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Lim family's global assets on radar after Singapore court move

Berita 24 English -  A Singapore court has approved a freeze on the family's assets worth up to $3.5 billion, boosting the prospect of r...

Berita 24 English - 
A Singapore court has approved a freeze on the family's assets worth up to $3.5 billion, boosting the prospect of recovering debt from the former oil trading empire's creditors, including some of the world's largest banks.

Hin Leong was wound up in March after failing to restructure more than $3 billion in debts following the COVID-19-led oil crash. Lim Oon Kuin, the company's founder, admitted last year in a court filing that he directed the company not to disclose hundreds of millions of dollars in losses over several years.

In an email obtained by Reuters on Monday, Hin Leong's liquidators stated that the Singapore High Court had granted a request to freeze up to $3.5 billion of the 79-year-old tycoon's global assets, including those of his son Lim Chee Meng and daughter Lim Huey Ching.

"Our lawyers will follow up with the next steps in the coming days, including requiring the Lim Family to disclose their assets via affidavit," one of the liquidators, Goh Thien Phong, wrote in an email sent Friday to Hin Leong's more than 200 creditors.

As part of what sources describe Singapore's largest legal case in living memory, creditors have been able to recoup just $270 million from the collapsed company. They have been combing the country for personal assets belonging to the Lim family, alongside the liquidators.

The liquidators had petitioned the court to freeze the family's assets, which ranged from multimillion-dollar homes to shares, funds, and country club memberships to recoup debts owed to approximately two dozen banks and other creditors worldwide.

Lim was charged with 23 additional counts of forgery last month by a Singapore prosecutor. Last year, police charged him with two counts of aiding and abetting forgery connected with the cheating.

The liquidators appointed by the court, the Lim family, and their attorneys did not respond to requests for comment on Monday. The Singapore High Court did not respond to a request for comment.

According to Goh's email, the Lim family may file an appeal.

Hin Leong owes billions of dollars to HSBC, DBS Group, ABN AMRO, Bank of China, and ICICI. Some of the world's largest commodity companies are among its trade creditors.

The Lim family has sold millions of dollars in recent months, including a stake in a prestigious Singapore oil storage facility and dozens of ships owned by their Xihe Group.

The elder Lim, who began his sprawling empire in 1963 by delivering diesel in a truck, was once listed by Forbes as one of Singapore's 18 wealthiest people.

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