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DBS seeks to wind up Novena Global Healthcare founded by Loh cousins

Terence Loh - BT file.jpg
Terence Loh said RSM was recently appointed as special accountant for NGHG.

DBS is seeking to wind up scandal-hit Novena Global Healthcare Pte Ltd (NGHPL), co-founded by Singaporean cousins Terence and Nelson Loh.

The bank has filed a winding-up application with the Singapore High Court.

In a statement on Friday, Mr Terence Loh said that he understands that DBS is requesting that insolvency professionals from accounting firm RSM be named as joint and several liquidators of NGHPL.

NGHPL is believed to have owed DBS millions of dollars, The Straits Times (ST) reported.

DBS declined to comment on the matter when approached by The Business Times (BT).

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NGHPL is the Singapore subsidiary of the Cayman Islands-incorporated Novena Global Healthcare Group (NGHG), which has been in the limelight since Ernst & Young (EY) filed a police report alleging its unauthorised signatures had appeared on NGHG's financial statements.

The police are not the only ones looking into matters related to the duo. In August, Singapore's Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority told BT that it will take enforcement action after it was discovered that entities linked to the Lohs had not filed annual returns. These entities included NGHPL and Novena Life Sciences Pte Ltd.

RSM was recently appointed as special accountant for NGHG by the latter's supervisory committee. Mr Terence Loh said this appointment was "made at the behest of the five lender banks of NGHG, including DBS".

He believes a potential liquidation of the Singapore unit "may not necessarily result in the demise" of the parent company.

"I will continue to engage with RSM until any liquidation occurs, and will assist any appointed liquidators to recover value," Mr Terence Loh said in the statement.

In October, he legally severed all business links with his cousin and former business partner Mr Nelson Loh.

Under the agreement, Mr Nelson Loh would transfer all his shares in NGHG, Dorr Global Healthcare International Pte Ltd and Rock Star Advisors Pte Ltd to his cousin for S$1, and then resign as director of the three entities.

Mr Terence Loh, meanwhile, would transfer his shares in Singapore-incorporated Bellagraph Nova Pte Ltd (BN Sg) to his cousin for S$1 and step down as its director.

He remains a director of NGHG at the holding level and of NGHPL.

On Friday, Mr Terence Loh said that he understands RSM has been in touch with potential investors for the parent company, and some of these investors are conducting due diligence on NGHG.

He noted that he has been assisting RSM to facilitate discovery of financial transactions, documentation and shareholding of NGHG, and to expedite the corporate recovery of the group's key businesses "to salvage value for all stakeholders".

NGHG's board in September set up a special committee - which does not include the duo - to investigate EY's allegations that the audit signatures on NGHG's accounts were forged, and to "restructure and scrutinise its affairs".

Regarding EY's allegations and other discrepancies that came to light recently at NGHG, Mr Terence Loh on Friday said he feels "deeply betrayed" by his cousin, who has left Singapore and "appears to have no intention to sort out this terrible mess we are left with".

The Lohs this year formed Bellagraph Nova Group (BN Group), with Evangeline Shen. The new group, which is led chiefly by Ms Shen and is bidding for the Newcastle United football club, has drawn scrutiny after it was found to have doctored photos of former US president Barack Obama in its marketing materials.

Mr Terence Loh said last month that he was not given a specific role at BN Sg and was unaware of the entities of BN Group. He also resigned from BN Group then.

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