Businessman in billion-dollar nickel investment fraud case faces new cheating charges involving S$8 million
SINGAPORE: The director of two companies at the centre of massive investment fraud allegations related to the sale and purchase of nickel was charged on Tuesday (Apr 20) with five more counts of cheating involving at least S$8 million.
Ng Yu Zhi ran Envy Asset Management and Envy Global Trading, allegedly raising money from investors to purchase nickel from Poseidon Nickel Limited and tricking the investors to buy in to a portion of receivables from Envy Global Trading's sale of nickel through forward contracts.
Ng was arrested in February and first charged with cheating and fraudulent trading in March. His two companies owe investors at least S$1 billion, a court heard then.
Tuesday's charges allege that Ng deceived five people to pay at least S$8 million to Envy Global Trading in connection with forward contracts with metals trader Raffemet for the sale of nickel, the police said in a news release.
In reality, there were no such forward contracts, said the police.
With the latest charges, Ng now faces a total of seven counts of cheating six individuals and an entity of more than S$57 million in connection with forward contracts with Raffemet that did not exist.
These include earlier charges of cheating fund manager Envysion Wealth Management and its CEO Shim Wai Han of more than S$48.9 million between September 2020 and January this year.
Ng also faces two charges of fraudulent trading for being party to the businesses of Envy Asset Management and Envy Global Trading carried on for fraudulent purposes, said the police.
Police investigations and recovery efforts are ongoing.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore brought Ng's companies to the attention of the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) in November last year, the police said last month.
Between October 2017 and February this year, Envy Asset Management and Envy Global Trading are believed to have raised more than S$1 billion from investors to "finance nickel trading activities", the police said then. Investors were promised varying returns, averaging 15 per cent every three months.
About S$700 million was paid to investors and S$300 million was transferred to Ng's personal account, a court heard in March. Another S$200 million remains unaccounted for. The CAD has seized assets, including property and bank accounts, from Ng valued at S$100 million.
Ng is currently out on bail, set at S$1.5 million.
If convicted of cheating, Ng faces up to 10 years' jail per charge and a fine. For each charge of fraudulent trading, he could be jailed for up to seven years, fined up to S$15,000 or both.