Saturday, January 8, 2011

CAD completes probe, no action to be taken against Aspial CEO

ASPIAL Corporation's chief executive Koh Wee Seng has informed the company that investigations by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) against him, which were launched in December 2009, have concluded and that CAD will take no action against him.

Disclosing this in a statement yesterday, Aspial also said that CAD has returned all documents to the company and Mr Koh on Thursday.

Aspial - previously known as Lee Hwa Holdings - first revealed in December 2009 that Mr Koh was under investigation by the CAD for allegedly breaking rules linked to insider trading.

Specifically, he was being investigated for possible infringements under Section 218 of the Securities and Futures Act, which deals with prohibited conduct by a connected person in possession of inside information.

'I am relieved it's all over. It has been a challenging period for me and I am glad that I can now move on,' Mr Koh said in the Aspial statement.

Over the past year, Mr Koh has continued to be at the helm of the company, 'driving the business to new heights', Aspial added.

Mr Koh is part of the founding family of Aspial, the market leader in Singapore's jewellery industry. The group makes and sells jewellery under the Aspial, Lee Hwa, Goldheart and CitiGems brands, and has more than 80 boutiques island-wide. It also owns a chain of pawnshops under the Maxi-Cash brand.

The company has also diversified into the property business over the years. In the past two years, Aspial has bought more than 10 plots of land for development into residential and commercial projects.

Recently, it bought a plot of land in Lorong Chuan, where it intends to build a 180-unit condominium. And in April last year, Aspial bought Changi Complex in a collective sale deal for $54.3 million where plans are afoot to develop a mixed commercial and residential project with lifestyle shops and alfresco eateries in a 'vibrant and hip village' setting. The development will have a total of about 200 commercial and residential units.

The company also successfully launched four projects - Cavan Suites, Heritage East, Onan Suites and Soho Life! - with a total of 252 units in the last few months.

Aspial shares gained one cent to close at 30 cents yesterday.

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