Singapore’s financial markets regulator has commenced civil penalty court action and been awarded a default judgment of S$2.97 million ($2.36 million) against Norman Phua Chun-Han in an insider dealing case.

The amount comprises a S$2.87 million civil penalty and S$100,000 for the employment of manipulative and deceptive devices in connection with securities trading.

The case, brought by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), stems from events that began in October 2007, when a trader, Ng Yu-Jin, opened accounts with OCBC Securities for Phua’s benefit. The firm was led to believe the accounts were opened for Ng's benefit.

Between November 2007 and April 2008, Phua had been the assistant to Anthony Soh, chief executive of Jade. On February 18, 2008, OCBC Bank announced that Asia Pacific Links (APL) intended to make a cash offer for all the issued ordinary shares of Jade, and that APL and Soh between them held 46.54% of Jade’s shares. After the release of the February 18 announcement, Jade’s shares closed up 12.8%.

Phua had used the OCBC Securities accounts on January 31, February 5 and February 13 to buy a total of 2.65 million shares in Jade Technologies Holdings. He made a profit of S$50,160 from those trades.

Then on April 5, 2008, it was announced that Jade had withdrawn the offer, after which shares in Jade closed down 70%.

Phua had used Ng’s on March 31 and April 1, 2008 to sell a total of 7.071 million shares in Jade for his own benefit. He thereby avoided a loss of around S$1.06 million.

Separately, Ng in November admitted to using manipulative and deceptive devices and paid a civil penalty of S$50,000 to MAS without court action.