SINGAPORE: Bank of China has sued BP in Singapore, and Hin Leong Trading founder Lim Oon Kuin and his two children, for a total of US$312.9mil (S$417.6mil) in the latest effort by a creditor to recover losses after one of the biggest trading scandals in decades. The Chinese bank requested that BP repay US$125.7mil that it withdrew from the lender earlier this year based on sales of gas oil cargoes to Hin Leong, according to documents provided by the Supreme Court of Singapore. The deals were part of a “fictitious purchase scheme conspiracy” to maintain Hin Leong’s liquidity since no real transactions took place, the bank said. The lender also demanded US$187.2mil from Lim, better known as O.K. Lim, and his two children, the documents showed. The total sum includes the deals linked to BP and some other overdue payments on short-term loans, or letters of credit. BP strongly refuted the allegations by Bank of China and would defend its position, the company said in a statement, without elaborating. Bank of China and the Lim family haven’t replied to e-mails seeking comments. Lim has earlier denied forging documents in a case brought by HSBC Holdings, saying they were “mistakenly” issued. Singapore, a major-oil trading hub, was shook by defaults and alleged fraud this year, roiling lenders who finance the opaque world of commodities trading in the city state. While the main protagonists were medium-sized trading firms such as Hin Leong, some leading global firms have also been ensnared in the debacle. It’s not the only hit Bank of China has taken this year on oil. Earlier this year it agreed to repay some investors after one of its oil-linked trading products collapsed amid a plunge crude prices. — The Straits Times/ANN
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