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Singaporean link in gold deals

PETALING JAYA: Several Singaporeans appear to be actively involved in unregulated gold trading schemes in Malaysia, according to sources.A number of the companies that offer investment schemes, especially in gold, appear to have links with Singaporeans, they claimed.

“As the Singaporean authorities are also raiding companies involved in suspected money laundering activities, we suspect that there is outflow of funds from unsuspecting Malaysian investors to assist them,” said the sources.

There are also cases of Singaporeans sitting as board members in the Malaysian-based companies dealing in unregulated gold investment businesses, said the sources.

In a joint operation led by Bank Negara this week, the authorities have so far raided Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Pageantry Gold Bhd, Worldwide Far East Bhd, and Caesar Gold Sdn Bhd for investigations into, among others, illegal deposit taking, money laundering, and tax evasion.

Singapore’s Commercial Affairs Department also conducted a similar operation against Genneva Pte Ltd in the republic.

In a letter dated Sept 28 posted on its website, which has been partly closed down, newly-appointed general manager of Genneva Pte Ltd, Lim Kieng Justin, told customers and consultants that the directors had discovered financial improprieties that led to a delay in payment of discounts and commissions, and fulfilment of buy-back guarantees.

The directors, said Lim, were negotiating with external parties who were prepared to assist the company overcome the financial crisis.

The Pageantry Gold website is also down after Bank Negara’s raid on Friday although the one for Worldwide Far East continues to be functional. No website could be found for Caesar Gold.

Of the 87 companies on Bank Negara’s consumer alert list, 18 are involved in gold investment activities.

Sources said companies suspected to be flouting the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2001 risk having their assets and cash frozen pending investigations.

Both Malaysia and Singapore have initiated a clampdown on money laundering as part of their international commitment and obligation.