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Pine Capital seeks trading suspension amid allegations of lapses, conflict of interest

CATALIST-LISTED investment firm Pine Capital Group's board has recommended that the trading of the company's shares be suspended with immediate effect, in a Singapore Exchange (SGX) filing on Thursday.

The board said it has "received numerous allegations from various parties concerning, inter alia, its sole operating subsidiary, Advance Capital Partners Asset Management Private Limited (ACPAM) and its operations, including allegations in respect of potential conflict ofinterest and possible lapses in internal control".

The board said it "has been looking into the allegations and needs time to gather the relevant information and take the necessary action subject to appropriate advice".

On March 19, ACPAM received a notice of termination of the management agreement between it and Advance Opportunities Fund I.

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In view of the allegations as well as the notice of termination, Pine Capital said its board is of the view that there is no clarity of the company's state of affairs, and it is "unable to ascertain that all material information pertaining to the company and its subsidiaries and their operation have been announced and disclosed".

In consultation with SGX, the board will appoint an independent reviewer to investigate the allegations received since January 2019, subject to SGX being satisfied with the appointment, scope and terms of reference. Details will be announced in due course.

Further details on the allegations and the state of affairs in ACPAM will be announced in due course, said Pine Capital, adding that it will make announcements as and when appropriate to update shareholders on the matter.

The announcement follows the resignation of Pine Capital's interim chief executive officer and executive chairman Tan Choon Wee effective March 1, in view of a requisition letter by shareholders to remove him and two others as directors.

The two others, independent directors Chong Chee Hoong and Roy Ling, resigned effective March 18. This was because they were unable to obtain sufficient information in a timely manner to discharge fiduciary responsibilities and were not able to make an assessment on the state of affairs of the group, according to a separate SGX filing.

Pine Capital shares closed down 50 per cent at 0.1 Singapore cent on Thursday.