David Ramli, Yoolim Lee, Chanyaporn Chanjaroen and Alfred Cang, 06 May 2021
Technology startup investor Vickers Venture Partners has been caught up in the allegedly fraudulent nickel trading scheme of a Singaporean businessman and his Envy Global Trading, prompting a review by the city-state’s monetary authority.
Vickers would be the highest-profile investor yet to have fallen victim to the suspected $740 million swindle, which Singaporean authorities have said could be the biggest investment fraud the financial hub has ever seen. The alleged mastermind, Ng Yu Zhi, has been charged with a range of suspected crimes from faking the purchase and sale of nickel to falsifying transfers from Citibank and account statements that showed millions in funds.
Licensed fund managers must have policies to manage risks, including proper checks before investments, MAS said in an emailed response to Bloomberg’s queries on Thursday. “We are performing a supervisory review” of Vickers Venture Partners (S) Pte Ltd. to “ascertain that it has met these requirements.”
Vickers Venture’s founder Finian Tan said in a reply to Bloomberg’s query that he was a personal investor in the receivable financing funds floated by Envy Global Trading, which authorities believe involved false contracts. Two Vickers funds were also investors in companies with exposure to the same trade, he said, adding that the initial due diligence process did not raise any red flags.
Tan also confirmed that Ng is among investors in a company that made a small investment in Vickers and another company that put a small amount in one of its seven funds. A representative for Ng didn’t immediately respond to an emailed query.