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Singapore ups bail of alleged billion-dollar fraudster over escape fears

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By Reuters
Singapore ups bail of alleged billion-dollar fraudster over escape fears
Singapore ups bail of alleged billion-dollar fraudster over escape fears   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021
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By Chen Lin and Aradhana Aravindan

SINGAPORE – A Singapore court has tightened bail conditions for a businessman accused of involvement in a bogus, billion-dollar nickel trading scheme after the prosecution said plans were afoot to help him flee the country.

Ng Yu Zhi, a former managing director of trading companies Envy Global Trading (EGT) and an inactive firm, Envy Asset Management, has been implicated by authorities in a fraudulent scheme that raised at least S$1.5 billion ($1.12 billion) from investors.

The prosecution said police had uncovered a plot involving at least three people to help Ng escape the city-state by land or sea, although the investigations did not show the extent of Ng’s involvement.

Ng’s bail was increased to S$4 million from the previous S$1.5 million, according to court proceedings on Monday. Ng’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ng, 34, who was removed as managing director of EGT, faces 31 charges related to scheme, about which he has made no public comment.

KPMG, the court-appointed interim judicial managers for Ng’s companies, estimate his monthly personal expenditure was about S$2 million, including on private jet travel, nightclubs, alcohol, luxury cars and gifts for close associates.

KPMG‘s July 2 report distributed to investors estimated net outflows of about S$475 million to Ng from his Envy Group of companies.

That compared with net inflows of S$841.5 million from investors, some of which was used to pay employees, referral fees and other expenses, according to KPMG.

($1 = 1.3431 Singapore dollars)