Couple in connection with Genneva claims trial to 122 charges

GEORGE TOWN - A company director and his wife claimed trial in the Sessions Court here to a total of 122 charges of money laundering involving over RM15mil (S$6 million).

Joseph Kow Hock Beng, 55, and his wife Veronica Tan, 52, denied the charges in connection with gold investment company Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

Kow claimed trial to 44 charges of money laundering amounting to RM7,970,442.84 between March 18, 2011 and Sept 21, 2012.

Tan claimed trial to 37 charges of money laundering amounting to RM7,815,082.67 between March 18, 2011 and Dec 31, 2012.

Six companies of which either Kow or Tan are named as directors - J Emerald Sdn Bhd, Agensi Pekerjaan AJ Utama Sdn Bhd, KHB Global Sdn Bhd, Parcel Post (M) Sdn Bhd, Logistik Hartamas (M) Sdn Bhd and CFM Logistics Sdn Bhd - were charged with a total of 41 counts of money laundering.

The couple also claimed trial to these charges.

Each offence under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 carries a fine of up to RM5mil or a maximum of five years' jail or both.

DPP Pang Chuin Keat urged the court not to grant bail as it was a non-bailable offence and the case was a matter of public interest.

In pleading for bail, counsel B. Jeyasingam said the couple had been cooperating with Bank Negara and other agencies from October last year.

He said their safe deposit and company accounts had been frozen since Oct 1, 2012.

"They have three children - the youngest is still school-going and will sit for the SPM in two weeks' time, and Tan has a 74-year-old mother to take care of.

"Kow has not been well and was hospitalised in the ICU (intensive care unit) for two weeks in September. His health is not good and he requires follow-up checks and treatment at the cardiology department," said Jeyasingam.

He added that neither of them were members of the management or shareholders of the companies.

Fellow counsel Ong Yu Shin said Kow and Tan were retirees and did not have a financial lifeboat to depend on because their accounts had been frozen by Bank Negara.

"They do not have salary-paying jobs," he said.

Sessions judge Khairul Anuar Abdul Halim set bail at RM50,000 in one surety each and ordered Kow and Tan to surrender their passports.

He also allowed the prosecution's application for the case to be transferred to the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court to be heard together with 927 other Genneva-related cases that involve over 30 witnesses.