Singapore—A ‘wunderkind’ trader was charged last month with four counts of fraud for allegedly raising at least S$1 billion on nonexistent commodity trades, which he spent on a Pagani Huarya supercar, a three-story villa, and other such luxuries.
Ng Yu Zhi, 33, amassed a fortune on lies to investors, reports Bloomberg..
According to the police, this is one of Singapore’s biggest suspected investment fraud schemes. It is also only the latest in a row of scandals, including oil giant Hin Leong.
Even though there is little known about Ng’s transactions, court proceedings show that he gained investors by claiming average quarterly gains of 15 per cent, which Bloomberg says rivals the performance of the best hedge fund managers around the globe.
At present, Ng is free on a S$1.5 million bail, but is subject to electronic monitoring. His lawyer Davinder Singh, the executive chairman of Davinder Singh Chambers, did not respond to Bloomberg’s queries.
Whether or not the disgraced trader has entered a plea is still unknown.
The Commercial Affairs Department seized S$100 million of assets from Ng, including the Pagani Huayra supercar, which is valued at between S$7 million and S$8 million; as well as his Porsche 911 GT3.
Ng is a director of Envy Asset Management and Envy Global Trading, which are now being investigated by the police.
However, charges have been brought only against the trader.
Envy Asset has ceased to be active, according to a representative of Envy Global in February.
Envy Asset was put on the investor alert list of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) last year, Bloomberg added. Neither of the companies were licensed by MAS, as they were not required to be, since they are firms that invest in physical assets for high-net worth investors.
Over $1 billion had been invested in the two firms. From this amount, S$300 million was put into the trader’s personal account, while approximately S$200 is still unaccounted for.
Bloomberg reports that while investors have been paid S$700 million, the companies still owe them S$1 billion according to outstanding contracts.
In one of his fraudulent dealings, Ng told investors he would buy nickel from Poseidon Nickel Ltd., an Australian firm. However, he never made such purchases.
He also lied to investors when he said he was buying contracts from French lender BNP Paribas SA. According to the charge sheets, he did not.
Envysion Wealth Management, one of the investors in Ng’s companies, spoke to Bloomberg. While the Singaporean fund management company has a name similar to Ng’s firms, Envysion is not connected to the trader.
Ms Shim Wai Han, Envysion’s founder, said her company invested S$48 million in non-existent nickel products.
She said, “Our objective now is just one thing. To get back the money for investors and for ourselves.”
Ms Sim added that her company is working with MAS “to help investors”.
The Straits Times reported on Apr 1 that two of the charges levelled against Ng are that he cheated Envysion and Ms Shim “of at least $48 million”.
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