In a public disclosure and in response to queries from SGX-ST, public listed company New Silkroutes Group said that its executive director and CEO Goh Jin Hian and finance director William Teo are currently “assisting” the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) with investigations into possible offence under the Securities and Futures Act.
Dr Goh Jin Hian is the son of former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.
The company also said that Dr Goh will be “retiring” as CEO with effect from today (1 Oct) and will become the Non-Executive Chairman thereafter. The company added that no charges have been made against any person at this time but it understands that Dr Goh and William Teo may be the subjects of the investigation.
“The (CAD’s) Notice did not detail the nature of the investigation and merely stated that the investigation pertains to ‘an offence under the Securities and Futures Act (Chapter 289),’ said the company.
“However, the Company understands that the alleged offence is false trading and market rigging pursuant to section 197 of the SFA in view of past share buy-backs and acquisitions of shares.”
The company went on to defend Dr Goh and Teo, “Dr Goh and Mr Teo have always conducted their duties professionally and in the best interest of the Group. Dr Goh has contributed substantially to the Group in its focus on healthcare and energy sector. Dr Goh has also assisted the Group in establishing and maintaining strong relationships with its stakeholders such as the various minority shareholders in the some of the subsidiaries of the Group.”
“Dr Goh has also acted above and beyond the duties of an Executive Director when to assist the Group, he extended a personal guarantee as additional security for certain credit facilities to the Group,” it added.
“The Nominating Committee and the Board (with Dr Goh abstaining) are of the view that the investigations or Dr Goh’s and Mr Teo’s assistance in the investigations do not compromise the performance of their professional duties in relation to the Group.”
In the view of the company’s board, it said, the character and integrity of Dr Goh and Teo “remain suitable to continue as a director and executive office, respectively, of the company”.
Still, the company disclosed that the passports of both Dr Goh and Teo have been retained by the CAD. “Neither person has been arrested or charged and no bail has been required to be posted,” it added.
Dr Goh to be sued in another case
In an earlier news, it was reported that the High Court had appointed Deloitte & Touche LLP as the judicial manager to take over the running of the beleaguered Inter-Pacific Petroleum Pte Ltd (IPP).
Dr Goh is a substantial shareholder of IPP and was its director from 28 June 2011 to 20 August 2019 (‘Legal actions to be taken against Goh Chok Tong’s son, Goh Jin Hian, for breaching his duties at Inter-Pacific Petroleum‘, 17 Sep).
Deloitte & Touche was reported to be considering taking Dr Goh to court.
According to Manifold Times, Deloitte & Touche has been looking into IPP’s records, as well as investigating the company’s affairs since it was placed under judicial management. Deloitte & Touche stated that investigations had revealed that IPP has a “viable claim” against Dr Goh for “breaches of his director’s duties”.
It was also reported that two of IPP’s largest creditors, Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank) and the Singapore branch of Societe Generale (SocGen) have indicated their intentions to fund the prospective legal action against Dr Goh. Maybank is owed US$88.3 million, and SocGen is owed US$81.3 million.
Deloitte & Touche also revealed to be considering to place IPP in liquidation before taking legal actions against Dr Goh, and to let his prosecution be handled by the prospective liquidators.