Shipping tycoon OK Lim faces second forgery charge

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Published on September 28, 2020 00:36 by

The Maritime Executive

Singaporean oil and shipping tycoon Lim Oon Kuin (also known as OK Lim) is facing a second charge of inducing forgery in connection with an allegedly fraudulent loan application.

According to prosecutors, Lim asked an executive at his company Hin Leong Trading to falsify an email to client China Aviation Oil (Singapore). The email described a sale that allegedly did not take place, and it was “submitted to a financial institution to secure over $56 million in trade financing,” prosecutors claimed.

This is the second charge related to the same alleged offence. In a previous filing, prosecutors accused OK Lim of asking a contracting officer to falsify a document on the letterhead of UT Singapore Services, a tank farm operator on Jurong Island. The document mentions a transfer of around one million barrels of diesel to China Aviation Oil (Singapore) in mid-March. Along with the forged email described above, this document was then submitted to a financial institution as part of an allegedly fraudulent loan application.

If convicted, Lim could face a fine and up to 10 years in prison for each charge.

The charge is the latest in a series of serious setbacks for the Lim family and its businesses, which have entered bankruptcy and receivership proceedings. The court-appointed director of Hin Leong Trading, PricewaterhouseCoopers, is suing Lim and his immediate family members to recover a total of approximately $3.5 billion in losses they allegedly caused by “handling Hin’s accounts.” Leong by irregular accounting entries” and other fraudulent practices. The lawsuit alleges that OK Lim, his daughter Huey Ching and his son Chee Meng deliberately hid business losses and made the business appear profitable long after it became insolvent. Their methods allegedly involved overstating the company’s inventory and accumulating more debt by deceiving lenders.

Lim confirmed the losses in a court filing in April, saying he was responsible for the company’s inaccurate financial statements. “In this regard, I had given instructions to the finance department to prepare accounts without showing losses and told them that I would be responsible if anything went wrong,” Lim said in the filing.

Ernst & Young, the legal director of Lim-controlled shipping company Ocean Tankers, alleges that the company transferred $19 million to the Lim family’s personal bank accounts shortly before the company asked the courts for a debt relief. E&Y filed a civil suit to try to recover the funds.

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