Country’s first illegal ‘cyber fund manager’ found guilty

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 22 Jun 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: A businessman, who became the country’s first man to be charged for an Internet investment scam involving RM65mil, was found guilty of being an illegal “cyber fund manager”.

He will be sentenced on July 7.

Phazaluddin Abu, 49, from Johor, was said to have held himself out as a fund manager, through the Internet website, without holding a fund manager’s licence.

He was said to have committed the offence at a multimedia e-trading company Affiliate Shoppers Network in Shah Alam between Jan 3, 2007 and June 22, 2007.

He was also convicted of three counts of taking part in money laundering involving RM1.33mil.

On Tuesday, Sessions Court judge S. M. Komathy Suppiah ruled that the evidence clearly showed that the accused’s defence was a complete fabrication, an after thought and contrary to the facts in the case.

“The defence of the accused that danafutures website did not belong to him and that neither was it controlled and managed by him is unconvincing and difficult to believe,” said Komathy who heard testimonies of 16 prosecution witnesses and three defence witnesses.

Komathy said it was Phazaluddin’s testimony that the website was owned and controlled by one Maidin - a client who had approached him to redesign the danafutures website - but failed to produce any documentary proof to support his claims.

“It is incredulous that the accused does not have any office documents that indicate Maidin was his client. Surely, Maidin would have been billed for the work allegedly done. Further, if indeed, Maidin is not a fictitious person, it is strange that the accused does not even know his full name,” she said.

Komathy said the circumstantial evidence adduced by the prosecution was also strong enough to amount a complete case against the accused.

“The accused has no other available means of rebutting the prosecution’s strong circumstantial evidence against him except by calling Maidin.

“Yet, he failed to do so without good reasons. This failure calls for the invocation of an adverse inference against him that Maidin does not in fact exist,” she said.

She said that the representation in the website that the monies invested in the scheme would be invested in the seven portfolios to generate profits was false.

She said the inconsistencies in the version of the accused had also weakened his case and impaired his credibility.

Komathy held that the prosecution had proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt and set July 7 for mitigation and sentencing on a request by his lawyer J. Chandra.

For the money laundering charges, Phazaluddin was said to have accepted proceeds from illegal activities ranging between RM109,724 and RM860,000 through the e-trading company’s bank account, his current bank account and a current bank account of one B. Rathimalar.

He was said to have committed the offences at three bank branches in Shah Alam, Kluang and Seremban respectively between Jan 8, 2007 and March 7, 2007.

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