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Friday, 27 February 2015

Investors in gold scheme alarmed by firm's silence

More than 20 investors who put around $7 million into a gold buyback scheme run by local firm Suisse International are now worried that they cannot get their money back.

Not only is its owner uncontactable, they said, but the company's office at Keypoint in Beach Road has also been closed.

The last message the investors received was from the firm's vice-president Belinda Hah in the first week of January. That was when she informed them via SMS that their money was stuck in a transfer to the firm's Hong Kong branch - Suisse HK.

"After we joined, we also brought our friends in because (Suisse) promised to give us better returns and sell us gold at a cheaper rate if we recommended others," said operations manager Louis Tan, 36, who put in $40,000 last June.
It was easy to convince their friends to join because the company promised them about $1,000 a month, which worked out to a 20 per cent return, for every kilogram of gold they bought.
The investors were told that the profit came from melting the gold and turning it into limited-edition coins or other novelty items, which were sold overseas or to other local companies. The investors also said they were told Suisse International was headed by a former police officer, and that bolstered their confidence.
"We also saw other people receiving cheques when we agreed to invest," said housewife Y.H. Yang, 53, who had put in $2.2 million since April last year.
Investors began worrying last December when Ms Hah delayed their payouts, citing cashflow concerns. She also said investors would get cash payouts instead of cheques, as the firm was trying to avoid the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) scrutiny.
The MAS had put both the Singapore company and its Hong Kong branch on its Investor Alert List last November. Both firms, despite one being located in Hong Kong, are listed with the same Beach Road address on the list.
"That's when we knew something was wrong. How can a company claim to be legitimate if it was worried about the authorities?" said Mr Tan.
The Straits Times tried contacting Ms Hah, but calls went unanswered. A visit to the firm's office yesterday also found it closed.
When The Straits Times went to Mr Chaw's Bishan flat, neighbours said that they had not seen him for about six months.
Madam Yang, who also sold her ancestral home in Shanghai to bankroll her investment, said: "I'm worried that I've been cheated. That was my life savings and money saved for my nine-year-old daughter's future."
The police said it was inappropriate to comment on the case as investigations are ongoing.
OTHER MAJOR GOLD SCAMS
THE GOLD GUARANTEE
Investors were offered monthly payouts to purchase gold at a premium from the company, which also had businesses in Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
In 2013, investors were left in the lurch when payments ceased suddenly and founder Lee Song Teck vanished. They lost tens of thousands of dollars.
GENNEVA GOLD
In 2012, more than 10,000 investors lost their money to Genneva Gold, which was raided by the Commercial Affairs Department.
The company sold gold at a 2 per cent discount to market prices. It promised to buy back the gold 30 or 90 days later. Investors reportedly poured up to RM10 billion into its Malaysian arm as well.
- See more at: http://business.asiaone.com/news/investors-gold-scheme-alarmed-firms-silence#sthash.eWlS9x16.dpuf
"After we joined, we also brought our friends in because (Suisse) promised to give us better returns and sell us gold at a cheaper rate if we recommended others," said operations manager Louis Tan, 36, who put in $40,000 last June.
It was easy to convince their friends to join because the company promised them about $1,000 a month, which worked out to a 20 per cent return, for every kilogram of gold they bought.
The investors were told that the profit came from melting the gold and turning it into limited-edition coins or other novelty items, which were sold overseas or to other local companies. The investors also said they were told Suisse International was headed by a former police officer, and that bolstered their confidence.
"We also saw other people receiving cheques when we agreed to invest," said housewife Y.H. Yang, 53, who had put in $2.2 million since April last year.
Investors began worrying last December when Ms Hah delayed their payouts, citing cashflow concerns. She also said investors would get cash payouts instead of cheques, as the firm was trying to avoid the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) scrutiny.
The MAS had put both the Singapore company and its Hong Kong branch on its Investor Alert List last November. Both firms, despite one being located in Hong Kong, are listed with the same Beach Road address on the list.
"That's when we knew something was wrong. How can a company claim to be legitimate if it was worried about the authorities?" said Mr Tan.
The Straits Times tried contacting Ms Hah, but calls went unanswered. A visit to the firm's office yesterday also found it closed.
When The Straits Times went to Mr Chaw's Bishan flat, neighbours said that they had not seen him for about six months.
Madam Yang, who also sold her ancestral home in Shanghai to bankroll her investment, said: "I'm worried that I've been cheated. That was my life savings and money saved for my nine-year-old daughter's future."
The police said it was inappropriate to comment on the case as investigations are ongoing.
OTHER MAJOR GOLD SCAMS
THE GOLD GUARANTEE
Investors were offered monthly payouts to purchase gold at a premium from the company, which also had businesses in Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
In 2013, investors were left in the lurch when payments ceased suddenly and founder Lee Song Teck vanished. They lost tens of thousands of dollars.
GENNEVA GOLD
In 2012, more than 10,000 investors lost their money to Genneva Gold, which was raided by the Commercial Affairs Department.
The company sold gold at a 2 per cent discount to market prices. It promised to buy back the gold 30 or 90 days later. Investors reportedly poured up to RM10 billion into its Malaysian arm as well.
- See more at: http://business.asiaone.com/news/investors-gold-scheme-alarmed-firms-silence#sthash.eWlS9x16.dpuf
No further details were given on how investors could get their money back. At least three of them have gone to the police, and engaged a debt collection agency to locate Ms Hah.

