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2013 penny stock crash: Goh to plead guilty on Mar 20

THE court has fixed March 20 for the plea of Goh Hin Calm to be taken for aiding his two co-accused to rig the market before the prices of three penny stocks went into a tailspin in October 2013.

The Business Times understands that Goh, 59, on March 20 is going to admit to being an accomplice of Soh Chee Wen and Quah Su-Ling in the alleged manipulation of the stocks of Blumont Group, Asiasons Capital (now Attilan Group) and LionGold Corp - collectively known as BAL.

He will make his mitigation plea through his lawyer Adrian Wee on the same day before High Court judge Hoo Sheau Peng.

The trial of the two Malaysians has since been rescheduled to March 25 from next Monday, following the 11th-hour change of heart by Goh to plead guilty.

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Whether Goh would become a prosecution witness after pleading guilty is likely to be closely watched.

Soh, who is better known as John, has been portrayed by the prosecution as the mastermind behind the conspiracy to prop up the stock prices of BAL. He and his 54-year-old alleged co-conspirator Quah are accused of orchestrating the manipulation scheme by placing hundreds of thousands of trades through an extensive web of 189 trading accounts in the names of 59 individuals and corporations in 20 financial institutions – all of which were said to be controlled by the duo.

Goh, who is out on bail, is accused of being the "treasurer" of these manipulated trades and to have "intentionally" aided the 59-year-old Soh and Quah to create a false market for the BAL shares.

The BAL stocks saw a spectacular implosion in October 2013, wiping off S$8 billion in total market value. Both Soh and Quah are contesting the allegations. He faces 189 charges including eight counts for allegedly tampering with witnesses or have made such attempts while Quah, the former Ipco International chief executive, has 178 charges.

Soh was arrested in November 2016 and is the only one out of the three accused in remand, after failed attempts to be on bail. He is represented by Senior Counsel N Sreenivasan and Quah by Philip Fong.