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Trial of John Soh starts on Monday; here's the backstory

Benjamin Cher

SINGAPORE (Mar 22): The long-awaited trial of John Soh, the alleged mastermind behind the manipulation of shares in Blumont, LionGold and Asiasons Capital (now Attilan Group) back in 2013, will start on Monday.

Together with his alleged co-conspirator and girlfriend Quah Su-Ling, he will face evidence painstakingly assembled by investigators over the last five years, and testimony from some of his closest associates who were involved in the massive rise and sudden collapse of the three stocks which wiped out $8 billion from the Singapore market.

On March 20, Goh Hin Calm appeared in a packed courtroom to plead guilty to two of the six charges of aiding and abetting Soh and Quah. Goh, who has been described as a “treasurer” in the operation, was sentenced to jail terms of three years for each of those charges, which are to run concurrently.

Prosecutors say they received indication that he was willing to plead guilty to some of the charges on March 7 this year. Described as a “treasurer” in the operation, Goh had provided extensive assistance to Soh and Quah in the manipulation of shares in the three counters, according to the prosecution’s Statement of Facts.

According to prosecutors, in consequence of Goh’s abetment, Soh and Quah controlled a total of 189 accounts held in the names of 60 individuals and companies at 20 financial institutions, including local and foreign brokerages, as well as international banks. Soh and Quah instructed the trades in these accounts through more than 25 brokers and third-party intermediaries. From Jan 2 to Oct 3, 2013, Soh and Quah were responsible for carrying out trades in about 1.1 billion Blumont shares, constituting 60% of the total traded volume for the entire market in Blumont shares.

From Aug 1, 2012 to Oct 3, 2013, Soh and Quah were responsible for carrying out trades in about 3.4 billion Asiasons shares, constituting 88% of the total traded volume for the entire market in Asiasons shares. During the same period, they were also responsible for carrying out trades in about 4.3 billion LionGold shares, constituting 90% of the total traded volume for the entire market in LionGold shares.

For the most vivid look into the inner workings of what prosecutors have called “the most audacious, extensive and injurious market manipulation scheme ever in Singapore”, click here to read “ Trial of alleged penny stock mastermind begins” in our 8-page special pullout that comes free with Issue 874 of The Edge Singapore which is on sale from today. For the latest updates on this developing story, visit http://dedge.news/crash