The investors were all introduced by their friends to Ms Hah and her partner Jeffrey Chow. He is believed to be the son of the company's registered owner, Mr Chaw Soo Ha.

"After we joined, we also brought our friends in because (Suisse) promised to give us better returns and sell us gold at a cheaper rate if we recommended others," said operations manager Louis Tan, 36, who put in $40,000 last June.
It was easy to convince their friends to join because the company promised them about $1,000 a month, which worked out to a 20 per cent return, for every kilogram of gold they bought.
The investors were told that the profit came from melting the gold and turning it into limited-edition coins or other novelty items, which were sold overseas or to other local companies. The investors also said they were told Suisse International was headed by a former police officer, and that bolstered their confidence.
"We also saw other people receiving cheques when we agreed to invest," said housewife Y.H. Yang, 53, who had put in $2.2 million since April last year.
Investors began worrying last December when Ms Hah delayed their payouts, citing cashflow concerns. She also said investors would get cash payouts instead of cheques, as the firm was trying to avoid the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) scrutiny.
The MAS had put both the Singapore company and its Hong Kong branch on its Investor Alert List last November. Both firms, despite one being located in Hong Kong, are listed with the same Beach Road address on the list.
"That's when we knew something was wrong. How can a company claim to be legitimate if it was worried about the authorities?" said Mr Tan.
The Straits Times tried contacting Ms Hah, but calls went unanswered. A visit to the firm's office yesterday also found it closed.
When The Straits Times went to Mr Chaw's Bishan flat, neighbours said that they had not seen him for about six months.
Madam Yang, who also sold her ancestral home in Shanghai to bankroll her investment, said: "I'm worried that I've been cheated. That was my life savings and money saved for my nine-year-old daughter's future."
The police said it was inappropriate to comment on the case as investigations are ongoing.
OTHER MAJOR GOLD SCAMS
THE GOLD GUARANTEE
Investors were offered monthly payouts to purchase gold at a premium from the company, which also had businesses in Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
In 2013, investors were left in the lurch when payments ceased suddenly and founder Lee Song Teck vanished. They lost tens of thousands of dollars.
GENNEVA GOLD
In 2012, more than 10,000 investors lost their money to Genneva Gold, which was raided by the Commercial Affairs Department.
The company sold gold at a 2 per cent discount to market prices. It promised to buy back the gold 30 or 90 days later. Investors reportedly poured up to RM10 billion into its Malaysian arm as well.
- See more at: http://business.asiaone.com/news/investors-gold-scheme-alarmed-firms-silence#sthash.eWlS9x16.dpuf


"After we joined, we also brought our friends in because (Suisse) promised to give us better returns and sell us gold at a cheaper rate if we recommended others," said operations manager Louis Tan, 36, who put in $40,000 last June.

