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SINGAPORE: On Thursday, July 4, Yeo Chee Neng, the former CEO, Group President, and executive director of Swiber Holdings Limited, faced sentencing after being convicted on multiple charges under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA).

The court imposed fines totalling S$310,000 for false statements and insider trading offences, alongside a five-year disqualification from holding directorial or managerial roles in any company.

According to the Singapore Police Force’s released statement, Yeo’s charges stemmed from his involvement in misleading disclosures and insider trading during his time at Swiber.

One significant instance involved Swiber’s subsidiary, Swiber Offshore Construction Pte Ltd (SOC), entering into a Letter of Intent (LOI) for preliminary work on a West African Project.

This LOI outlined plans for Pre-Front End Engineering Design (Pre-FEED), Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) engineering studies, and EPCIC services, with an estimated contract value of approximately US$710 million.

However, the LOI was conditional and subject to review after the FEED study and finalisation of the field development plan.

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SOC was only authorised to spend up to US$2 million for Pre-FEED and FEED work, far less than the announced contract value.

Yeo approved the announcement of this LOI as a significant project award despite knowing its conditional nature.

This misleading disclosure inflated Swiber’s business prospects, potentially misleading investors into purchasing Swiber’s securities.

Investigations into insider trading also revealed that during his tenure as Deputy Group CEO and later as CEO, Yeo had insider knowledge of Swiber’s financial difficulties.

He instructed his wife to sell S$500,000 worth of Swiber debentures before financial problems became public, avoiding substantial personal losses.

Yeo later voluntarily disgorged the profits of S$629,762 gained from these transactions before his sentencing to the State. Additionally, Yeo failed to disclose changes in his and his wife’s holdings of Swiber debentures as required by regulations.

Despite being aware of these transactions, he neglected to inform Swiber promptly, which was required of him as a director and CEO of Swiber.

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The court also considered other charges against Yeo, including his role in Swiber’s failure to disclose essential information to the Singapore Exchange, which contributed to the sentencing.

Seven other former Swiber directors faced similar convictions for approving the misleading announcement about the West African Project.

Each was fined between S$10,000 and S$100,000 and disqualified from corporate directorships for five years.

  1. Raymond Kim Goh, Founder of Swiber and Executive Chairman
  2. Francis Wong Chin Sing, Executive Director and Group CEO
  3. Tay Gim Sin Leonard, Executive Director and Group CFO
  4. Nitish Gupta, Executive Director
  5. Jean Pers, Executive Director
  6. Oon Thian Seng, Independent Director
  7. Chia Fook Eng, Independent Director