PUTRAJAYA: Four former directors of Genneva Sdn Bhd (GSB), a gold investment company, were found guilty by the Court of Appeal here on 293 counts of money laundering and five counts of illegal deposit taking, involving more than RM100 million.

A three-man panel comprising justices Mohtarudin Baki, Zakaria Sam and Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil arrived at the verdict after allowing the prosecution’s appeal to set aside the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision to acquit and discharge the four individuals.

Justice Mohtarudin, who chaired the panel, said the court unanimously found that the prosecution as the appellant in the case had succeeded in proving the charges faced by the four accused — Ng Poh Weng, 67, Marcus Yee Yuen Seng, 65, Chin Wai Leong, 41, and Liew Chee Wah, 63, beyond reasonable doubt.

In his brief judgment, Mohtarudin said the court found gold sale and purchase transactions conducted by the four accused were included in the definition of the deposit-taking business.

He said the court found that the sale of gold acted as camouflage to prevent legal action from being taken against them.

“The court also found that clarification made by the four accused that their gold-trading activities were not deposit-taking, as defined by the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA), had failed to raise a reasonable doubt, as they met the criteria of deposit taking,” he said.

However, the court set Jan 4 for the sentencing after the defence team led by counsel Gooi Soon Seng sought a postponement on the mitigation of all the accused on the grounds that they had health problems, and would submit reports from the hospital before appealing to reduce the sentence.

The court also allowed all the accused bail of RM1 million each in two sureties each.

All the accused were also ordered to hand over their passports to the court and to provide their current residential addresses.

On Sept 20, 2016, the Kuala Lumpur High Court had upheld the Sessions Court decision to acquit and discharge the four accused after finding that the investment company was only involved in the sale and purchase of physical gold, and that there was no evidence that the company was accepting deposits without a licence.

On May 16, 2013, the Sessions Court acquitted and discharged all of them after finding that their statements of defence had managed to raise reasonable doubts against the prosecution’s case.

They were accused of committing the money-laundering offences at Menara Public Bank, 146, Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur, between July 2008 and June 2009.

They were also accused of illegally accepting public deposits at the company’s premises on Jalan Kuchai Maju 6, Persimpangan Jalan Kuchai Lama in Kuala Lumpur, between November 2008 and July 2009.

Deputy public prosecutor Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud appeared for the prosecution.