2 November 2012
I disagree with several of the arguments put forward by Ms Grace Tan in her letter
"MAS spot on in handling buyback firm Genneva" (St 1 Nov 2012)
Ms Tan said that "it is almost impossible for the authorities to investigate each firm
to detect traces of fraud". Surely, when there are reasons to suspect fraud, e.g. when
the payback offer is "too good to be true", the regulator should have started investigation
earlier? A suitable time would be when the scheme is placed on the Investor Alert List.
Ms Tan said that by putting Genneva on the Investor Alert List, it is similar to placing a
road sign to warn about the danger. In this case, the danger sign is placed at the
danger spot on the road and not somewhere else. In the case of Genneva, surely the
warning should be placed outside its places of operation, rather than the MAS website?
Ms Tan said that "the Government cannot arrest anyone who looks like a crook
unless the person commits a crime". But, how is the authority going to know if that
person is a crook, unless an investigation is carried out? There are sufficient grounds
for the relevant authority to have started an investigation earlier, rather than wait for years
to take action. MAS could have asked the Commercial Affairs Department to carry out
an investigation much earlier.
Ms. Tan also quoted the analogy of a person who break the law by jaywalking. There is
a difference. A person who jaywalks can only harm himself. When a buyback firm breaks the law,
the firm is harming thousands
of unsuspecting investors.
Tan Kin Lian