Genneva sets ‘gold medal’ record

KUALA LUMPUR - Six senior officials of gold investment scheme company Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd and a company were slapped with an unprecedented 926 charges of money laundering, making false statements and illegal deposit-taking involving RM5.5bil (S$2 billion).

The RM5.5bil deposits were received by Genneva from 35,000 depositors.

They are directors Datuk Philip Lim Jit Meng, 56, and Datuk Tan Liang Keat, 41, general manager Lim Kah Heng, 42, as well as business advisers Datuk Ng Poh Weng, 63, Datuk Marcus Yee Yuen Seng, 61, and Datuk Chin Wai Leong, 37.

The officials are facing fines of up to RM5mil or a maximum jail term of five years or both under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.

The charge sheet was so long that a court interpreter took over 30 minutes to read out the money laundering charges in a simplified manner after informing each person of their respective total charges.

Of the figure, Genneva faces 222 money laundering charges while a related company, Success Attitude Sdn Bhd, faces eight money laundering charges.

In the first Sessions Court, Jit Meng, Tan and Genneva face a separate charge each of making a false statement in an advertisement on the company's website that the gold trading was in accordance with Islamic law.

Jit Meng appeared for the company to plead not guilty to the summons charges. The two also claimed trial to the charges.

They are accused of committing the offence at Jalan Kuchai Maju 6 between Feb 16 last year and Oct 1 last year.

Each faces a fine of not more than RM250,000 or jail up to three years or both under Section 18(1) of the Trade Descriptions Act 2011.

Judge Rihaida Rafie allowed bail of RM20,000 for each person and allowed an application by counsel A.S. Dhaliwal for them to post bail on Monday and fixed Oct 28 for mention.

In the second Sessions Court, Jit Meng, Tan, Kah Heng and Genneva face two charges each for illegal deposit-taking from the public through a current account while Ng faced two counts of abetting the company to receive the deposits without a licence.

They allegedly committed the offences at a bank branch in Jalan Kuchai Lama between Jan 10, 2011 and Oct 1 last year.

The offence carries a fine of up to RM10mil or up to 10 years' jail or both for each charge under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 for illegal deposit-taking. The company faces a maximum fine of RM10mil.

For money laundering, Jit Meng faces 246 charges, Tan (226), Kah Heng (16), Ng (155), Yee (17), Chin (23) apart from Genneva's 222 and Success Attitude's eight.

They are said to have committed the offence at a bank in Jalan Kuchai Maju 1 between January 2011 and December last year.

DPP Dzulkifli Ahmad, assisted by prosecuting officer Alvin Ong, applied to the court to set bail at RM5mil in two sureties for each person for the illegal deposit-taking case, saying it involved RM5.5bil and 35,000 depositors.

DPP Mardziatun Nisa Ahamadul Kabir applied for bail to be set at RM1mil in two sureties for each accused for the money laundering charges.

Judge Mat Ghani Abdullah granted bail of RM1mil in one surety for the accused for the illegal deposit-taking case and imposed an additional RM100,000 in two sureties for each person for the money-laundering case.

The total bail to be posted in all three cases is RM4.64mil.

Mat Ghani ordered all of them to surrender their passports.

He also granted their request to post bail on Monday and fixed Nov 27 for case management and April 7-24 for a joint trial.