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Investor fined S$200,000 for not disclosing shareholding interests in first such civil penalty: MAS

(PHOTO: REUTERS/Edgar Su/Files)

SINGAPORE — An investor has been slapped with a civil penalty of S$200,000 for not disclosing changes in, and providing false information regarding his shareholding in Catalist-listed Asia-Pacific Strategic Investments Limited (ASIL), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Friday (17 January).

It was the first such action imposed for breaches of shareholding disclosure requirements under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) since the civil penalty regime was broadened for such offences in November 2012, according to an MAS statement.

Lim Soon Fang became a substantial shareholder of ASIL in October 2013. From October 2013 to October 2014, he traded actively in ASIL shares, resulting in changes in his stakes in the company for which he had to disclose the information under the SFA. On multiple occasions, his trades led to him ceasing to be or becoming a substantial shareholder of ASIL.

On four occasions, Lim failed to notify ASIL that he had become a substantial shareholder of the company. In addition, he didn’t inform ASIL of the changes in his interests in the company on 32 occasions and that he had ceased to be a substantial shareholder of the company on five occasions.

He also gave false information to ASIL regarding his shareholding in the company and his transaction volume in its shares on three occasions.

Lim admitted that he had been reckless for his disclosure breaches under the SFA and in giving false information regarding his shareholding in ASIL to the company. He has paid a civil penalty of S$200,000 to MAS, according to the statement.

ASIL changed its name to China Real Estate Group in August 2018.

“It is important for substantial shareholders to make timely and accurate disclosure of their interests in listed companies,” said Loo Siew Yee, assistant managing director for policy, payments & financial crime, at MAS.

“This enables investors to be aware of changes in the control of a company and make informed decisions when trading in the company’s shares.”

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