Iceberg: “Not the first time we acted as whistleblower against Noble”; “Had the MPA acted on the information sent to them, this high-profile bankruptcy of OW Bunker… could certainly have been avoided”; “Iceberg’s research is based on public information released by Noble themselves. We consulted our lawyer and we are extremely confident.”

Iceberg: ‘Not the first time we acted as whistleblower against Noble’

Melissa Tan

24 March 2015

Business Times Singapore

OBSCURE outfit Iceberg Research said in its third report on Noble Group that this is not the first time that it is acting as a whistleblower against the commodities trader. Referring to the bankruptcy of Danish bunker supplier OW Bunker in 2014, it claimed that a member of Iceberg had in 2013 “reported Noble’s commercial practices in Singapore to the Maritime Port Authority (MPA)”. It alleged that “Noble had been associated with some less than reputable local companies” and that while “the decision was taken by MPA not to renew (Noble’s bunkering) licence”, Noble was not fined. Iceberg also said that its member later informed MPA that the supposed “illegal activities” had continued, Noble was allegedly “still involved”, and the unnamed “local companies” in question had become major bunker suppliers in Singapore. Those “local companies and people that our colleague had reported to the MPA were directly responsible for the fraudulent bankruptcy of OW Bunker” in 2014, Iceberg claimed. “Had the MPA acted on the information sent to them, this high-profile bankruptcy… could certainly have been avoided.” OW Bunker, the world’s biggest bunker supplier and Denmark’s second-biggest listed company by revenue, filed for bankruptcy in November 2014, blaming fraud by two senior employees at a Singapore-based unit, Dynamic Oil Trading. It estimated the alleged fraud to be worth US$125 million, and also reported a US$150 million risk management loss. OW Bunker went into liquidation after its banks refused to extend credit. Noble, which has filed a suit in Hong Kong, said in a Singapore Exchange statement on Monday in response to Iceberg’s claims that “we reject their allegations as inaccurate, unreliable and misleading”. The MPA did not respond to Iceberg’s allegations by press time. Continue reading