State-linked lender DBS Group found itself dragged into the NatSteel takeover battle again yesterday as corporate raider Oei Hong Leong charged the bank had 'unexpectedly' pulled out of talks on financing a general offer. Mr Oei, NatSteel's largest shareholder, is struggling against state-backed 98 Holdings for control of the steelmiller. In a statement released by his advisers GK Goh Stockbrokers, Mr Oei said he had talked to three financial groups last month about funding for a general offer, including DBS. The tycoon said DBS had 'kindly' issued a term sheet for financing on November 11, which was then revised on November 12 and 14. 'There was a proposal to bring in a joint financier. Subsequently a third bank expressed interest to participate in the possible financing. Unexpectedly, DBS Bank pulled out,' the statement said. Citing client confidentiality, a DBS spokesman declined to comment on Mr Oei's statement. Mr Oei claimed that as a consequence of the DBS move, he had been forced to try and mount a conditional offer for NatSteel that would have allowed him access to the company's own cash to partly finance a bid, but regulatory officials have disallowed the scheme. DBS became embroiled in the takeover last month when Mr Oei offered to buy the bank's 14.7 per cent stake in NatSteel for S$2.03 (about HK$8.94) a share. The bank sold the stake to 98 Holdings for the same price on November 13. In a move that proved controversial, DBS turned down a 'late' revised offer from Mr Oei of S$2.05 a share, saying that it had already signed off on the deal with 98 Holdings. The transaction also attracted scrutiny because Temasek, the state's main investment unit, holds stakes in both 98 Holdings and DBS. Regulators have ruled that Temasek and DBS are not acting together in concert. DBS defended its stance on the deal but failed to explain fully why it had not agreed to a conditional sale of the stake to 98 Holdings, allowing it to accept a higher bid should one arise. Chief Executive Jackson Tai was incensed at suggestions he had lost out on the S$1 million-odd difference between the bids. 'We are bank, not some back-alley money changer. This means we need to understand the circumstances of the transaction,' Mr Jackson said November 15.