Ng Yu Zhi (born c. 1987),[1] also known as Ng You Zhi,[2][3] is a Singaporean alleged fraudster. The former director of Envy Global Trading, he was charged in March 2021 with running the largest Ponzi scheme[1] in the history of Singapore, worth about S$1.5 billion.

Business careerEdit

Ng founded and directed Envy Asset Management and Envy Global Trading.[4] He was a major shareholder in several eateries, including Cicada in Clarke Quay and Nishikane and Sake Labo in Stanley Street.[5] He also invested in a range of other business, including an interior design firm and a veterinary clinic.[6] According to the Business Times, Ng was also an "increasingly visible figure in Singapore's philanthropic community" who had a "positive public image" until his arrest,[1] with the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore commending him in August 2020 for his philanthropy.[2]

Fraud allegationsEdit

Following a probe in November 2020 by the Commercial Affairs Department into suspicious activities carried out by his two companies,[7] Ng was arrested on 16 February 2021.[8] On 22 March 2021, he was charged with cheating and "being a party to fraudulent trading". He posted S$1.5 million bail and remained under 24-hour monitoring.[9] The following month, he was charged with forging bank documents.[10] In July 2021, his bail was raised to S$4 million.[11]

According to the prosecution, as part of an alleged Ponzi scheme that stretched from October 2017 till February 2021,[12] Ng courted investors for funds to purchase nickel metal from a company called Poseidon Nickel at a discounted price. The nickel would be resold for a profit to BNP Paribas Commodity Futures or Raffemet; Ng allegedly guaranteed his investors three-month profits averaging 15 per cent.[8] However, independent investigators alleged that the nickel being traded was nonexistent,[8] and that between S$300 million and S$474 million was transferred to Ng's personal bank accounts.[1][13] About S$1.5 billion was invested in the alleged scam, with S$731 million returned to investors,[14] and around S$1 billion owed to them.[15] Ng's alleged scam reportedly ensnared some 300 victims;[16] if convicted, Ng would have had executed the largest investment fraud in the history of Singapore.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

Ng is married to Fujian native Coco Cai (born c. 1991), with whom he has one child.[1] He lived with his family in a rented three-storey bungalow in Bukit Timah and owned a penthouse in Orchard Road.[1] He reportedly had a vast collection of sports cars and other luxury goods worth around S$100 million—including the only Pagani Huayra in Singapore—which was seized by the Commercial Affairs Department in 2021 as part of investigations into his alleged fraud.[17]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Tan, Angela (16 July 2021). "Diamonds, nickel – and S$1.46b of failed promises". Business Times.  
  2. ^ a b Cang, Alfred; Ramli, David; Chanjaroen, Chanyaporn (16 April 2021). "Wunderkind's alleged $970 million fraud jolts Singapore". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  3. ^ "HReasily Receives US$5 Million Investment from Envy Capital". Asiaone. 11 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Singapore Charges 33-Year-Old in Alleged $750 Million Fraud". Bloomberg News. 23 March 2021.  
  5. ^ Lim, Joyce (1 August 2021). "Envy ex-director's eateries – one shut, two up for sale". The Straits Times.  
  6. ^ Lim, Joyce (4 August 2021). "Curtain falls on business empire of Ng Yu Zhi, who is behind billion-dollar Envy 'nickel trading scheme'". The Straits Times.  
  7. ^ "Businessman charged with cheating and fraud involving S$1 billion in nickel trading scheme". Today. 23 March 2021.
  8. ^ a b c Leong, Grace (20 July 2021). "How Ng Yu Zhi allegedly perpetrated the billion-dollar Envy 'nickel trading scheme'". The Straits Times.  
  9. ^ a b Sun, David (22 March 2021). "Singapore businessman linked to alleged fraud of record $1 billion charged". The Straits Times.
  10. ^ Wong, Shiying (27 April 2021). "S'pore businessman Ng Yu Zhi, linked to alleged fraud of record $1 billion, hit with 2 more charges". The Straits Times.
  11. ^ Chen, Lin (6 July 2021). "Singapore ups bail of alleged billion-dollar fraudster over escape fears". Reuters.
  12. ^ "Press Release". Singapore Police Force. 22 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Vickers Venture Partners ensnared by alleged billion-dollar nickel fraud". The Straits Times. 7 May 2021.
  14. ^ Lim, Joyce (24 June 2021). "$1.5b bogus trading scheme: Firms linked to suspect being wound up". The Straits Times.
  15. ^ Lam, Lydia (28 June 2021). "S$1b Envy Global nickel investment case: Ex-director gets more charges involving S$284 million". Channel News Asia.
  16. ^ Tay, Tian Wen (28 June 2021). "Will the Envy misstep tarnish what could be Vickers' 'best year'?". Tech in Asia.  
  17. ^ Lim, Joyce (1 April 2021). "Luxury cars among $100m of assets seized from Envy director involved in alleged $1b fraud". The Straits Times.