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Acra to probe all registered entities linked to Loh cousins

Acra to probe all registered entities linked to Loh cousins

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 25 Sep 2020
Author: Joyce Lim

Cousins Nelson and Terence Loh grabbed headlines last month by announcing a takeover bid for Newcastle United.

The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) is expanding its probe and will be looking into all registered entities linked to Singaporean cousins Nelson and Terence Loh.

Acra was responding to queries from The Straits Times after the paper reported yesterday that the police had commenced investigations into one of the Lohs' firms for allegedly using unauthorised signatures of an accounting firm on its financial statements. The authority had earlier found that Novena Global Healthcare and Novena Life Sciences - owned by the Lohs - had failed to file annual returns due on July 29, 2018 and Dec 9 last year, respectively.

An Acra spokesman said yesterday that enforcement actions are ongoing in relation to the two firms, and added: "Acra is also looking into other related registered entities on their obligations to hold annual general meetings (AGM) and file annual returns."

Enforcement actions include imposing a penalty for late filing. Acra may also decide to prosecute the companies and/or their directors in court.

The spokesman said that breaching an obligation to hold an AGM and to file annual returns carries a fine of up to $5,000 each, upon conviction by the courts.

Mr Terence Loh, 42 and Mr Nelson Loh, 40, came into the spotlight last month after their reported �280 million (S$490 million) takeover bid for English Premier League club Newcastle United.

On Wednesday, the police launched an investigation into Novena Global Healthcare Group, a holding company incorporated in the Cayman Islands for the Lohs' healthcare businesses, after accounting firm Ernst & Young reported to the authorities last week that the firm did not sign off on or authorise the signatures found on some of the financial statements of the company.

ST understands that Mr Terence Loh gave his statement to the police on Wednesday. It is not known if Mr Nelson Loh has also given his statement.

The Lohs had registered a subsidiary, Novena Global Healthcare, in Singapore in November 2016, which has an office in Novena Gardens.

ST found more than 20 companies registered to that same unit in Thomson Road.

From January to July this year, the Lohs registered 10 firms with Acra, including Bellagraph Nova (BN), which they co-founded with their Chinese business partner Evangeline Shen, 32, with a paid-up capital of $20 million. BN Group was formed in July following a merger of the Loh cousins' Dorr Group and Ms Shen's Bellagraph Group.

Acra searches by ST yesterday found that Dorr Global Healthcare International, which was incorporated in 2016 by the Loh cousins, had a charge by DBS Bank in June this year. Two other firms - Novena Aptus and Novena Novaptus, which were incorporated in January this year - also had charges on them registered by Citibank. A charge is a form of security interest usually taken by a lender or creditor - "chargee" - to secure repayment of a loan.

Sources told ST that the Loh cousins had obtained millions in loans from DBS, Citibank and United Overseas Bank in recent years.

All three banks declined to comment.

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

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