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Businessman charged with cheating and fraud involving S$1 billion in nickel trading scheme

SINGAPORE — The director of two companies that are under probe for what is one of the largest financial fraud cases in Singapore was charged with cheating and for being a party to fraudulent trading.

Ng Yu Zhi, 34, is facing two counts of fraudulent trading that was allegedly done through Envy Asset Management and Envy Global Trading between October 2017 and February this year. 

Ng Yu Zhi, 34, is facing two counts of fraudulent trading that was allegedly done through Envy Asset Management and Envy Global Trading between October 2017 and February this year. 

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  • Ng Yu Zhi allegedly raised S$1 billion from activities by two firms where he is the director
  • The firms seemingly promised returns from nickel trading activities that did not take place 
  • Investors were told that there were returns averaging 15 per cent over an investment period of three months
  • Ng is expected to face more charges and has to keep to a curfew while out on bail

 

SINGAPORE — The director of two companies that are under probe for what is one of the largest financial fraud cases in Singapore was charged with cheating and for being a party to fraudulent trading. 

Ng Yu Zhi, 34, director of Envy Asset Management and Envy Global Trading, was charged on Monday (March 22).

Over a period of more than three years, at least S$1 billion has allegedly been invested in the two companies to purportedly finance nickel trading activities. 

The police said in a statement that investors were promised varying returns, which averaged 15 per cent, over an investment period of three months.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said that it is concerned with the scale of the alleged investment fraud scheme and is working closely with the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), which is under the police force, to ascertain the number of individuals and companies that may have suffered losses.

“The Singapore authorities will continue to work together to take swift action against persons suspected of perpetrating fraudulent activity,” it said in a statement on Monday. 

The case will be adjourned to May 17, when the prosecution may likely present more charges. 

Ng allegedly deceived two parties into paying at least S$48 million to Envy Global Trading in connection with its forward contracts with another company Raffemet for the sale of nickel, when there were no such contracts.

He is also facing two counts of fraudulent trading for allegedly being a party to the business carried out for such purposes at Envy Asset Management and Envy Global Trading between October 2017 and February this year. 

In November last year, MAS had informed CAD about the two companies.

After a probe into the activities of the two firms, Ng was then arrested on Feb 16 this year.

Court documents showed that Ng is alleged to have deceived investors into lending money to Envy Asset Management to buy nickel from mining firm Poseidon Nickel Limited, when it did not make any such purchase. 

Ng is also alleged to have cheated investors into entering contracts with Envy Global Trading to support its dealings in selling nickel to BNP Paribas bank when there were no such dealings. 

The police said that over the course of the investigation, dealings in the bank accounts and properties of the firms that were connected to Ng have been stopped, and that the estimated value of the bank accounts and properties “is in the region of S$100 million”. 

Both firms are not licensed by MAS, and Envy Asset Management has been on the authority’s Investor Alert List since March last year.

MAS had received public feedback that Envy Asset Management claimed that it was in the process of applying for a licence, even though no application had been submitted.

The authority also said that Ng had allegedly cheated MAS-licensed fund manager Envysion Wealth Management and its founder and chief executive officer Shim Wai Han of S$48 million. 

If convicted of one count of fraudulent trading, Ng may be jailed up to seven years or fined up to S$15,000, or both. 

If convicted of cheating, Ng may be jailed up to 10 years and shall also be liable to a fine, the police said. 

The bail for Ng is fixed at S$1.5 million and he will be electronically tagged to ensure that he keeps to a curfew between 10pm and 6am. 

MAS added that firms that deal in or invest money for qualified investors in physical assets such as nickel are not required to be licensed by the authority.

However, it is examining investment documents and other available evidence from Envy Asset Management and Envy Global Trading to see if they have been engaging in capital markets products or in any activity that would have required the two firms to obtain a MAS licence.

Related topics

crime court fraud investment MAS Ng Yu Zhi Envy Asset Management Envy Global Trading

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