Singapore freezes SG$4.7 billion of Hin Leong owners’ assets

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Singapore’s High Court has issued an order to freeze up to US$3.5 billion (SG$4.7 billion) of assets belonging to the Lim family, the founders of collapsed oil trader Hin Leong Trading. The assets include insurance policies, cash, shares and properties in Singapore and Australia.

The move, according to a report by Bloomberg, could be one of the largest such injuctions in Singapore’s history.

The family, headed by 79-year-old Lim Oon Kuin, will be asked by the attorneys of liquidator Goh Thien Phong to disclose their assets to the court, the report said, citing an email sent to creditors informing them of the judgement. However, the Lim family still has an option to lodge an appeal against the decision.

The freeze order applies to Oon Kuin, as well as his children Evan and Huey Ching, who were both directors of the company.

Creditors, including major banks HSBC and DBS, are looking to recover the US$3.5 billion owed by Hin Leong. To meet these obligations, the Lims have sold several assets, including a 41{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} stake in a Singapore commercial storage facility to state-backed operator Jurong Port Pte. The family has also sold off dozens of ships owned by its Xihe Group business.

Hin Leong was once the largest independent oil trader in Singapore, but it collapsed after failed bets on oil prices last year. The misjudgement revealed hidden losses and caused allegations of fraud to emerge.

Oon Kuin now faces charges of forgery and related offences. He has since denied the allegations made by HSBC, which accuse him of using forged documents to obtain financing from the lender.

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