Accused fraudster of US$1.1 billion nickel trading scam gets more charges
SINGAPORE — A Singapore businessman accused of cheating investors in a US$1.1 billion nickel trading fraud was slapped with fresh charges, bringing the total number he faces to 105.
The 12 new charges handed to Ng Yu Zhi on Monday (28 March) alone amount to over $139 million which Ng allegedly transferred, converted, or acquired, according to charge sheets seen by Yahoo Finance Singapore. Some of these monies were used to buy luxury cars, insurance policies, and shares while other funds were sent to foreign bank accounts.
Ng, 33, the director of Envy Asset Management (EAM) and Envy Global Trading (EGT), promised varying returns averaging 15 per cent over three months to investors, some of whom were high-profile individuals.
Between October 2017 and February 2021, the two companies raised at least $1 billion for the purported sale and purchase of nickel, which allegedly did not take place. Instead, Ng is accused of splurging the monies on a lavish lifestyle, including buying properties for women.
He was first charged in March last year with cheating an individual and a fund management company of at least $48 million and two counts of being a party to his two companies’ businesses that were carried out for fraudulent purposes.
One year on…
Since his first court appearance in March last year, Ng was handed fresh charges progressively over the year bringing his total charges to 105. These comprise forgery, cheating, converting or transferring criminal proceeds, criminal breach of trust as a director, and fraudulent trading under the Companies Act.
Ng is said to have misappropriated $201.2 million from EGT while he was its director between August 2020 and February last year,
While initially released on $1.5 million bail and an electronic monitoring scheme, Ng’s bail sum was raised to $4 million by a district court after plans by others to help Ng flee Singapore were uncovered in June last year. However, the extent of Ng’s involvement in the plans was uncertain as those arranging for his escape had not managed to contact him.
Arguing for Ng to be remanded, the prosecution also pointed to investigations which showed that Ng had transferred substantial assets — at least $15.1 million from EGT and EAM — to a private company Greenstone Global Pte Ltd, which was used to acquire assets and remit assets to third parties overseas.
Ng had used a significant amount of money — suspected to be linked to his fraudulent scheme — to buy property for at least three women who moved overseas, one of whom he had a child with.
Among those allegedly conned by Ng include notable names such as criminal lawyer Sunil Sudheesan, former president of the Law Society Thio Shen Yi, general counsel for Temasek International Pek Siok Lan, chairman of Vickers Capital Group Finian Tan, and the chief executive of Chuan Hup Holdings Terence Peh.
Ng is said to have deceived Sunil on no less than three occasions between October 2020 and January last year, by tricking the lawyer into believing that he was buying a proportion of the total receivables which EGT was to receive from Raffemet, a trading company, even though EGT did not enter such forward contracts with Raffemet. This allegedly resulted in Sunil consenting to EGT’s retention of more than $1 million.
In the same manner, Ng supposedly swindled Thio out of more than $87,000, Pek of nearly $6 million, Peh of $3 million, Tan of US$19 million (S$26 million) between September 2020 and January last year.
What he did with the funds
Ng allegedly splurged $100 million of investors’ monies on cars, jewellery, property, shares, insurance policies, and art work. Ng spent nearly $21 million on supercars such as a Pagani Huayra Coupe, a McLaren, Aston Martin Rapide, Ferrari 488 Pista Spider, and an Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, another more than $15 million on jewellery and luxury watches, including from brands Richard Mille, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet, and over $20 million for properties at Jervois Road, Bussorah Street, Emerald Hill Road and Coldstream Avenue.
In August last year, the High Court granted the applications by interim judicial managers led by a KPMG partner to wind up EGT, EAM, and Envy Management Holdings. Separate lawsuits were filed by investors seeking to claim some $50 million from Ng and the companies.
Ng’s case is fixed for a pre-trial conference on 10 May.
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