and September last year, Lim was hit with two counts of abetment of forgery for the purpose of cheating. He is accused of instigating a Hin Leong employee to forge an e-mail and another document in order to obtain more than US$56 million (S$75 million) in trade financing, according to the police.

Abetment of forgery for the purpose of cheating carries a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine.

Lim is accused of instigating Mr Freddy Tan Jie Ren, a contracts executive of Hin Leong, to forge an e-mail purportedly sent by Hin Leong to China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corporation (CAO) on Feb 26 relating to a sale.

After the two charges were brought against Lim, HSBC - Hin Leong's largest creditor, with about US$600 million owed - took legal action against the Lim family and a Hin Leong employee, and the fake CAO cargo sale is the subject of the bank's suit.

HSBC alleged that the defendants "fraudulently deceived" it into lending Hin Leong US$111.7 million by signing forged invoices that were submitted to obtain discount financing last year.

In his defence papers, Lim denied the allegations.

Separately, a High Court hearing is scheduled for next Monday on an application by judicial managers from PricewaterhouseCoopers to freeze assets held by the family to recoup US$3.5 billion of debt from the collapsed oil trader.

Hin Leong collapsed last year after the oil price plunge triggered a default that exposed years of hidden losses and alleged fraud by the Lim family. Shipping arm Ocean Tankers filed for judicial management last May, and in August, the court approved OCBC Bank's application against Lim family-owned Xihe Holdings and subsidiaries. Hin Leong was wound up earlier this month.

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

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