Man gets 4 months' jail for artificially inflating company's share prices

Man gets 4 months' jail for artificially inflating company's share prices

Channel NewsAsia·2018-01-22 21:05

A courtroom gavel. (Photo: AFP)

SINGAPORE: A man whose actions in 2014 artificially pushed up a company's share prices was on Friday (Jan 19) sentenced to four months' jail for false trading. 

Mok Piak Liang pleaded guilty to four charges, with nine charges taken into consideration by the court for the purpose of sentencing.

Between Sep 24 and Nov 27, 2014, Mok altered the closing price of Wilton Resources, a gold exploration and mining company, by buying its shares at the close of trading hours. 

This occurred on 13 separate trading days, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a media release on Monday (Jan 22). 

"The purchases artificially pushed up the price of Wilton shares, with increases ranging between 5.9 per cent and 22.8 per cent from the previous traded price," MAS said. "The purchases also set the closing price of Wilton shares on all the 13 trading days." 

MAS said that Mok had pledged nearly 29.5 million Wilton shares held under his name towards margin facilities with two financial institutions. 

"If Wilton’s share price were to fall below the margin value, Mok would have needed to top up the margin level in his margin accounts within a timeline as specified by the financial institutions," said MAS.

Mok was convicted following a joint investigation by MAS and the Commercial Affairs Department of the Singapore Police Force.

Mr Lee Boon Ngiap, Assistant Managing Director (Capital Markets), MAS, said: “MAS takes a serious view on any form of false trading and manipulation. Such conduct disrupts genuine price discovery and undermines market integrity, and is prohibited under our securities laws. MAS will not hesitate to take action against anyone who engages in such conduct.”

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