Hin Leong director accused of instructing IT manager to 'permanently dispose' backups on company servers
SINGAPORE: A Hin Leong Trading director was charged with allegedly instructing an employee to "permanently dispose" of previous backups of information on the company's computer servers.
Lim Huey Ching, 53, the daughter of Hin Leong founder Lim Oon Kuin, was charged in court on Wednesday (Aug 4) with one count of obstructing the course of justice.
Investigations by the Commercial Affairs Department into Hin Leong revealed that sometime on or about Apr 13, 2020, Lim Huey Ching had allegedly instructed a company IT manager Lim Chin to ensure that deleted items from the company's computer servers could not be recovered.
She is also accused of asking the IT manager to ensure that previous backups of information on the company's computer servers were permanently disposed of, according to charge sheets.
"Such instructions allegedly took place at a time when Hin Leong was facing probable civil or criminal proceedings," the police said in a news release.
Lim Huey Ching is set to return to court later this month. Her bail was set at S$50,000.
If found guilty of obstructing the course of justice, she could be jailed for up to seven years, fined, or both.
Her father Lim Oon Kuin, better known as OK Lim, is facing 130 charges, including 68 for cheating, 47 for abetment of forgery, 14 for abetment for forgery for the purpose of cheating and one for abetment of forgery of a valuable security.
Hin Leong, one of Asia's largest oil traders, was placed under so-called judicial management in April last year after banks demanded repayment of loans as oil prices crashed amid the COVID-19 pandemic - a collapse that revealed earlier financial troubles.
An affidavit signed by OK Lim cited the dramatic collapse in global oil prices – brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak and a price war among the oil majors – and a lack of hedging policies among factors behind the company’s financial distress.
The affidavit, which said OK Lim was resigning immediately as director of the family-held company, did not specify over how many years the losses were incurred.
Hin Leong is struggling to repay debts of about US$3.85 billion.