Eight individuals were sentenced to between three and nine years in jail by the High Court here today, for money laundering and illegal deposit taking related to gold bullion investments in 2011.
Judicial Commissioner Datuk Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh also fined all accused between RM1 million to RM3 million and ordered them to serve another two to four years jail if they failed to pay the fine.
The accused are three directors of Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd (GMSB), namely, Datuk Tan Liang Keat, Datuk Philip Lim Jit Meng and Ahmad Khairuddin Ilias, its general manager, Lim Kah Heng and the company’s two business advisors, Datuk Ng Poh Weng, Datuk Marcus Yee Yuen Seng as well as two other individuals, Datuk Chiew Soo Ling and Yao Kee Boon.
GMSB and two other companies, Success Attitude Sdn Bhd and Ng Advantage Sdn Bhd were also found guilty of the offences and fined between RM1 million and RM5 million.
Ahmad Shahrir meted out the punishment after allowing the prosecution’s appeal against the Sessions Court’s decision which acquitted and discharged all of them in 2017.
In his decision, he found that all of them were involved in illegal deposit-taking schemes related to gold investment.
Ahmad Shahrir, however, allowed their applications for a stay of execution pending appeal at the Court of Appeal, and granted bails of between RM100,000 and RM1 million.
According to the charge sheet, GMSB, Tan, Lim, Ng, Jit Meng and Ahmad Khairuddin were charged with 12 counts of possessing, receiving, transferring and obtaining a sum of money from illegal activities via cheques from CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad accounts which were deposited into their personal accounts.
They were charged under Subsection 6 (4) of the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 (Act 372) which carries a fine not exceeding RM10 million or 10 years imprisonment or both, upon conviction.
Meanwhile, GMSB, Success Attitude and Ng Advantage, as well as seven individuals namely Tan, Lim, Ng, Jit Meng, Yee, Chiew and Yao were charged with more than 1,000 counts of money laundering by receiving money from illegal activities from various companies.
They were charged under Subsection 4 (1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, which carries five years imprisonment or a fine or both, if convicted.
Earlier, in an appeal for leniency, lawyer Gooi Sooi Seng representing Tan, Jit Meng, Yee, Chiew and Yao said all his clients were made to understand that the investment scheme was valid and did not require a licence other than depositors be given a certificate of ownership and a gold bar for each investment made.
He also said that all gold investment transactions were done by way of cheque and this showed the element of transparency.
Bank Negara deputy public prosecutor Alvin Ong, on the other hand, asked the court to take into account the factors of public interest in sentencing.
“This is a serious case because it involves a large amount of losses. I ask the court to impose stiffer punishment to reflect the seriousness of the court for such offences,” he said.