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Saturday, 28 September 2013

Genneva gold investment firm slapped with 926 charges

KUALA LUMPUR: Six senior officers from controversial gold investment company Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd were slapped with more than 900 counts of money laundering, illegal deposit-taking and false advertising involving an alleged sum of RM5.5 billion.

Company director Datuk Phillip Lim Jit Meng, 57, was charged with 246 counts of money laundering allegedly committed at CIMB Bank Bhd and CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd in Jalan Kuchai Lama between January 2011 and last December.

Jit Meng, who represented two companies — Genneva Malaysia and Success Altitude Sdn Bhd—was charged with 222 counts in his capacity for the first company and eight counts for the second company.

Another director, Datuk Tan Liang Keat, 41, was charged with 226 counts. Company advisers Datuk Ng Poh Weng, 63, was charged with 155 counts, Datuk Chin Wai Leong, 37, with 23 counts and Datuk Marcus Yee Yuen Seng, 61, with 17 counts. General manager LimKah Heng, 42, was charged with 16 counts of money laundering.

They allegedly committed the offences at the same time and same place. At the same court, Genneva Malaysia, Jit Meng, Tan and Kah Heng were also charged with receiving deposits from the public without a  licence via a scheme involving gold transactions at CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd, Jalan Kuchai Lama, between Jan 10, 2011, and Oct 1 last year.

Ng was also charged with abetting them.

Deputy public prosecutor Dzulkifli Ahmad proposed that bail be denied as it was a non-bailable offence.

"However, if the court allows bail, the prosecution would like to suggest that each accused be allowed bail of RM5 million. This case involves approximately RM5.5 billion in investments from 35,000 depositors."

Dzulkifli said the bail amount should reflect the severity of the offences.

In pleading for a lower bail, defence counsel A.S. Dhaliwal said the fixed deposits of all the accused had been frozen by Bank Negara since last year.

He proposed bail be set at RM50,000 for each accused.

Judge Mat Ghani Abdullah allowed bail at RM1 million for each of the accused. He also ordered them to surrender their passports.

The judge fixed an additional RM100,000 in two sureties for offences under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.

Ghani allowed the prosecution's application for a joint trial and fixed April 7 until 24 next year to hear the case.

Dzulkifli informed the court that the prosecution would call about 50 witnesses to the stand.

Datuk Philip Lim Jit Meng.

Its directors Datuk Philip Lim Jit Meng and Datuk Tan Liang Keat faced 246 and 226 counts of money laundering respectively; business advisers Datuk Ng Poh Weng (155), Datuk Marcus Yee Yuean Seng (17), Datuk Chin Wai Leong (23), and general manager Lim Kah Heng (16).

All six claimed trial to the charges.

The company itself, Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd, faced 222 counts of money laundering and Success Attitude Sdn Bhd, eight counts.

Four of them, Philip Lim, Tan, Hah Heng and Ng, were also charged under the Banking and Financial institutions Act 1989 with two counts each of accepting deposits without a valid licence via a scheme involving gold transactions.

Earlier, Philip Lim and Tan pleaded not guilty at another Sessions Court to making a false statement in an advertisement on the company's website, saying its gold trading was in accordance with Islamic law.
Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd also faced a similar charge.

The case has been set for mention on Oct 28 and the two were granted bail of RM20,000 each.

Contributed by PUNITHA KUMA NST;  M.MAGESWARI and Maizatul Nazlina The Star/Asia News Netowork

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