By Tria Dianti
SINGAPORE – A Singapore judge has, on Friday (13 January), denied the bail request of Novena Global Healthcare Group (NGHG) co-founder Nelson Loh, who is being charged with forgery offences.
He will continue to be remanded at the Central Police Division, the Straits Times reported.
Loh, 43, was charged at the end of December 2022 for allegedly falsifying NGHG's 2019 audited financial statements and using them to obtain an S$18 million bank loan.
At his bail hearing, where he appeared via video link, Loh reportedly told Senior District Judge Ong Hian Sun, "I have been here for 21 days... I have not seen my family and kids for a long time."
When the judge rejected his request, Loh then asked to be moved to Changi Prison Complex medical centre. “Then, I will have a Bible to keep myself mentally healthy," he said.
Loh then reportedly added, "Being here in a single cell is really taxing on me." The judge also denied this request.
Loh then requested to speak to his children on the phone.
Asking the prosecution to take note of Loh's request, the judge granted the application for Loh to be further remanded for a week. He also gave permission for Loh to be taken out to assist in investigations.
Interpol red notice
Loh and his employee Michael Wong, also known as Wong Soon Yuh, 43, has been wanted by the Singapore police for two years before they were arrested last December.
The duo left Singapore in September 2020. A few days later, the police received a report saying that signatures of accounting firm Ernst & Young were forged in NGHG's financial statements. A warrant of arrest and an Interpol Red Notice was then issued. An Interpol Red Notice is a request by a member country to locate and provisionally arrest a person based on an arrest warrant issued by the member country.
The police had said in a statement in December, "With the cooperation and assistance of our foreign counterparts in the People’s Republic of China, the two men returned to Singapore on Dec 24, 2022, and were arrested by the Commercial Affairs Department on the same day."
Earlier in 2020, Loh was linked to a failed bid by the Bellagraph Nova Group to purchase English Premier League club Newcastle United. Reuters reported that the group had doctored images of former US president Barack Obama to give the impression he had attended a meeting with Loh and his partners in Paris in marketing materials.
Loh is currently facing charges of two counts of forgery offences under Section 468 of the Penal Code. Wong was charged with two counts of forgery offences under Section 471 punishable under Section 468 of the Penal Code.
If convicted, they will be liable to an imprisonment term which may extend to 10 years and a fine. Further investigations are underway.