Kimly chairman Lim and executive director Chia arrested, out on bail

Chan Chao Peh

SINGAPORE (Dec 5): Coffeeshop chain Kimly’s executive chairman Lim Hee Liat (right) and executive director Chia Cher Khiang (left) were arrested by the Commercial Affairs Department on Dec 4, but are now out on bail.

The two men are being investigated for a suspected offence under Section 199 of the Securities and Futures Act.

Kimly chairman and director under probe; $16 mil acquisition cancelled

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“They continue to assist in investigations, and no formal charges have been made against them by the Authorities,” the company announced in a filing on Tuesday night.

On Nov 29, Kimly announced the cancellation of the acquisition of drinks company Asian Story Corporation, which was completed only in July this year.

Of the $16 million cash already paid to the vendor, former Pokka marketing executive Wang Chia Ye, $12 million has been returned to Kimly. The remaining $4 million is to be repaid by Wang over three years.

ASC, which has a book value of $448,000, has an existing deal to outsource the production of its drinks to Pokka. This arrangement was made under Alain Ong, former CEO of Pokka International, the Singapore-based subsidiary of the Japanese drinks maker.

Ong was a former non-executive director of Kimly. He is married to MediaCorp actress Vivian Lai, a long-time celebrity endorser of Pokka here in Singapore. Ong is also under investigation by the authorities.

Kimly was one of the hottest IPOs of 2017. Its offer for 173.8 million new shares at 25 cents per share was 8.3 times subscribed. Kimly shares more than doubled to 51 cents on its third trading day on Mar 22, 2017.

Kimly shares closed Dec 4 unchanged at 25 cents.