3 more gold trading companies raided

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NOT AUTHORISED: alleged offences include illegal deposit-taking, money laundering and tax evasion

KUALA LUMPUR: THREE more companies, suspected of illegal deposit-taking and money laundering, were raided in a joint operation by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry and police yesterday.

This came five days after a raid on Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd in Jalan Kuchai Lama where authorities had seized documents and gold bars.

Yesterday’s simultaneous raids were carried out at 3pm on Pageantry Gold Berhad in Taman Danau Kota, Setapak, Caesar Gold Sdn Bhd in Jalan Klang Lama and Worldwide Far East Bhd in Bandar Baru Sri Petaling after extensive surveillance and intelligence-gathering.

The raids on these companies were for suspected offences that include illegal deposittaking, money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance, false description, including misrepresentations and appointment of agents without licence.

Caesar Gold’s office was closed when the officers arrived. It was not known if the officers had entered the premises.

At the other two companies, officers were on the premises until almost 10pm.

Several officers were seen carting away boxes from Worldwide Far East Bhd. However, none of them was willing to divulge any details on the raids.

The three companies were listed under BNM’s financial consumer alert list of known companies and websites that were not authorised or approved under the relevant laws and regulations.

In George Town, 100 gold buyers, unhappy with BNM’s actions, claimed that their livelihood was at stake following Genneva’s trading suspension and urged the central bank to clear up the matter soon.

The buyers, the majority of whom were retirees, claimed that the profits from the trading had helped them financially, and turned up at Genneva’s regional office yesterday to throw their support behind the company.

They also denied any irregularities in the transactions as each had received hibah or payment consistently over the contracted period.

The company has around 10,000 customers in Penang, with more than 400 consultants and 100,000 customers nationwide.

A Penang-based consultant and trader, Yeoh Ah Guak, 49, said she was worried about her investment following the raid.

“I used the profits from the trading to pay for my children’s tertiary education.

“I never had any problems with the company, so I don’t understand why the company was raided,” she said.

Consultant and trader Mary-Irene Ooi, 55, also wondered why the company was raided as she claimed that the company had been prompt with  payment.

S. Venkatason said she relied on the gold trading to support her daughter's education  at  Universiti Malaya.

A company spokesman said they were still waiting for news from BNM on when trading would resume.

  It was reported that at least 50 gold buyers had stood vigil outside a trading company  in Kuchai Lama, Kuala Lumpur, after Monday's raid.

 In a statement yesterday, BNM warned the public to check with the authorities when dealing with companies or individuals offering seemingly attractive business opportunities or financial services that were not licensed by the authorities.

  "The public is reminded to be cautious in investing in unregulated schemes," it said.

"Enforcement agencies will take action on illegal financial schemes to protect the interests of the investors and the public at large."

  For details, call BNM at 1-300-88-5465. Additional reporting by Phuah Ken Lin

Yeoh Ah Guak of Penang (centre) breaking down in tears as her account in a gold trading company has been suspended. Pic by Michael Ong


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