Daily Express
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF EAST MALAYSIA
Established since 1963
Firm denies into illegal deposit-taking

Published on: Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Kota Kinabalu: Gold investment company Worldwide Far East Bhd on Monday denied allegations that it is involved in illegal deposit-taking.

Its Chairman, Dato Dr Noor Ismahanum Mohd Ismail, said Worldwide has a licence from City Hall to operate its gold trading business and also permission from the police.

She said the company has been conducting its business for more than two years and has never been involved in illegal deposit-taking.

"Bank Negara (BNM) should have conducted an investigation before conducting the raid," she told reporters after explaining to investors during a meeting at Star City.

While Worldwide welcomed any investigation regarding its activities, she questioned why the company is accused and penalised even before the investigation is completed.

Since the raid on the company's office in Kuala Lumpur last Friday, she said, the BNM had yet to call her for questioning.

She said several "BNM officers" came to Worldwide's office at 5pm and showed her staff a warrant letter.

The officers, she said, demanded that the office CCTV be turned off before they raided the premises and took away several documents and computers.

According to Dr Noor, the officers refused to enter the office until the CCTV system was disabled.

"I feel that something is very wrong here and I want to ask whether it is a normal procedure by Bank Negara (when raiding premises)," she queried.

Because of the wide coverage by the media about the raid, she claimed the Worldwide Far East incurred about RM3.5 million in business losses especially on its contracts in Indonesia.

She said some BNM officers during the raid raised their voices when demanding from Worldwide staff in the office. The officers only left the office at about 9pm, she added.

Dr Noor said she was informed that Bank Negara raided her office due to reports by complainants.

She said the company not only carries out gold trading but has also diversified into construction, manufacturing, production house, high-powered motor accessories, education, housing, land, hotels and event management, among others.

"In our international consultation work, we are the only bumiputera company that won a development contract in Kota Pariaman of Indonesia," she said.

This, she said, provided an opportunity to Malaysian contractors in development work in Indonesia such as being sole distributor of motoring parts from Indonesia to Malaysia.

As a responsible company, Dr Noor said Worldwide Far East also provided financial assistance to many registered youth associations in the country including sponsoring Malaysian students for overseas studies in addition to helping Malaysians out from poverty.

She said the company would be distributing dividends to its investors in two weeks. The dividends for May-October that it would distribute to the investors in two weeks, she said, amounts to more than RM100 million.

"The company is still waiting for cheques it issued to the investors recently to be returned so that it could stagger the payment to be channelled to the investors.

"There was an overlap in the cheques issuedÉwe could only pay a maximum of RM500,000 to customers according to banking rules and regulations in a day and there was simply too many cheques that we issued to the customers resulting in the overlap," she said.

Worldwide Far East, Dr Noor said, received more than RM300 million from investors nationwide in its gold trading activity.

Bank Negara last Friday said Worldwide Far East Bhd including Pageantry Gold Bhd and Caesar Gold Sdn Bhd were being investigated for money-laundering, tax evasion and avoidance, false description, including misrepresentation and appointment of unlicensed agents.

They were the latest gold investment companies raided after Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd, which is being investigated for similar offences.