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Thumb drive inventor Henn Tan facing cheating charges

Henn Tan, 3 others accused of falsifying accounts among other charges

Trek 2000 International's chairman emeritus and thumb drive inventor Henn Tan and three former officers were each slapped yesterday with three to 16 charges, including cheating and falsification of accounts.

Tan, who stepped down in May last year as chief executive of the mainboard-listed technology solutions provider, faces a total of 15 charges. He is accused of committing offences as far back as 2006.

The 63-year-old was alleged to have committed seven counts of falsification, including entries pertaining to revenue and net profit in Trek 2000's 2015 financial statements, as well as recording fictitious sales and purchases respectively in 2013 and 2014.

This includes a conspiracy with then chief financial officer Gurcharan Singh between 2006 and 2011 to create false entries pertaining to the licensing income of the group in Trek 2000's financial statements for those years.

He also had allegedly engaged in a conspiracy with Singh, former executive director Poo Teng Pin and former division president Foo Kok Wah to deceive external auditors Ernst & Young (EY) that the 2015 financial statements had been properly drawn up.

Tan created and patented the now-ubiquitous thumb drive or USB flash drive in 2000 - a move that made the floppy disk obsolete.

His company, Trek 2000 International, which started out as a small electronic parts trading firm in Geylang, listed on the Singapore Exchange in 2000.

However, in 2016, it was revealed that several key executives were interviewed by the Commercial Affairs Department in relation to a possible offence.

WATCH LIST

Last year, SGX's regulation unit put Tan on its watch list amid a flurry of resignations of board members and other executives.

In the same year, Tan quit his roles as chairman, chief executive and executive director.

He also faces charges that he "recklessly" failed to make immediate announcements on a total of 47 interested personal transactions between 2010 and 2013, when there were sales between the group and two companies, S-Com Solutions (Hong Kong) and T-Data Systems.

He is also accused of forging invoices and delivery orders in 2013 to deceive EY into believing that the 2014 financial statements were in regulatory compliance, inducing the auditors to issue an unqualified opinion.

The 63-year-old Singh faces a total of 16 charges similar to Tan's, while Foo and Poo have been charged with three and eight offences respectively.

Their cases will be mentioned on Nov 6.

The four were each granted bail of $300,000 or $400,000. - THE STRAITS TIMES

COURT & CRIME