By Chen Shaua Fui | The Edge Markets
Low Thiam Hock, better known as Repco Low in the stock market circle, was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt on market manipulation of Repco Holdings Bhd shares in a landmark case brought by the Securities Commission since 1999.
Sessions Court Judge Mat Ghani Abdullah said, “The court found that the accused failed to create a benefit of doubt.”
He said that Low’s denial appeared to be an afterthought.
Mat Ghani, who presided the case since it was passed back to the Sessions Court in 2013, said that after looking into all the proceeding notes, evidences from Low and the witnesses, the court was satisfied with the prosecution’s case.
“The accused was found guilty under section 84(1) of Securities Industry Act 1983,” Mat Ghani said.
The offence carries a penalty of a minimum fine of RM1 million and maximum jail term of up to 10 years.
The court has fixed Jan 19 to deliver the sentence.
Low, who appeared at the court in a white shirt, was ordered to surrender his passport today.
Low’s defence lawyer Edmund Bon said Low will appeal to the High Court.
In Sept 1999, Low was charged for market manipulation of Repco Holdings Bhd shares price under section 84(1) of the Securities Industry Act 1983.
Low, who was the executive chairman of the Sabah based gaming company, was charged for instructing a dealer’s representative at Sime Securities Sdn Bhd to purchase Repco shares by taking up any offer prices of Repco shares offered by the sellers, which act was calculated to create a misleading appearance with respect to the price of Repco shares on KLSE on Dec 3, 1997.
Repco was one of the high flyers in the second board during the 1996 stock market bull run.
The case, which had gone through a long trial period of 16 years, had called 25 witnesses, while the defence had called 8 witnesses including Low and stock market and stock valuation experts.
The prosecution team consists of Roz Mawar, Krishantini Palaraja, Justin Michael, and Phyllis Mok.
The prosecution had argued that Low had acquire 227,000 units of Repco shares on Dec 3, 1999, which created a misleading appearance to the share price went up to RM108.50 to closed at RM113.00 that day, while the market was crashing in 1997. In addition, the stock was illiquid.
Meanwhile, the defence argued that there was no manipulation of share market, as Low was merely buying the 227,000 of shares, representing 1 per cent stakes in the company, that was wrongly sold by Sime Securities.
Repco had climbed to a high of RM140.50 per share in Sept 1997 but collapsed to RM2.98 less than a year later.
Subsequently in 2000, the stock’s trading was suspended and de-listed three years later.
Low was acquitted and discharged by the Session Court on Nov 14, 2006. The SC later appealed the decision.
On Oct 15, 2010, the High Court dismissed the Prosecution’s appeal against the acquittal. Prosecution filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
On Feb 28, 2013, the Court of Appeal had unanimously allowed the Prosecution’s appeal and ordered the accused to enter his defence at the Sessions Court.
On March 7, 2013, the case was reverted to the Sessions Court for Low to enter his defence.