Singapore police probe Premier League purchase

Controversy surrounds a Singaporean duo’s attempts to buy English Premier League club Newcastle United. (AFP)
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Updated 20 September 2020

Singapore police probe Premier League purchase

  • The company has blamed “errant individuals” for the doctored Obama photographs

SINGAPORE: Singapore police are investigating a company linked to two entrepreneurs trying to buy Newcastle United after an accounting firm lodged a police report over unauthorized signatures on the group’s financial statements.

The two Singaporean entrepreneurs, cousins Terence and Nelson Loh, head the Bellagraph Nova Group along with a Chinese business partner.

The group’s bid to buy the English Premier League football club hit a snag after reports emerged last month of manipulated photos purporting to show former US president Barack Obama in a meeting with its founders in Paris, among other inconsistent claims.

Ernst & Young said on Saturday it did not sign off on the documents of Novena Global Healthcare Group, but served as the auditor of a Singapore subsidiary in 2017.

“Ernst & Young were never the auditors of Novena Global Healthcare Group (incorporated in Cayman Islands),” a spokesperson said in a statement.

The police confirmed that a report was lodged and said they were looking into the matter.

The Novena Global Healthcare Group is owned by the Lohs, according to the Straits Times newspaper.

Terence Loh denied any wrongdoing through his lawyer, the newspaper reported.

AFP has asked Terence and Nelson Loh for comment.

BN Group’s bid came after a Saudi-backed consortium withdrew its offer to buy Newcastle in late July, following a months-long wait for Premier League approval

The company has blamed “errant individuals” for the doctored Obama photographs.

It has made other questionable claims, including that it is headquartered at a prestigious Paris address.

A visit by an AFP reporter found that the Paris office address belongs to workspace provider Regus. AFP also found that no company named Bellagraph Nova Group or BN Group is registered in France.

The Lohs are also controlling shareholders in professional advisory services firm Axington, which saw a string of resignations from its board after the revelations about Bellagraph Nova surfaced, including of Kirk Wagar, the former US ambassador to Singapore.


China aims for sustained and healthy economic development

Updated 30 October 2020

China aims for sustained and healthy economic development

  • Beijing to let market forces play decisive role in resources allocation, report says

BEIJING: China is targeting sustained and healthy economic development in the five years to 2025, with an emphasis on a higher quality of growth, the Xinhua news agency said on Thursday, citing the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee.

President Xi Jinping and members of the Central Committee, the largest of the ruling party’s elite decision-making bodies, met behind closed doors from Monday to lay out the 14th five-year plan, a blueprint for economic and social development.

China’s external environment “is getting more complicated,” the agency said, adding, “There is a significant increase in instabilities and uncertainties.”

BACKGROUND

China aims to boost its gross domestic product (GDP) per person to the level of moderately developed countries by 2035, while GDP is due to top 100 trillion yuan ($15 trillion) in 2020.

However, the country’s development was still in a period of important strategic opportunities, despite new challenges, it said.

It added that China aims to boost its gross domestic product (GDP) per person to the level of moderately developed countries by 2035, while GDP is due to top 100 trillion yuan ($15 trillion) in 2020.

China will also deepen reforms and let market forces play a decisive role in resources allocation, the agency said.

China will promote a “dual circulation” model, make self-sufficiency in technology a strategic pillar for development, move to develop and urbanize regions, and combine efforts to expand domestic demand with supply-side reforms, it added.

The “dual circulation” strategy, first proposed by Xi in May, envisages that China’s next phase of development will depend mainly on “domestic circulation” or an internal cycle of production, distribution and consumption, backed by domestic technological innovation.