Airocean ex-directors guilty of fraud

A SINGAPORE court found three former directors of the freight forwarder, Airocean, guilty of fraud. The three will be sentenced on 20 January.

Johnson Chong, the former chief operating officer along with independent directors Ong Seow Yong and Peter Madhavan were found to have made ‘misleading statements’ to the stock market and the ‘reckless failure’ to disclose relevant information. Chong and Madhaven were also found guilty of insider trading.

The three stand to be sentenced to many years in jail and potentially millions of dollars in fines.

Madhavan and Chong were also convicted of consenting to the company’s ‘reckless failure’ to disclose relevant information, while Chong was also found guilty of three charges of insider trading.

The crimes relate to an announcement in the media in 2005 that the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) was investigating the then chief executive officer, Thomas Tay (right). Airocean’s board claimed Tay was not being targeted by the investigation, which was looking into “some other companies in the air cargo industry”. Tay was later convicted of bribery.

Deputy public prosecutor, Jeffrey Chan, said: “These were the same persons [who] decided to suppress the information on the CPIB investigations into Thomas and had managed to keep this from the public all that while.”

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