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Ex-YuuZoo chairman asks firm to pay unpaid salaries to laid-off staff: YSHA

FORMER YuuZoo chairman Thomas Zilliacus has asked the company to "commit itself" to paying unpaid salaries to staff laid off regionally, according to a statement by YuuZoo Shareholders Association (YSHA) on Wednesday. 

YSHA - which was formed in January 2019 by about 20 shareholders from the US, Europe and Australia - said that due to the trading suspension of YuuZoo's shares on the Singapore stock exchange, YuuZoo has been unable to continue funding its subsidiaries.

As a result, staff working for subsidiaries in Singapore, Thailand, Nigeria, France and China were laid off, "many with 1-3 months of salaries unpaid".

According to the statement, the former chairman also told YuuZoo he has "donated all proceeds to be made from his share options in YuuZoo to charities". Calls to Mr Zilliacus did not go through.  

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Mr Zilliacus resigned from YuuZoo last April as the company faced investigations - which are ongoing - by the Commercial Affairs Department for possible breaches of the Securities and Futures Act. 

In April 2018, the white-collar crime buster raided its office and seized documents for the financial years 2013 to 2016. It also interviewed former management staff, including Mr Zilliacus, whose whereabouts are unclear.

In March this year, the company closed its Singapore-based subsidiaries and terminated all its Singapore-based employees, a move it said was a direct consequence of its trading suspension. YuuZoo blamed the share suspension, police investigation and other issues for its woes.

Later in May, The Business Times reported that several former employees of YuuZooNow! Pte Ltd in Singapore, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of YuuZoo, have made claims against the company for unpaid salaries.

About 10 people may have registered their claims at the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management for mediation. But since these were not resolved, they were referred to the Employment Claims Tribunal.

Among the claims referred to the tribunal were that of the group's former general counsel and head of legal who is claiming unpaid salary from Jan 1, 2019 to Apr 2, 2019, amounting to about S$37,090.