Ex-Singapore PM Goh’s son charged with false trading, CNA says

The logo of the Monetary Authority of Singapore is seen on its main building in Singapore on May 24, 2016.
Goh Jin Hian, the son of former Singapore PM Goh Chok Tong, charged with false trading offenses after a joint investigation by the Singapore Police Force and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

By Philip J. Heijmans

(Bloomberg) — Goh Jin Hian, the son of former Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, was among four people charged Wednesday with false trading offenses, according to police, the latest in a wave of alleged financial crimes in the city-state.

The 54-year-old ex-chief executive officer of investment holding company New Silkroutes Group Ltd., Goh is accused of conspiring with three other men linked to the firm for creating a “misleading appearance with respect to the price” of its securities on 31 trading days between February and August of 2018, according to the charging statement. That’s equivalent to market manipulation.

Goh is also accused of pushing up the price of the company’s securities by placing orders and executing trades using his personal trading account later that same year. He was handed 39 charges under the Securities and Futures Act, while the three other men each received 31 similar charges.

Navin Thevar, the lawyer representing Goh, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and email seeking comment. Goh’s father served as prime minister from 1990-2004, succeeding Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew.

The charges announced Wednesday arose from a joint investigation by the Singapore Police Force and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, according to a statement from the police.

The time periods cited in the charging documents coincide with some volatile behavior in New Silkroutes’s shares. The stock had resumed trading on Feb. 26, 2018, after a nearly three-month-long voluntary halt. It closed 47% higher for the day, but gave up those gains by Aug. 27 of that year.

The shares fell about 70% further by November 2021, when another trading suspension, which remains in effect, began. The company said last month that it has applied to the Singapore stock exchange for an extension to submit a proposal for resumption of trading in order to facilitate its debt restructuring process and to develop a business plan.

According to the police statement, Goh and the three others could face a jail term of up to seven years and a fine of as much as S$250,000 (US$183,000), or both, on each charge.

The development adds to a number of scandals in the Asian financial hub known for its zero tolerance for corruption. A separate billion-dollar money laundering probe is already shining a light on fund flows from abroad and raising questions about loopholes that enabled an alleged criminal syndicate to accumulate massive amounts of wealth. The city-state’s anti-graft body is also conducting an investigation involving Transport Minister S. Iswaran.

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