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Answers finally for investors burnt by the saga in 2013?

Investors caught by the 2013 penny stock crash may finally get the answers they have been waiting for.
With trial dates expected to be announced shortly, Singapore's High Court could soon hear arguments about "wash trading", forced selling and who held the control over almost 200 trading accounts as it gets set to try the three individuals implicated in the saga.
The historic trial - prosecutors have described the investigations as Singapore's largest securities fraud probe - will take place on a scale rarely seen in market-related cases.
The defendants are looking at more than 370 charges altogether: Malaysian businessman John Soh Chee Wen faces 189 charges, former Ipco International chief executive Quah Su-Ling faces 178 and former interim Ipco CEO Goh Hin Calm faces six. Those charges relate to allegations that they manipulated the stocks of Blumont Group, Asiasons Capital (now called Attilan Group) and LionGold Corp (collectively known as BAL). Those counters climbe…

New MAS rules on short-selling, short-position reports to kick in on Oct 1

Investors with short positions above a certain threshold will soon have to report them to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and not just the bourse operator.
The move, announced on Monday, will affect investors with a short position of at least 0.2 per cent of total issued shares or units or at least S$2 million - whichever is lower - who are trading in securities listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX).
The MAS said the move - which takes effect on Oct 1, 2018 - "will improve transparency on short-selling activities in the securities market and enable investors to make more informed trading decisions".
Short-selling refers to selling securities - such as shares, units or structured warrants - that a trader does not actually own at the time of the sale.
The selling may be "covered", with the seller having borrowed the securities or made arrangements to deliver them.
It may also be "uncovered" or "naked", which is when the seller neither…

Possible new controlling shareholder at Innopac

The planned $5 million stock placement planned by Innopac Holdings could result in compliance professional Jack Lim becoming a new controlling shareholder of the investment holding company.
Mr Lim, described as a private investor who works at an international bank, will take 2.5 billion of the five billion placement shares at the offer price of 0.1 cent a share. That will leave him as the largest single shareholder with a 26.42 per cent stake of Innopac's enlarged share capital.
Innopac shares closed at 0.2 cent on May 25. Trading had been halted from Monday to the end of Wednesday.
Innopac did not disclose who the other placees were but said they were independently procured by the placement agent and did not hold any shares in the company as at May 30.
They are also not directors or substantial shareholders of the firm and are not related to each other in any way, other than being co-investors in the company.
Innopac will use $2.25 million of the $5 million proceeds to support n…

Midas could be insolvent soon amid fraud allegations

Midas Holdings, once a billion-dollar company with a promising future in China's booming rail sector, may join the list of insolvent companies as it falls victim to alleged fraud and misdeeds overseas, leaving minority shareholders in Singapore to pay the price and cry out in desperation for accountability.
Listed on Feb 23, 2004 on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK) on Oct 6, 2010 in a secondary listing, Midas was once favoured as a leading manufacturer of aluminium alloy extrusion products for China's rail transportation sector. At one point, JP Morgan had an almost-8 per cent stake in the company. It is unclear if it still owns Midas shares.
But things took a quick turn for the company, now struggling with law suits filed in China over unauthorised loans by its former chairman Chen Wei Ping, and guarantees involving its Chinese subsidiaries.
Mr Chen, now under probe by China's Economic Crime Investigation Unit for fraud, resigned…

Ezion loses steam after early gains on return to trading

Failing to hold early gains after trading resumes for its counter, offshore and marine (O&M) group Ezion Holdings slipped to negative territory and closed marginally down at 19.4 Singapore cents, down 0.3 cent from its last traded price of 19.7 cents.
The stock ranked the highest traded by volume on Tuesday, with over 251 million shares changing hands. It surged to an intra-day high of 25.5 Singapore cents, but mostly hovered at around 20 Singapore cents in afternoon trading.
Market practitioners pointed to selling pressure coming from the substantial equity dilution that Ezion potentially faces after emerging from a months-long debt-refinancing exercise. Its debt revamp tabled equity swaps and issuance of warrants, including for holders of S$575 million of notes and perpetuals.
Such selling pressure could have outweighed "buy" calls from punters betting on upside from the closure of its refinancing exercise.
Some of Ezion's noteholders have reportedly acted on the …

