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2 more weeks given to Terence Loh for debt repayment plan to avoid going bankrupt

Novena Global Healthcare which he cofounded owes millions to banks and is accused of irregularities by accounting firm

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Singapore—Embattled businessman Terence Loh has been given an additional two weeks to formulate a debt repayment plan so he can avoid bankruptcy.

A lawyer for Mr Loh, 43, the co-founder of  Novena Global Healthcare (NGH), said on Thursday (Apr 15) that he needed more time to come up with a plan to pay NGH creditor Maybank, The Straits Times (ST) reported.

This is the third time that Mr Loh’s bankruptcy case has been adjourned.

Maybank has been seeking to recover more than S$3 million from Mr Loh, who is the guarantor for the loan the bank granted the Singapore subsidiary of Novena Global Healthcare Group (NGH).

In November 2020, Maybank started bankruptcy proceedings against Mr Loh.

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NGH also owes Citibank, United Overseas Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank millions of dollars.

In January, Mr Loh asked creditors for additional time to put together a repayment scheme.

This is quite the reversal of fortune for Mr Loh.

He and his cousin Nelson Loh, a co-founder of NGH, were two of the three principals of the Bellagraph Nova Group, reported to be a serious contender for buying the English Premier League football club Newcastle United in August  last year.

In January, Mr Nelson Loh, 41, was not able to pay more than $14 million in outstanding debts that he owed DBS Bank. The Singapore High Court has since adjudged him a bankrupt, according to ST.

Moreover, Novena Global Healthcare Group faces accusations of having used unauthorised signatures of accounting firm Ernst & Young in its financial statements. 

The cousins have since separated their business interests.

ST reports Mr Terence Loh as having said that he is trying to recover value from his other businesses so that he can pay his creditors, including the possible sale of one chain of clinics under a Novena Global Healthcare Group subsidiary, Novu Aesthetics.

However, all five of Novu Aesthetics’ outlets were closed suddenly in March. There are hundreds of patients who still have prepaid treatment packages they have yet to claim, ST added.

The clinics were reportedly shut due to a lack of funds, with some clinic staff owed back pay.

Last year, a few days after the Bellagraph Nova Group’s bid to buy Newcastle United went public,  Reuters reported that the firm had admitted to having doctored photos of former US President  Barack Obama in some of its marketing materials.

A month later, it was reported that Novena Global Healthcare Group was under investigation after accounting firm Ernst and Young filed a police report over unauthorised signatures on the group’s financial statements.

While Ernst and Young said it had served as the auditor of a Singapore subsidiary of the group in 2017, it clarified that it did not sign off on the documents of Novena Global Healthcare Group.

In a statement sent to AFP, a spokesperson for the accounting firm said “Ernst & Young LLP were never the auditors of Novena Global Healthcare Group (incorporated in Cayman Islands).”

At that time, Terence Loh denied any wrongdoing through his lawyer.

Shortly after this, Singapore regulators said they were investigating several companies linked to the Loh cousins, including Novena Global Healthcare and Novena Life Sciences.

/TISG

Read also: Loh cousins go from bid to buy Newcastle United to bankruptcy woes in a few short months

Loh cousins go from bid to buy Newcastle United to bankruptcy woes in a few short months

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