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Newcastle’s Singapore suitors face new probe as woes mount

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Singapore regulators said Friday they are investigating several companies linked to two local entrepreneurs seeking to buy English football club Newcastle United, adding to concerns about the bid.

Little-known Bellagraph Nova Group, founded by the Singaporean pair and a Chinese business partner, announced last month it was in “advanced talks” to buy Newcastle.

But the bid became mired in controversy after reports emerged of manipulated photos purporting to show former US president Barack Obama in a meeting with the founders in Paris, and other inconsistent claims.

Police have also said they are investigating a firm linked to the Singapore businessmen, Terence and Nelson Loh.

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In the latest development, Singapore’s accounting and corporate regulatory authority said it was taking “enforcement action” against two companies linked to the Lohs.

Novena Global Healthcare and Novena Life Sciences are accused of failing to file annual returns or hold their annual general meetings.

The regulator is “also looking into other related registered entities” for the same reasons, it said in a statement to AFP. The companies could face hefty fines if found guilty.

BN Group’s bid came after a Saudi-backed consortium withdrew its offer to buy Newcastle in late July, following a months-long wait for Premier League approval.

As well as the doctored Obama photos, the company has made other questionable claims, including that it is headquartered at a prestigious Paris address. The firm blamed “errant individuals” for the manipulated pictures.

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