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Singapore spares 'no effort' in biggest securities fraud probe

[SINGAPORE] Singapore warned that it's sparing no effort in its largest securities-fraud probe as it seeks to shore up confidence after an S$8 billion stock rout in 2013.

"We are acutely aware of the impact on investor confidence and the need to resolve this quickly and effectively," the Commercial Affairs Department said in its latest annual report. "The joint team is working tirelessly to get to the bottom of the matter."

The white-collar crime agency and the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced in April 2014 they were probing suspected stock-trading irregularities related to Asiasons Capital Ltd, Blumont Group and LionGold Corp. The stocks had surged by at least 800 per cent in the nine months before their shares plunged. That spurred brokers to clamp down on margin lending and dented trading sentiment.

The three companies have said they don't know what caused the sudden declines. Banks and brokers have sued to recover at least US$230 million from the stock rout.

"Together with the MAS, we are sparing no effort to bring those responsible to justice in the course of our biggest securities fraud investigation to date," the financial police said.

The joint probe "is the first of many to come."

BLOOMBERG