It was easy to convince their friends to join because the company promised them about $1,000 a month, which worked out to a 20 per cent return, for every kilogram of gold they bought.

The investors were told that the profit came from melting the gold and turning it into limited-edition coins or other novelty items, which were sold overseas or to other local companies. The investors also said they were told Suisse International was headed by a former police officer, and that bolstered their confidence.

"We also saw other people receiving cheques when we agreed to invest," said housewife Y.H. Yang, 53, who had put in $2.2 million since April last year.

Investors began worrying last December when Ms Hah delayed their payouts, citing cashflow concerns. She also said investors would get cash payouts instead of cheques, as the firm was trying to avoid the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) scrutiny.

The MAS had put both the Singapore company and its Hong Kong branch on its Investor Alert List last November. Both firms, despite one being located in Hong Kong, are listed with the same Beach Road address on the list.

"That's when we knew something was wrong. How can a company claim to be legitimate if it was worried about the authorities?" said Mr Tan.

The Straits Times tried contacting Ms Hah, but calls went unanswered. A visit to the firm's office yesterday also found it closed.

When The Straits Times went to Mr Chaw's Bishan flat, neighbours said that they had not seen him for about six months.

Madam Yang, who also sold her ancestral home in Shanghai to bankroll her investment, said: "I'm worried that I've been cheated. That was my life savings and money saved for my nine-year-old daughter's future."

The police said it was inappropriate to comment on the case as investigations are ongoing.

OTHER MAJOR GOLD SCAMS

THE GOLD GUARANTEE

Investors were offered monthly payouts to purchase gold at a premium from the company, which also had businesses in Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

In 2013, investors were left in the lurch when payments ceased suddenly and founder Lee Song Teck vanished. They lost tens of thousands of dollars.

GENNEVA GOLD

In 2012, more than 10,000 investors lost their money to Genneva Gold, which was raided by the Commercial Affairs Department.

The company sold gold at a 2 per cent discount to market prices. It promised to buy back the gold 30 or 90 days later. Investors reportedly poured up to RM10 billion into its Malaysian arm as well.