China police probed former Midas boss over subsidiary's loans: Midas board

Unbeknown to the company, the former executive chairman of troubled railway parts maker Midas Holdings had been under investigation by China's Economic Crime Investigation Unit before his resignation, Midas said on Tuesday.
In an exchange filing, the Midas board said it had learnt that two banks in China's Jilin province had advised Midas subsidiary Jilin Midas Light Alloy (JMLA) that the police had paid visits to their branches to investigate Chen Wei Ping.
The police were from the Economic Crime Investigation Unit and Mr Chen is suspected for fraud relating to certain loans, the board said.
JMLA's two banks - China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China in Jilin - also made requests to JMLA to provide them with explanations within five days from March 30.
In a letter dated March 30, the banks had sought information on JMLA's repayment plans for past due loans, Mr Chen's involvement in certain loans, and the financial and operational conditions of M…

Midas board finds 334m yuan cash shortfall in China unit's account; police report filed

The board of directors of railway parts maker Midas Holdings has filed a police report against Midas subsidiary Jilin Midas Light Alloy (JMLA) in China after checks on its cash balances threw up alarming discrepancies.
The board said on Monday that based on statements obtained over the counter at the Changchun branch of China Merchants Bank, JMLA had just 11,485.40 yuan (S$2,400) in its cash balance at the end of December.
This is a shortfall of more than 334 million yuan from the sum that it had originally reported.
Earlier, Midas's auditors had received a "bank confirmation" that JMLA had unaudited cash balances of 334.4 million yuan at its primary accounts at the end of December.
The discrepancies in JMLA's accounts uncovered by the board date as far back as Dec 31, 2016, when the shortfall between the statements obtained and the earlier "bank confirmation" amounted to more than 352 million yuan.
"In view of the discrepancies, the board had made a …

ISR Capital may need up to US$15m more to carry out work in mining project

ISR Capital on Sunday said that a mining business in which it is trying to acquire a 60 per cent stake may require a further US$10 million to US$15 million of cash to carry out a new phase of work.
Among other things, this next phase includes pilot production, feasibility and engineering studies, as well as environmental impact assessments.
ISR also revealed, in response to queries by the Singapore Exchange (SGX), that the mining business, Tantalum Holding Mauritius (THM), has yet to receive a renewal of its mining licence in Madagascar even though its application was sent in December 2016.
In a filing to the Singapore bourse, ISR Capital, an investment holding company that provides private equity investment and investment advisory, stated that its S$6 million loan to THM has not been fully disbursed. As at end March this year, approximately S$660,000 of its loan to THM has not been utilised, ISR said.
Additionally, the maturity date of its loan to Tantalus Rare Earths AG (TRE AG) ha…

SGX RegCo's tools to keep the investing game clean

When a company is listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX), it is obliged to comply with the listing rules.
Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) has various regulatory tools to enforce them. A wide range of disciplinary sanctions are also available to deal with relevant persons who have breached the rules. "Relevant persons" comprise the issuer, its directors, executive officers and issue managers, and where a company is listed on Catalist, its sponsors and registered professionals.
Participants granted access to SGX markets are similarly expected to comply with the trading rules.
Unusual trading activities by any participant won't be left unaddressed when detected. Upon detecting material concerns in an issuer, SGX RegCo may use its regulatory tools to:
·Alert the market so that investors and shareholders can make informed decisions; ·Contain the situation by highlighting or managing immediate risks to shareholders' interests; and ·Ensure accountability of all rele…

SGX hits Innopac with notice of compliance, seeks review of processes

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) on Friday called on investment holding firm Innopac Holdings to appoint a professional firm to review the group's investment processes and to recommend improvements in controls.
This comes as earlier this year in January, the company was deemed a cash company by SGX, meaning that it should be suspended under listing rules. The company disagreed, saying that it has other investments in properties, joint ventures and available-for-sale investments.
In its notice of compliance, SGX also called on Innopac to undertake an interim audit on its financial results for the full-year ended Dec 31, 2017, and have it completed by May 31, 2018.
"The exchange requires clarity on the following: (i) the company's state of affairs i.e. whether the company is able to operate as a going concern; (ii) whether the company has any active business operations failing which, the company would be designated as a cash company under the listing rules."
The company r…