SINGAPORE: A businessman at the centre of an alleged billion-dollar nickel investment fraud case has been remanded for about two weeks as he is unable to raise the increased bail of S$6 million sought by the prosecution.
Ng Yu Zhi, former managing director of Envy Global Trading, returned to court via video link from his place of remand on Friday (Feb 3), with his lawyer urging the court to vary his bail conditions.
Ng is accused of being involved in a scheme that cheated investors of about US$1.1 billion (S$1.5 billion).
His lawyer, Dentons Rodyk & Davidson partner Navin Naidu, asked the court to vary the bail conditions so that two sureties or bailors can put up bail of S$4 million and S$2 million each.
The existing bail was for S$6 million bail by one surety, or S$3 million each by two sureties.
"I've spoken to my client while in remand," said Mr Naidu. "His bailors are trying to raise bail, but I'm seeking this third option, in the event that it comes to that, and money is raised to that proportion."
The prosecution did not object but said that bailors generally have to satisfy the court about their "sufficiency" to furnish bail.
They also have to convince the court that the source of the funds is linked back to them.
District Judge Terence Tay granted the defence his application and made available the third option of S$6 million bail being offered by two bailors in the proportion of S$4 million and S$2 million.
Other bail conditions, if the amount is successfully raised, require Ng to surrender his passport, keep to curfew hours of 10pm to 6am, as well as report to the investigating officer every Monday.
He also has to be electronically tagged and cannot enter certain exclusive zones as defined by the prosecution.
Ng's case has been transferred to the High Court, and the first case conference will take place on Mar 31, the court heard.
Ng, 35, was first charged in March 2021 with cheating and fraudulent trading. He now faces 105 charges for offences that include criminal breach of trust and forgery.
He ran Envy Global Trading and Envy Asset Management, raising money from investors to purchase nickel and allegedly tricking investors to buy into a portion of receivables from the sale through forward contracts.
Investors were promised varying returns, averaging 15 per cent every three months, but the companies did not purchase any nickel, the prosecution alleged.
Among Ng's purported victims are a criminal lawyer, a former president of the Law Society of Singapore and a general counsel at Temasek.