"After we joined, we also brought our friends in because (Suisse) promised to give us better returns and sell us gold at a cheaper rate if we recommended others," said operations manager Louis Tan, 36, who put in $40,000 last June.
It was easy to convince their friends to join because the company promised them about $1,000 a month, which worked out to a 20 per cent return, for every kilogram of gold they bought.
The investors were told that the profit came from melting the gold and turning it into limited-edition coins or other novelty items, which were sold overseas or to other local companies. The investors also said they were told Suisse International was headed by a former police officer, and that bolstered their confidence.
"We also saw other people receiving cheques when we agreed to invest," said housewife Y.H. Yang, 53, who had put in $2.2 million since April last year.
Investors began worrying last December when Ms Hah delayed their payouts, citing cashflow concerns. She also said investors would get cash payouts instead of cheques, as the firm was trying to avoid the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) scrutiny.
The MAS had put both the Singapore company and its Hong Kong branch on its Investor Alert List last November. Both firms, despite one being located in Hong Kong, are listed with the same Beach Road address on the list.
"That's when we knew something was wrong. How can a company claim to be legitimate if it was worried about the authorities?" said Mr Tan.
The Straits Times tried contacting Ms Hah, but calls went unanswered. A visit to the firm's office yesterday also found it closed.
When The Straits Times went to Mr Chaw's Bishan flat, neighbours said that they had not seen him for about six months.
Madam Yang, who also sold her ancestral home in Shanghai to bankroll her investment, said: "I'm worried that I've been cheated. That was my life savings and money saved for my nine-year-old daughter's future."
The police said it was inappropriate to comment on the case as investigations are ongoing.
OTHER MAJOR GOLD SCAMS
THE GOLD GUARANTEE
Investors were offered monthly payouts to purchase gold at a premium from the company, which also had businesses in Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
In 2013, investors were left in the lurch when payments ceased suddenly and founder Lee Song Teck vanished. They lost tens of thousands of dollars.
GENNEVA GOLD
In 2012, more than 10,000 investors lost their money to Genneva Gold, which was raided by the Commercial Affairs Department.
The company sold gold at a 2 per cent discount to market prices. It promised to buy back the gold 30 or 90 days later. Investors reportedly poured up to RM10 billion into its Malaysian arm as well.
- See more at: http://business.asiaone.com/news/investors-gold-scheme-alarmed-firms-silence#sthash.eWlS9x16.dpuf
"After we joined, we also brought our friends in because (Suisse) promised to give us better returns and sell us gold at a cheaper rate if we recommended others," said operations manager Louis Tan, 36, who put in $40,000 last June.
It was easy to convince their friends to join because the company promised them about $1,000 a month, which worked out to a 20 per cent return, for every kilogram of gold they bought.
The investors were told that the profit came from melting the gold and turning it into limited-edition coins or other novelty items, which were sold overseas or to other local companies. The investors also said they were told Suisse International was headed by a former police officer, and that bolstered their confidence.
"We also saw other people receiving cheques when we agreed to invest," said housewife Y.H. Yang, 53, who had put in $2.2 million since April last year.
Investors began worrying last December when Ms Hah delayed their payouts, citing cashflow concerns. She also said investors would get cash payouts instead of cheques, as the firm was trying to avoid the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) scrutiny.
The MAS had put both the Singapore company and its Hong Kong branch on its Investor Alert List last November. Both firms, despite one being located in Hong Kong, are listed with the same Beach Road address on the list.
"That's when we knew something was wrong. How can a company claim to be legitimate if it was worried about the authorities?" said Mr Tan.
The Straits Times tried contacting Ms Hah, but calls went unanswered. A visit to the firm's office yesterday also found it closed.
When The Straits Times went to Mr Chaw's Bishan flat, neighbours said that they had not seen him for about six months.
Madam Yang, who also sold her ancestral home in Shanghai to bankroll her investment, said: "I'm worried that I've been cheated. That was my life savings and money saved for my nine-year-old daughter's future."
The police said it was inappropriate to comment on the case as investigations are ongoing.
OTHER MAJOR GOLD SCAMS
THE GOLD GUARANTEE
Investors were offered monthly payouts to purchase gold at a premium from the company, which also had businesses in Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
In 2013, investors were left in the lurch when payments ceased suddenly and founder Lee Song Teck vanished. They lost tens of thousands of dollars.
GENNEVA GOLD
In 2012, more than 10,000 investors lost their money to Genneva Gold, which was raided by the Commercial Affairs Department.
The company sold gold at a 2 per cent discount to market prices. It promised to buy back the gold 30 or 90 days later. Investors reportedly poured up to RM10 billion into its Malaysian arm as well.
- See more at: http://business.asiaone.com/news/investors-gold-scheme-alarmed-firms-silence#sthash.eWlS9x16.dpuf

