BNM approval not needed to refund investors
B Nantha Kumar | February 23, 2012
Central bank says Bestino free to return any purported funds claimed to be in existence to investors in gold investment scheme.
KUALA LUMPUR: Gold investment scheme operator Bestino Golden House Sdn Bhd need not wait for a green light from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to return investors’ money.
“Bestino is free to return any purported funds claimed to be in existence to the investors. Approval from BNM is not required,” the central bank said in a statement.
On Monday, investors urged BNM to clear the air over a statement by Bestino director Chong Yuk Ming that Bank Negara had yet to give the green light to refund investors’ money.
Chong said Bestino was ready to return the money to investors on April 30 this year since the company has US$146 million (RM438 million) in the HSBC Bank, Hong Kong.
The largest gold invest scheme in the nation, Bestino which is based in Ipoh, stopped taking in investments after BNM raided the company for illegal deposit-taking activities.
Four of its directors were charged in the Sessions Court in Ipoh on Feb 23 last year for illegal deposit-taking and money-laundering offences.
Since then, more than 6,700 investors have demanded that BNM and Bestino return their investments.
No reason to hold on to the money
BNM also stated that the Bestino management has not responded to a request for a tripartite meeting with investors so that the company can explain its plan to refund investors.
Meanwhile, Bestino Action Committee urged the directors to immediately return investors’ monies in light of BNM’s statement that it has no objection to the company refunding.
At a press conference today, committee member M Sarasvathy said that Bestino should refund monies as soon as possible as they had pledged to do.
“There is no reason for them to hold on to the money, amounting to RM411 million, now that BNM had cleared the air on the matter,” she said. “We want Bestino to settle the money now.”
Sarasvathy who is also Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) national deputy chairman said that they will continue with their signature campaign until investors get back the money.
“We will meet BNM governor in soon to seek a meeting between BNM, Bestino directors and investors to get a full picture on the current scenario,” she added.