PUTRAJAYA — Four directors of the defunct gold-investment firm Genneva Sdn Bhd received stiff sentences yesterday for money laundering involving over RM100 million.
Director Ng Poh Weng, 67; Marcus Yee Yuen Seng, 65; Chin Wai Leong, 41; and Liew Chee Wah, 63, were given prison terms under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amla) and the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 (Bafia).
Ng was found guilty on 68 charges, Yee (28), Chee (46) and Liew (12).
They were each sentenced to five years’ prison under Bafia, and three years each under Amla, with the sentences to be carried out consecutively.
The three-man court of appeal panel comprising judges Datuk Mohtarudin Baki, Datuk Seri Zakaria Sam and Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil.
In addition to the eight years, the four face an additional year’s imprisonment if they fail to pay the RM1 million fine each.
Mohtarudin said the heavy penalties were necessary due to the seriousness of their crimes and the huge amount of money involved.
“The amount of money involved in this crime is huge and the gravity of the crimes committed by these individuals is as well.
“Therefore, we have decided that the sentences will be as delivered.”
Prior to sentencing, Deputy Public Prosecutor Hamdan Hamzah had asked that each be imprisoned seven years for both the Amla and Bafia offences, in addition to the fine.
During mitigation, defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah asked the court to consider the defendants’ health and precedents in which similar offenders were only fined or given lower prison time.
“When considering non-violent crimes, there is impetus to issue a fine instead of a jail-term which is contrary to the dispensation of justice.”
BNM raided Genneva in July 2009 over a dubious gold trading scheme. Genneva Malaysia and its affiliates were similarly raided on Oct 1, 2012.
The bank froze Genneva Malaysia’s cheques, accounts and other assets worth RM99.8 million in cash, and seized 126 kg in gold bullion, based on suspicions that the company had broken several banking and financial laws.
Gold trading was not regulated in Malaysia until 2013.
Genneva had taken deposits that were used as investments, an act that is heavily regulated in Malaysia, with only banks, insurance and trust funds and few others allowed to engage in such activities.
The company and its then directors Ng, Marcus, Chin and Liew were accused of money laundering at their offices in Jalan Ampang here between July 2008 and June 2009.
They were also accused of illegally accepting public deposits at Jalan Kuchai Maju 6, Persimpangan Jalan Kuchai Lama here, between November 2008 and July 2009.
On May 16, 2013, they were acquitted by the Sessions Court. The High Court affirmed the acquittal on Sept 20, 2016. The prosecution then appealed these rulings.