"After we joined, we also brought our friends in because (Suisse) promised to give us better returns and sell us gold at a cheaper rate if we recommended others," said operations manager Louis Tan, 36, who put in $40,000 last June.
It was easy to convince their friends to join because the company promised them about $1,000 a month, which worked out to a 20 per cent return, for every kilogram of gold they bought.
The investors were told that the profit came from melting the gold and turning it into limited-edition coins or other novelty items, which were sold overseas or to other local companies. The investors also said they were told Suisse International was headed by a former police officer, and that bolstered their confidence.
"We also saw other people receiving cheques when we agreed to invest," said housewife Y.H. Yang, 53, who had put in $2.2 million since April last year.
Investors began worrying last December when Ms Hah delayed their payouts, citing cashflow concerns. She also said investors would get cash payouts instead of cheques, as the firm was trying to avoid the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) scrutiny.
The MAS had put both the Singapore company and its Hong Kong branch on its Investor Alert List last November. Both firms, despite one being located in Hong Kong, are listed with the same Beach Road address on the list.
"That's when we knew something was wrong. How can a company claim to be legitimate if it was worried about the authorities?" said Mr Tan.
The Straits Times tried contacting Ms Hah, but calls went unanswered. A visit to the firm's office yesterday also found it closed.
When The Straits Times went to Mr Chaw's Bishan flat, neighbours said that they had not seen him for about six months.
Madam Yang, who also sold her ancestral home in Shanghai to bankroll her investment, said: "I'm worried that I've been cheated. That was my life savings and money saved for my nine-year-old daughter's future."
The police said it was inappropriate to comment on the case as investigations are ongoing.
OTHER MAJOR GOLD SCAMS
THE GOLD GUARANTEE
Investors were offered monthly payouts to purchase gold at a premium from the company, which also had businesses in Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
In 2013, investors were left in the lurch when payments ceased suddenly and founder Lee Song Teck vanished. They lost tens of thousands of dollars.
GENNEVA GOLD
In 2012, more than 10,000 investors lost their money to Genneva Gold, which was raided by the Commercial Affairs Department.
The company sold gold at a 2 per cent discount to market prices. It promised to buy back the gold 30 or 90 days later. Investors reportedly poured up to RM10 billion into its Malaysian arm as well.
- See more at: http://business.asiaone.com/news/investors-gold-scheme-alarmed-firms-silence#sthash.eWlS9x16.dpuf

More than 100 investors lodge police reports on alleged gold scam

The group says they are representing more than 260 victims. It is believed that there are more than 8,000 victims from all around the world who have taken part in this scheme, with total losses of more than S$80 million.

 

SINGAPORE: More than 100 people who had invested in a gold buyback scheme gathered on Monday (Feb 2) at the Commercial Affairs Division in Police Cantonment Complex to lodge a report against investment company Suisse International.
 
They said they represented about 260 investors in total, adding that 8,000 people around the world are believed to have been scammed, with losses of more than S$80 million.

The company allegedly told investors that it bought and sold gold to turn into novelty coins, which were then sold at a profit overseas.

To participate, investors had to purchase at least 1kg worth of gold bars costing between S$10,000 and S$20,000. In return, they were told they would receive S$5,400 in monthly payouts. Investors would also receive a referral fee if they introduced a friend to the scheme.

 
 
Investors said they have previously cashed cheques by the company and hence did not suspect it was a scam.

The payouts allegedly stopped in September last year and the investors said that the bosses of the company have been uncontactable since last month.

“In September, the Government had implemented new regulations against money-laundering. Then the company said they had to move our contracts to Hong Kong. We did as we were told, but we were unable to receive our payouts from then on,” said an investor who gave his name as Johnny.

A man claiming to be the vice president of Suisse International led the group to CAD to make the report. He said he had taken part in the investment scheme for two years.

The company has been on the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) Investor Alert List since November 2014. According to MAS, the list comprises unregulated persons who - based on information received by MAS - may have been wrongly perceived as being licensed or authorised.

Singapore bank lending falls in January

According to latest data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, total loans and advances fell to S$607.47 billion last month, compared to S$607.91 billion in December 2014. 

SINGAPORE: Bank lending in the Republic continued to fall in January from December last year, in yet another sign that economic activity may be slowing down.
 
According to the latest data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, total loans and advances fell to S$607.47 billion last month, compared to S$607.91 billion in December 2014. However, bank lending grew 4.3 per cent in January from S$582.24 billion a year earlier.

A slowdown in business activity could account for the decline in total loans to businesses, which fell 0.3 per cent on-month to S$370.28 billion. Contributing to the decline is bank lending to the building and construction sector, which fell 0.16 per cent to S$103.54 billion.

In the consumer segment, credit card loans fell 1.9 per cent to S$10.22 billion at end-January compared to a month earlier. Housing and bridging loans in the same month increased 0.5 per cent to S$178.27 billion from S$177.43 billion in December last year.

Meanwhile, total consumer loans rose 0.3 per cent in January to S$237.19 billion from the previous month.

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