Ex-Seagate director cleared of corruption

Ex-Seagate director cleared of corruption

A former senior director of logistics at data storage company Seagate Technology was cleared of corruption by the High Court on Wednesday.

Mr Henry Teo Chu Ha, 64, had appealed against his conviction in January of being rewarded for helping trucking company Biforst secure contracts with Seagate.

He was given 20,000 shares in Biforst in 2004 and 11 payouts amounting to $576,225 between 2006 and 2010.

But Justice Choo Han Teck found no evidence that this was anything but an ordinary share transaction, noting that Mr Teo had paid $6,000 for them.

He said the share transfer and subsequent payments, which the defence argued were dividends, could not be said to be rewards.

In August 2004, Seagate's trucking contract for the longhaul route between Singapore and Malaysia expired with its vendor, Richland Logistics Services. Former Richland employee Yap Chin Guan and Mr Teo set up Biforst to tender for the Seagate contract.

Mr Teo asked for a share in Biforst and it was agreed that 20,000 shares would be issued to him through a nominee. Mr Teo paid $6,000 for the shares in September 2004, but did not disclose his interest to his employer.

Biforst got the contract and again in 2005, 2007 and 2010. Justice Choo said the share issue and payments were not corrupt unless they were a reward or inducement for Mr Teo's actions.

The prosecution had not proved the shares were transferred at a gross undervalue or that the payments were a sham.

There may have been a breach of fiduciary duty or employment agreement but not corruption.

The payments, he noted, corresponded to Mr Teo's 22.5 per cent stake and the payments' timing did not match the tender dates.

selinal@sph.com.sg


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