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Envy Founder Ng Yu Zhi in $1.1 Billion Nickel Trading Fraud Bail Raised from S$4 Million to S$6 Million for Flight Risk, Case to be Heard at Singapore High Court with Power to Give Jail Sentences Exceeding 20 Years

21st January 2023 | Singapore

Envy Global Trading founder Ng Yu Zhi who is going on trial for alleged $1.1 billion (S$1.46 billion) nickel trading fraud, had his bail raised from S$4 million to S$6 million for increased flight risk after the case is scheduled to be heard at the Singapore High Court with power to give jail sentences exceeding 20 years.  Ng Yu Zhi is facing 105 criminal charges for fraud in nickel trading investment scheme (including cheating, criminal breach of trust, forgery, fraud & money laundering).  The prosecution had submitted to the Singapore High Court that Ng Yu Zhi had received a total of S$486.2 million from the S$1.46 billion collected by his 2 firms, Envy Asset Management (EAM) and Envy Global Trading (EGT).   More info below

“ Envy Founder Ng Yu Zhi in $1.1 Billion Nickel Trading Fraud Bail Raised from S$4 Million to S$6 Million for Flight Risk, Case to be Heard at Singapore High Court with Power to Give Jail Sentences Exceeding 20 Years “

 

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Founder of Envy Asset Management & Envy Global Trading Ng Yu Zhi

Singapore | Leading financial centre in Asia

In 2021, Ng Yu Zhi was arrested for alleged $1.1 billion (S$1.46 billion) nickel trading fraud after a probe in 2020 by Singapore authorities (Commercial Affairs Department), promising returns averaging 15% every 3 months or 60% a year. Envy would buy nickel from Australian supplier Poseidon,  and will be sold to otherr parties including BNP Paribas and Singapore-based trading company Raffemet.  The prosecution said that the companies (Envy) did not purchase any nickel and the forward contracts did not exist, and the documents were forged.  

Ng Yu Zhi, a Singaporean, was reported to lead a lavish lifestyle with monthly expenses of around $2 million.  His expenses include flying on private jet, butler & chauffeur services, nightclubs, luxury cars including a the only Pagani Huayra Italian supercar in Singapore and a Porsche 911 GT3.  

Investors in Ng Yu Zhi nickel trading schemes include high profile lawyers and investment managers including Chairman Vickers Capital (Venture Capital) Finian Tan ($19.2 million), Temasek General Counsel Pek Siok Lan ($5.5 million), former Singapore Law Society President Thio Shen Yi and Criminal lawyer Sunil Sudheesan.  Singapore central bank Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) also reported Envysion Wealth Management lost at least $35 million.

 

Singapore Central Bank MAS Statement – Envy Asset Management and Envy Global Trading Not Licensed by Singapore MAS

Monetary Authority of Singapore

2021 March – Referring to the charges of cheating and fraudulent trading brought in the State Courts against Ng Yu Zhi, a director of Envy Asset Management Pte Ltd (EAM) and Envy Global Trading Pte Ltd (EGT), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said that EAM and EGT are not licensed by MAS. 

EAM and EGT are believed to have been engaged in an investment fraud scheme between October 2017 and February 2021 involving the purported trading of nickel. Firms that deal in or invest funds for qualified investorsIncludes (i) accredited investors (e.g. individuals with more than $2 million in net personal assets) and (ii) institutional investors (e.g. financial institutions). in physical assets (i.e. not capital markets productsRefers to securities, units in collective investment schemes (e.g. funds and unit trusts), derivatives contracts and spot foreign exchange contracts (for purposes of leveraged trading).) are not required to be licensed by MAS. This approach is broadly similar to that taken in other major financial centres. MAS is nevertheless examining EAM’s and EGT’s investment documents and other available evidence to see if they have been engaging in capital markets products or in any activity that would have required the two firms to obtain a MAS licence. 

On 19 March 2020, MAS had placed EAM on the Investor Alert List, to highlight that EAM may have been wrongly perceived as being licensed by MAS. MAS had received public feedback that EAM had told customers that it was in the process of applying for a licence from MAS, when in fact no such application had been submitted. MAS subsequently received further information on transactions carried out by EAM, as well as its related entity, EGT. MAS conducted a deeper review and shared its findings with the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD). 

Mr Ng is alleged to have cheated Envysion Wealth Management Pte Ltd (EWMPL) and its founder and CEO, Shim Wai Han, of at least $48 million. EWMPL is a MAS-licensed fund manager. Following CAD’s commencement of investigations into EGT in February 2021, MAS issued directions to EWMPL to: 

  • cease accepting new monies for investment into EGT’s nickel scheme; 
  • inform affected investors of the Police investigation into EGT and the fund’s status; and 
  • appoint an independent third party to oversee all transactions of the fund’s bank accounts. 

MAS is closely monitoring EWMPL’s implementation of the directions, to ensure that investors are treated fairly.

MAS is also conducting a supervisory review of EWMPL to ascertain if there have been governance or risk management failures by its board and senior management. MAS expects licensed fund managers to practise robust governance to safeguard the interest of their investors. This includes performing proper due diligence before undertaking investments and addressing concentration and other risks to investors. 

Notwithstanding that EAM and EGT are not licensed by MAS, MAS is concerned with the scale of the alleged investment fraud scheme. MAS, CAD and MoneySense have repeatedly advised investors to be aware of the risks of dealing with entities that are not regulated by MAS. MAS is working closely with CAD to ascertain the number of individuals and companies that may have suffered losses. The Singapore authorities will continue to work together to take swift action against persons suspected of perpetrating fraudulent activity.




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