I was rather surprised when I read this article on Malaysian Insider's website:
Four gold traders from Genneva Sdn Bhd walked free today after being acquitted of 224 counts of money laundering and illegal deposit-taking said to be worth over RM141 million.
Sessions Court judge Rozana Ali Yusof ruled that the accused — directors Datuk Ng Poh Weng, 63, Datuk Marcus Yee Yuen Seng, 61, Datuk Chin Wai Leong, 37, and former director Liew Chee Wah, 59 — had conducted a genuine gold trading business.
According to The Star Online, the judge said the buy-back concept was found to be nothing but a marketing strategy employed by the company to assure the buyer that the gold bars were genuine gold.
“That is why Genneva is willing to buy back the gold,” Rozana was quoted as saying in her judgment.
According to this article Bank Negara Malaysia will file a notice of appeal.
I wrote about Genneva before.
Next to the court case against Genneva Sdn Bhd there is the case against Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd by Bank Negara, the investigation in Singapore against Genneva Pte Ltd by the CAD, and the cases by private investors both in Malaysia and Singapore. It is far from over.
As most people will have noticed, the price of gold has suddenly collapsed in April.
Genneva's operations in Malaysia were already discontinued, what would otherwise have happened? Would investors have returned their gold for Genneva to redeem? And would Genneva have been able to do so?