Over 200 cheated of RM2.2m by businessman and wife

vell-pariPETALING JAYA: A prominent businessman and his wife cheated more than 200 “poor Indians” out of RM2.2 million through a Ponzi scheme, MIC treasurer-general S Vell Paari claimed today.

He said the couple had teamed up with a forex investment company and promised the investors, ranging from students to pensioners, handsome returns.

Vell Paari said the duo had directed the forex investment company to pump RM5 million into a charity foundation run by the couple, and then directed the company to instruct its investors to bank in their money directly to the foundation.

The company is said to have received its investment of RM5 million back.

The duo, Vell Paari explained, lured many victims by claiming they had links to the prime minister, his wife, Bank Negara Malaysia and the finance ministry.

Up until today, Vell Paari claimed, most of the victims have not seen a single sen in returns.

Vell Paari said prior to holding today’s press conference, he had urged the businessman and his wife, who purportedly led a luxurious lifestyle, to return the money, but to no avail.

“Poor Indians were duped and we cannot let it be. It is a very sad case,” he told reporters.

Also present were former MIC treasurer R Ramanan and some of the victims.

Vell Paari also revealed he had been contacted by the businessman and his wife, warning him to not go ahead with his exposé.

He also received a legal notice on the matter, but declared he disregarded it as he was willing to be sued.

Ramanan also said he was threatened with legal action and alleged that the businessman had threatened some of the investors with physical harm as well.

However, he said, he was not deterred by the threats, and vowed to fight on behalf of the investors.

“We will hunt you down and make sure you pay back the money.”

Vell Paari and Ramanan have since appointed a legal firm to represent the victims in a suit against the businessman and his wife.

A total of 117 victims have since signed up to initiate legal action against the duo, according to Ramanan.

Victim Benedict Chris said he invested RM4,000 and his mother, a single parent, RM12,000 .

Benedict said while he received RM6,000 in returns, his mother did not get any of her investment back.

“My mother invested because she trusted my advice. Some of my friends did as well. I just want to help them get their money back.”

Another victim, S Suyampraghsam, 61, said he invested RM280,000 of his pension and money from his Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

“I only got back around RM100,000,” he said.