New Silkroutes Group’s (NSG) CEO and executive director Goh Jin Hian’s passport has been impounded by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) as part of its investigations into the mainboard-listed investment holding firm.
The news has attracted considerable interest since Dr Goh is former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s son. The police probe against NSG is unrelated to the possible legal action against Dr Goh for alleged breaches of his director’s duties at troubled bunker supplier firm Inter-Pacific Petroleum.
NSG disclosed in a Singapore Exchange filing on Wednesday night (30 Sept) that its finance director William Teo’s passport has also been retained by the CAD, along with Dr Goh’s. Neither person has been arrested or charged and no bail has been required to be posted.
The CAD launched an investigation against NSG last month over a possible securities breach. NSG said on Wednesday that it understands that the alleged offence is false trading and market rigging pursuant to Section 197 of the Securities and Futures Act in view of past share buy-backs and acquisitions of shares.
The company claimed that “all share buy-backs conducted by the company previously were in the ordinary course and transacted on the open market and announced in accordance with the share buy-back mandate approved by the shareholders of the company and the SGX-ST’s guidelines and regulations.”
The SGX asked NSG whether Dr Goh and Mr Teo are subjects of the police probe and the company disclosed that CAD and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) “did
not state who the subject of the investigation is” and that “no charges have been made against any person” as far as it is aware.
NSG, however, added that it understands that the company, Dr Goh or Mr Teo “may be the subject of the investigation.”
Meanwhile, the firm has no plans to suspend Dr Goh and Mr Teo from their duties. Making special mention of Dr Goh’s contributions to the company, NSG said: “Dr Goh and Mr Teo have always conducted their duties professionally and in the best interest of the Group.
“Dr Goh has contributed substantially to the Group in its focus on healthcare and energy sector. Dr Goh has also assisted the Group in establishing and maintaining strong relationships with its stakeholders such as the various minority shareholders in the some of the subsidiaries of the Group.
“Dr Goh has also acted above and beyond the duties of an Executive Director when to assist the Group, he extended a personal guarantee as additional security for certain credit facilities to the Group.”
It said: “The nominating committee and the board are of the view that Dr Goh and Mr Teo are suitable to continue as a director and/or executive officer of the company, as investigations are still ongoing and no charges have been made against them.”
The probe against NSG comes about a month after the firm reported a loss in its latest results.
On 27 Aug, the firm reported that it has ended the fourth quarter on 30 June with a net loss of US$2.28 million compared to a profit of US$227,000 recorded in the same quarter a year ago. It reported a full-year loss of US$1.95 million from a previous loss of US$684,000.