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

Terence Loh, 43, is now facing bankruptcy proceedings and Nelson Loh, 41 has already been adjudged bankrupt by the Singapore High Court for outstanding loans

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Singapore—The last six months have certainly been eventful for cousins Terence and Nelson Loh, the co-founders of Novena Global Healthcare.

In August of last year, they were two of the three principals of the Bellagraph Nova Group, a serious contender for buying the English Premier League football club Newcastle United.

But more recently they’ve made the headlines for their financial woes.

On Friday (Jan 29), the straitstimes.com (ST) reported that Mr Terence Loh, 43, is now facing bankruptcy proceedings and has had to ask creditors for additional time to put together a scheme for repayment.

His cousin, 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.

Novena Global Healthcare Group also owes Citibank, United Overseas Bank, Maybank and Standard Chartered Bank millions of dollars.

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Moreover, the group faces accusations of having used unauthorised signatures of accounting firm Ernst & Young in its financial statements.

And now, Maybank is trying to recover more than S$3 million from Mr Terence Loh, as the guarantor for the loan the bank granted the Singapore subsidiary of the group.

A lawyer for Maybank, Ng Yeow Khoon, told ST, “Terence has asked for more time to submit a repayment proposal for Maybank’s consideration.”

The cousins have separated their business interests.

At present, the ST quotes Terence Loh as saying that since the separation, his “entire focus is to work very closely with the liquidator and to keep creditors informed of the efforts I’m making to recover value.

These efforts include obtaining the highest possible valuations for the remaining businesses in order to satisfy their claims.”

He told ST previously that he feels “deeply betrayed” by his cousin, who is rumoured to be currently residing in China.

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: Singapore-based firm “should not have used doctored photos of Obama”

Singapore-based firm “should not have used doctored photos of Obama”

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