Thursday, October 14, 2010

Four directors plead not guilty to 796 money laundering charges

Source: The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Three directors and a former director of gold investment scheme company Genneva Sdn Bhd pleaded not guilty Thursday to a total of 796 money laundering charges involving millions of ringgit.

Ng Poh Weng, 60, is facing 263 money laundering charges involving RM185 mil while Marcus Yee Yuen Seng, 58, faces 234 charges involving RM153mil.

Chin Wai Leong, 34, faces 210 charges involving RM212mil while Liew Chee Wah, 56, faces 89 charges involving RM31mil.

The four were alleged to have issued and cashed 364 cheques from illegal proceeds at a bank in Jalan Ampang here, between July 20, 2007 and Dec 6 last year.

According to a Bank Negara senior official, the cheques were used for various offences, including buying gold, payment to investors and remitting cash to their company's branches abroad. The official said RM20mil in cash and RM3mil in gold belonging to the Kuala Lumpur-based company have been frozen.

When the charges were read to the four in dock Thursday, they appeared composed.

DPP Mohd Haziq Razali applied to the court to set bail at RM4mil for each accused, saying the offences were non-bailable and involved a higher transaction.

Pleading for lower bail, lead counsel K.K. Wong, who acted for Ng, Yee and Chin, said his clients were willing to report to the Bank Negara investigating officer once a month pending disposal of the case.

Wong said since Bank Negara had also frozen their personal and company accounts, there was no risk of them fleeing the country.

"The company has business dealings in Singapore, Hong Kong and the Republic of China," he said, adding that if the accused could not post bail, it would result in the "death" of the three companies abroad and affect their 2,000 clients.

Lawyer Keppy Wong, who represented Liew, said his client had resigned from the post last March and has no previous convictions.

He said Liew had co-operated with Bank Negara since investigations started last year.

Sessions Court judge Rozana Ali Yusoff set bail at RM1mil in two sureties for Ng, Yee and Chin and allowed RM800,000 bail for Liew, saying that it was in view of the rampancy of such offences.

She ordered the four to surrender their passports.

The judge also allowed for a joint-trial and set Nov 16 for mention.