Charges in Singapore Front-Running Scheme

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Singapore's financial regulator charged three bankers with front-running stocks in trading incidents dating back to before the financial crisis of 2008-09. It marks the first criminally pursued case of its sort in the city-state.

Leong Chee Wai and Toh Chew Leong, dealers with First State Investments Singapore, and E Seck Peng Simon, a dealer's representative at UOB Kay Hian were charged with front-running, or trading on information not yet available to the bank's clients, according to «The Business Times».

MAS accuses Leong, Simon, and Toh of a large-scale scheme: the trio are alleged to have traded based on information they were privy to on 49 Singapore-listed securities including Allgreen Properties, CapitaLand, City Developments, DBS Group and Keppel Corp, as well as 51 foreign-listed ones in Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Pre-Crisis Trades

It is only MAS' second criminal prosecution since the regulator and Commercial Affairs joined up as an investigative regime last year.

Leong, who is 47, was charged with allegedly procuring Simon to buy 548,000 shares in Allgreen and sell 290,000 through a personal account between 2007 and 2008. The trades are alleged to have been based on inside information from FSI's trading plans.

Alleged Allgreen Scam

The alleged insider trades were conducted before the fund manager had conducted his planned transaction.

Leong is also charged with conspiring with Toh to procure Simon to buy 743,000 Allgreen shares through the same account in 2008 and 2009, again allegedly based on inside information from FSI's trading plans.

Leong's bail has been set at S$300,000, as was Simon's, while Toh's was set at S$250,000. Allgreen was taken private by a Kuok Group subsidiary in 2011.

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