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Midas probe can't be rushed as deals took place overseas

Sias urges shareholders to be patient and allow for due process as more time is needed to gather evidence

Singapore

THE probe into irregularities at Midas Holdings requires more time due to jurisdiction-related complexities, the Securities Investors Association (Singapore), or Sias, said on Tuesday, citing information that it received in a meeting with Singapore authorities.

The shareholders advocacy group met officers from the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Feb 13 to relay the concerns of Midas shareholders anxious about the outcome of the police reports lodged with CAD. This was in relation to possible breaches of securities laws and other offences arising from irregularities in Midas' operations in China.

The investigating authorities advised that the alleged irregular transactions took place in a foreign jurisdiction, which adds complexity to the evidence-gathering process and adds to the time required for investigations, according to Sias. The investigations were triggered in March 2018 when the company lodged a police report over the transactions.

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Sias urged shareholders to be patient and to allow for due process to take place. "At the same time, Sias calls on the board and management of Midas to offer all necessary assistance to facilitate the investigation process and communicate with their shareholders and stakeholders on updates periodically," Sias said in a statement.

Last year in March, Midas' audit committee comprising three independent non-executive directors lodged a police report with CAD on the matter. At the time, the full extent of the possible breach of securities laws, other offences and potential breaches were yet to be determined.

CAD is the principal law enforcement agency for the criminal investigation of financial crimes and money laundering offences in Singapore. Its remit includes investigating criminal offences under MAS-administered laws and regulations.

Under the MAS-CAD joint investigation arrangement, both parties jointly investigate offences under the Securities and Futures Act and the Financial Advisers Act. When MAS or CAD detects or receives a complaint of suspected offences, an assessment is made on whether the matter warrants an investigation. If warranted, a joint team comprising officers from both MAS and CAD is formed. Actions that may be taken at the conclusion of investigations include prosecution or civil penalty action.