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

Singapore ups bail of alleged billion-dollar fraudster over escape fears
Ng Yu Zhi, a director of Envy Global Trading, arrives at the State Court in Singapore, on April 20, 2021.
PHOTO: Reuters

SINGAPORE, July 6 - 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 $1.5 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 $4 million from the previous $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.

ALSO READ: KPMG managers back liquidation of Singapore firms in $1b nickel scandal

KPMG, the court-appointed interim judicial managers for Ng's companies, estimate his monthly personal expenditure was about $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 $475 million to Ng from his Envy Group of companies.

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

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