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Current, ex-Swiber directors questioned by CAD

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Several current and former directors of Swiber Holdings have been hauled up for questioning by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and released on bail.

Singapore

SEVERAL current and former directors of Swiber Holdings have been hauled up for questioning by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and released on bail.

The directors interviewed by Singapore's white collar-crime unit between Nov 30 and Dec 2 were Swiber executive chairman Raymond Kim Goh; executive director Jean Pers; lead independent director Yeo Jeu Nam; independent director Chia Fook Eng; independent director Oon Thian Seng; ex-vice chairman and ex-executive director Francis Wong Chin Sing; group chief financial officer and ex-executive director Leonard Tay Gim Sin; and ex-executive director Nitish Gupta.

The investigations relate to alleged infringements under Section 199 of the Securities and Futures Act. Section 199 covers the making of false and misleading disclosures.

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Former group chief executive officer and ex-executive director Yeo Chee Neng was also interviewed by CAD, but was not placed on bail, Swiber said.

The company said it is assisting CAD in its investigations and will fully cooperate with CAD on this matter. It added that investigations are ongoing and no formal charges have been brought against those individuals.

Swiber shocked the market in July when it filed a winding-up application amid mounting debt obligations. It reversed course a few days later to seek judicial management instead, and is currently under the judicial management of KPMG's Bob Yap, Tay Puay Cheng and Ong Pang Thye.

On Oct 31, SGX found that the company had breached a listing rule, and formally rebuked the company for "failing to provide a balanced and fair announcement" to the market about a US$710 million project award in West Africa.

SGX alleged that Swiber failed to properly disclose that the value of the contract was merely indicative, pending the completion of an engineering design study and the finalisation of a field development plan, when it first announced the deal in 2014. That fact was also not made clear in 2016, when Swiber announced that the project would be delayed. SGX's reprimand, however, did not cover the 2016 announcement.

"Swiber presented favourable possibilities as certain, or as more probable than is actually the case," SGX said in its rebuke. "The (first) announcement failed to disclose the material conditions that are pre-requisites to the progress of the project and recognition of revenue by Swiber."

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