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Court sentences company founder for market manipulation

By Reporter
2 minute read

ASIC has taken additional steps to bolster market integrity in Australia by securing the conviction of another market participant for engaging in market manipulation.

The founder of listed bottled water producer Eneco Refresh, Henry Eng Chye Heng, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment for market manipulation and creating a false or misleading appearance of active trading following a hearing in the Perth District Court on 19 April 2024.

The court ordered Heng be released forthwith on recognisance upon the condition that he be of good behaviour for a period of 12 months, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said in a statement on Monday.

Heng received sentencing for manipulating the share price of Eneco using share trading accounts under his family members’ names in 24 instances between 18 December 2020 and 15 December 2021.

Heng was also found to have used share trading accounts held in the names of his family to conduct trades that created a false or misleading appearance of active trading in Eneco on 30 April 2021 and 30 November 2021.

Commenting on the court’s decision, ASIC chair Joe Longo said: “ASIC welcomes the sentencing decision handed down. The recent insider trading convictions and jail time for Cameron Waugh, as well as the sentencing of Mr Heng, reflect ASIC’s commitment to protecting the integrity of Australia’s markets by holding market operators and participants to the highest standards.”

Heng, who held the positions of managing director and executive chairman at the Perth-based company, entered a guilty plea during a hearing on 1 December 2023 at the Perth Magistrates Court.

Last month, former corporate adviser Cameron Kerr Waugh was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment from 25 March, with release after nine months, for insider trading offences in relation to his trading in Genesis Minerals shares in September 2021.