Friday, September 27, 2013

Ex-Genneva bosses charged over illegal gold scheme worth more than RM5b - ( M4L4YS14 )

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — Six former senior staff from Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd were charged in the Sessions Court here today with illegal deposit-taking involving RM5.5 billion and faced over 900 counts of money-laundering.

Former directors of the gold trading firm – Datuk Philip Lim Jit Meng and Datuk Tan Liang Keat – were charged with 246 and 226 counts of money-laundering respectively; while business advisers Ng Poh Weng faced 157 counts; Datuk Marcus Yee Yuean Seng, 17; Datuk Chin Wai Leong, 23; and general manager Datuk Lim Kah Heng, 16, according to news portal The Star Online today.

The alleged money-laundering offences are said to have been committed between January 10, 2011 and October 1, 2012.

The six claimed trial to the charges.

Two companies – Genneva Malaysia and Success Attitude Sdn Bhd – were also hit with 222 and eight counts of money-laundering.

Philip Lim, Tan, Lim Hah Heng and Ng were also charged with accepting deposits without a valid license through a scheme that involves gold transactions, under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989.

Philip Lim and Tan, however, pleaded not guilty at another Sessions Court here earlier today to making false statements on an advertisement on Genneva’s website, by saying that its gold trading was in line with Islamic law.

Genneva Malaysia was also hit with a similar charge.

The case has been set for mention on October 28.

The Sessions Court acquitted last May Genneva Sdn Bhd directors Ng, Datuk Marcus Yee Yuen Seng, Datuk Chin Wai Leong, and former director Liew Chee Wah of money-laundering and illegal deposit-taking charges, ruling that they had carried out a genuine gold trading business.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said in response that it would appeal against the ruling, saying that investigations against Genneva had been taken after the bank received complaints from the public.

BNM also noted that Genneva Sdn Bhd and Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd are separate entities.

The central bank raided Genneva four years ago over a dubious gold trading scheme. Genneva Malaysia and its affiliates were similarly raided last October.

BNM had frozen Genneva Malaysia’s cheques, accounts and other assets worth RM99.8 million in cash, as well as seizing 126kg in gold bullion, based on suspicions that the company had broken several banking and financial laws, such as money-laundering, taking deposits without giving gold in return, appointing agents without license, evading taxes, failing to file statutory documents, giving false descriptions on its business, and misrepresenting itself as an investment firm.

Last December, nine investors sued Genneva Malaysia and four of its directors – Tengku Muhaini Sultan Ahmad Shah, Philip Lim Jit Meng, Ahmad Khairuddin Ilias and Tan Lian Keng – in an attempt to recover RM2 million in investments.

They claimed that the company had committed fraud and misrepresented the gold scheme as complying with syariah law.

Malaysia does not regulate the gold trading business.