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Hin Leong founder OK Lim charged in Singapore court for abetment of forgery for cheating

Singapore — Singapore's oil tycoon and founder of petroleum trading company Hin Leong Trading, Lim Oon Kuin or OK Lim, was charged in court on Aug. 14 with abetment of forgery for the purpose of cheating, Singapore Police Force or SPF said in a statement on its website.

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"The charge, which arises from investigations by the Commercial Affairs Department into Hin Leong, relates to Lim Oon Kuin instigating a Hin Leong employee to forge a document purportedly issued by UT Singapore Services Pte Ltd," the statement said.

"The document stated that Hin Leong had transferred more than one million barrels of gasoil to China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corporation Ltd," it said, adding that "the document was allegedly used to secure more than $56 million in trade financing from a financial institution."

The police also said investigations were ongoing into other offences allegedly committed by OK Lim.

"The offence of abetment of forgery for the purpose of cheating, punishable under Section 468 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224, carries a punishment of an imprisonment term of up to 10 years and a fine," the police statement said.

SPF had confirmed in April that investigations related to Hin Leong were being conducted but had not provided additional details.

This was around the same time that Hin Leong, one of Singapore's largest homegrown independent oil traders, had come under scrutiny by lenders for defaulting on payments, which eventually led to the company seeking bankruptcy protection and being put under court-ordered judicial management.

The interim judicial manager report in June pointed out a wide range of alleged irregularities that included financial account manipulation, forged documentation, assets overstated by $3 billion, fabricated gains from derivatives trading and fictitious profits from sales invoices.

The report also found evidence of accumulated derivatives trading losses of about $808 million over the past 10 years, in line with OK Lim's affidavit filed in court in April.

OK Lim, who has featured on the Forbes list of Singapore's richest people, and his family control other energy infrastructure assets including petroleum tank farm Universal Terminal, ship chartering firm Ocean Tankers and shipholding company Xihe Holdings.