Genneva gold scam: Court rules 232 plaintiffs in Sarawak can claim RM37m in special damages

Wong King Wei (3rd left) and members of his legal team after the court judgement. — Borneo Post pic
Wong King Wei (3rd left) and members of his legal team after the court judgement. — Borneo Post pic

KUCHING, Sept 30 — A total of 232 plaintiffs from Sarawak today succeeded in their bid to claim special damages of RM37,351,520 from Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

Kuching High Court Judge Datuk Lee Heng Cheong in his ruling said the plaintiffs will be compensated for their losses in gold investment with the company.

He also said the 232 plaintiffs have the right to claim the damages in the form of cash from Genneva Malaysia through Bank Negara.

In the statement of the claim, the defendant was said to have advertised and represented to the public at all material times that it was a licensed body to conduct gold trading.

The plaintiffs then entered into four types of agreements with the defendant for gold trading through its agents at its office at Bangunan Binamas.

However, the plaintiffs did not receive the gold products or the value of the gold products they had purchased.

They then sued Genneva Malaysia for its failure to conduct business in a proper or legal manner, so as to prevent seizure of any gold by the relevant authority.

Wong King Wei, one of the counsels for the plaintiffs, described the judgment as significant in that all 232 plaintiffs will be compensated with cash and not by return of gold.

“The gold that has been lost will be compensated by the value of the gold in terms of money,” he told reporters.

Wong said he and the legal team comprising counsels Betty Ling, Jennet Wong, Joshua Lee, Alex Ngu and Terrance Chong represented 269 plaintiffs in their claim against Genneva Malaysia for the losses they suffered due to purchasing gold or subscribing to the scheme under the company.

However, 37 plaintiffs failed or refused to file claims against the company and as such, today’s judgment was for the remaining 232 plaintiffs, he added.

On August 4 this year, Bernama reported that the High Court in Kuala Lumpur sentenced eight individuals linked to Genneva Malaysia to between three and nine years’ jail for money laundering and illegal deposit-taking related to gold bullion investments in 2011.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh also fined all the accused between RM1 million and RM3 million in default two to four years’ jail.

The accused were three directors of Genneva Malaysia, namely Datuk Tan Liang Keat, Datuk Philip Lim Jit Meng and Ahmad Khairuddin Ilias, its general manager Lim Kah Heng and two advisors Datuk Ng Poh Weng and Datuk Marcus Yee Yuen Seng, as well as two other individuals Datuk Chiew Soo Ling and Yao Kee Boon.

Genneva Malaysia 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 punishments after allowing the prosecution’s appeal against the Sessions Court’s decision in 2017 to acquit and discharge all the accused.

However, he 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. — Borneo Post 

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