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Hin Leong founder OK Lim charged with forgery offence, S$3m bail sought
THE boss of stricken Singapore oil trader Hin Leong Trading, Lim Oon Kuin, was charged in court on Friday with abetment of forgery for the purpose of cheating.
The charge arose from investigations by the Commercial Affairs Department into Hin Leong, the Singapore Police Force said in a press statement.
The charge relates to the Hin Leong founder, also known as OK Lim, instigating a Hin Leong employee to forge a document purportedly issued by UT Singapore Services.
The document stated that Hin Leong had transferred more than one million barrels of gasoil to China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corp.
The document was allegedly used to secure more than US$56 million in trade financing from a financial institution.
The police said that investigations are ongoing into other offences allegedly committed by Lim.
The Business Times (BT) understands the deputy public prosecutor has sought a court bail amount of S$3 million for the billionaire, who is in his late 70s.
The next mention will take place on Sept 25 at 3pm.
The offence of abetment of forgery for the purpose of cheating, punishable under Section 468 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code carries a punishment of an imprisonment term of up to 10 years and a fine.
On Thursday, a Singapore High Court appointed Grant Thornton Singapore as interim judicial managers for Xihe Holdings, which is owned by Lim and his son, BT reported.
Back in April, BT also wrote that Lim, seen as Singapore’s icon in the oil trading arena, had given up his board and management posts at Hin Leong as a US$4 billion debt pile and potential scrutiny of the company's books threatened to bring it down.
It also emerged then that Hin Leong suffered some US$800 million of losses from futures trading that were not reflected in its financial statements, according to sources.
The Singapore police in late April confirmed, in response to a BT query, that it had launched an investigation into the debt-laden firm. Sources said the probe followed a report lodged by Hin Leong’s creditor bank as the commodity trader faced mounting claims from creditors and clients after oil prices tanked and caused a crippling cash crunch.
Additional reporting by Tay Peck Gek