Investor fined $200,000 by MAS in first civil penalty for not disclosing shareholding interests

18-Jan-2020 Intellasia | StraitsTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has imposed a civil penalty of $200,000 on Lim Soon Fang for not disclosing changes in, and providing false information regarding his shareholding in Catalist-listed Asia-Pacific Strategic Investments Limited (ASIL).

This is the first such action for breaches of shareholding disclosure requirements under Part VII of the Securities and Futures Act since the civil penalty regime was tightened in November 2012, MAS said in a media release on Friday (January 17).

Lim became a substantial shareholder of the ASIL in October 2013 and traded actively in its shares between October 2013 and October 2014, resulting in changes in his interests in the company that were required to be disclosed under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA).

A substantial shareholder is a person who owns 5 per cent or more of the voting shares of a company.

ASIL changed its name to China Real Estate Grp Ltd in August 2018.

Lim’s trades in ASIL had on multiple occasions also led to him ceasing to be or becoming the company’s substantial shareholder, which are events that must be disclosed, MAS said.

He also provided false information to the company regarding his transaction volume in ASIL shares and his shareholding in the company on three occasions.

Lim, who has paid the fine, admitted that he had been reckless in breaching his disclosure obligations under the SFA and in furnishing false information regarding his shareholding in ASIL to the company, said MAS.

Ms Loo Siew Yee, MAS assistant managing director (policy, payments & financial crime), said: “It is important for substantial shareholders to make timely and accurate disclosure of their interests in listed companies. This enables investors to be aware of changes in the control of a company and make informed decisions when trading in the company’s shares.

“MAS will take appropriate action against any person who disregards these disclosure obligations.”

The civil penalty regime is designed to complement criminal sanctions and became operational at the start of 2004.

It was expanded to include disclosure of interest breaches in November 2012 to allow MAS to take action against flagrant breaches of the disclosure requirements.

The penalty in such cases can range from $50,000 to $2 million.


Category: Singapore

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