Singapore tip-off led to arrest of Three Arrows co-founder Zhu Su: Sources


One of the sources said liquidators had been monitoring Three Arrows' Zhu Su in Singapore, where he was known to host gatherings for crypto executives at his bungalow in Yarwood Avenue in Bukit Timah. - ZHU SU/X

SINGAPORE (Bloomberg): Three Arrows Capital co-founder Su Zhu ended up in jail in Singapore after liquidators decided to apply maximum pressure following months of sparring over locating the failed crypto hedge fund’s assets.

Days after securing a Singapore court order carrying a four-month prison term for failing to cooperate with the task of winding up the fund, liquidators tipped police off on Sept 29 that Zhu was headed to Changi Airport, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing private information.

The liquidators had been monitoring Zhu in Singapore, where he’s known to host gatherings for crypto executives at his luxury mansion in the upscale Yarwood neighbourhood, one of the people said. They then tracked a car traveling to the airport from the mansion, the person said.

Police were alerted that Zhu could be in the car and detained him when he emerged at the terminal, the people said. Singapore authorities on Oct 5 confirmed the arrest of an unnamed 36-year-old man at 2:50pm on Sept 29 at the airport when asked whether Zhu had been detained.

The directive that landed Zhu in jail is a committal order. The liquidator, Teneo, said on Sept 29 that it had obtained such orders for Zhu and Three Arrows’ other founder, Kyle Davies. The orders are civil matters and neither man has faced any criminal charges in Singapore. As a result, police weren’t actively looking for Zhu and only acted when tipped off by the liquidators.

Three Arrows imploded in 2022 as leveraged bets blew up, stoking a US$2 trillion digital-asset rout that contributed to a spate of other collapses in the sector. Liquidators have accused Zhu and Davies of failing to cooperate meaningfully with their probe and are seeking to recover $1.3 billion from the two.

Zhu and Davies are among the onetime darlings of crypto’s pandemic-era bull run whose reputations subsequently suffered as boom turned to bust, exposing risky practices. Chief among the fallen moguls is Sam Bankman-Fried, who is on trial in the US for allegedly overseeing a multibillion-dollar fraud at the now defunct FTX exchange. Bankman-Fried has denied the charges against him.

Zhu and his legal representative didn’t respond to requests for comment. Teneo declined to comment. Singapore’s police force said it had nothing further to say beyond its Oct 5 statement.

A committal order puts a person on a no-fly list, so Zhu would have likely been detained by immigration had he reached the checkpoint, the people said.

Liquidators are in touch with authorities around the world in their effort to locate Davies and are putting the word out in the crypto community that they are determined to find him, one of the people said.

Davies didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The liquidators will seek permission from authorities to visit Zhu in Changi Prison to get the information they need about Three Arrows’ assets and may take further steps to force compliance if he refuses to meet, the people said.

Typical conditions in Changi Prison include four inmates to a cell sleeping on straw mats on the floor rather than on beds. In contrast, Zhu’s mansion in Yarwood is a two-story, six-bedroom home he and his wife purchased in 2021 for S$48.8 million (US$36 million) under a trust, public records show.

Zhu has previously said that his and Davies’ good-faith efforts to cooperate with liquidators "was met with baiting.” In email correspondence submitted to a New York bankruptcy court by the liquidators, counsel to Davies and Zhu have said that court orders the liquidators have obtained are "baseless.”

Singapore’s central bank in mid-September imposed nine-year prohibition orders on both men for transgressions at Three Arrows, faulting the fund for risk management failings and providing false information.

Dubai authorities in April reprimanded Zhu and Davies, along with others, for operating and promoting the OPNX crypto exchange without the required local licence. Zhu has previously said he and Davies contributed initial ideas for OPNX but aren’t involved in daily management.

Three Arrows was viewed as among the largest and most successful crypto hedge funds before it collapsed. It shifted registration to the British Virgin Islands after having previously operated out of Singapore. A British Virgin Islands court appointed Teneo in June last year to liquidate the fund’s assets.

Steps to strengthen standards in crypto "will spur a greater emphasis on governance and risk management, resulting in a more robust and trustworthy ecosystem in the long run,” said Angela Ang, a senior policy adviser at blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs.

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