Ex-US ambassador quits Axington board; owners remove website

Published Wed, Aug 26, 2020 · 03:11 AM

FORMER US ambassador to Singapore, Kirk Wagar, has resigned as independent director of Catalist-listed Axington, he told The Straits Times (ST) on Tuesday.

Axington is linked to Singapore-registered Bellagraph Nova Group (BN Group), which has admitted to doctoring photos of former US president Barack Obama in marketing materials used to publicise the group.

"Due to the recent revelations, I have resigned that position and asked for Axington to advise Singapore Exchange and any other relevant parties of that fact," Mr Wagar told ST.

On Wednesday morning before the market opened, Axington requested a trading halt, pending the release of an announcement. Shares in the professional advisory services firm tumbled 13.6 per cent or S$0.03 to close at S$0.19 on Tuesday.

BN Group has since withdrawn a press statement issued last month relating to a purported private meeting with Mr Obama.

Axington's board includes Evangeline Shen Che of BN Group, which grabbed headlines last week when it announced that it held talks to take over English football club Newcastle United.


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BN Group is co-founded by Ms Shen, a Chinese jewellery merchant, as well as Terence Loh and Nelson Loh.

The Singaporean Loh cousins are Axington's controlling shareholders via Dorr Global Healthcare, while Ms Shen is the non-independent chairman of Axington.

The Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) has "engaged" Novus Corporate Finance, the continuing sponsor of Axington, over how it has assessed the "experience, expertise, character and integrity" of Ms Shen.

SGX RegCo said on Monday night that it expects a response from Novus soon. The Business Times has reached out to the sponsor for comment.

Separately, the Lohs have also taken down the website of a foundation linked to them, saying that it was put up "prematurely". The Loh Brothers Foundation at the Web address lohbrothersfoundation.org was removed on Tuesday evening, ST reported.

The website claimed SGX RegCo chief executive Tan Boon Gin, as well as Senior Counsel Sreenivasan Narayanan as its board members among others.

ST understands that Mr Tan is not a board member of the foundation, though Mr Sreenivasan is a board member.

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