5 more double-your-money firm officers yield

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Monday, November 26, 2012


MANILA -- Fearful of retaliation from irate investors, five more members of the board of Aman Futures Group Philippines Inc. turned themselves in to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Monday.

The five agreed to cooperate in the ongoing investigation on the P12-billion pyramid scam, which has victimized several businessmen and politicians, among others, in the country.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima identified Leila Lim Gan, Eduard Lim, Wilanie Fuentes, Naezelle Rodriguez and Lurix Lopez as five of the six board directors of Aman who sent surrender feelers to the NBI and are now in the bureau's custody in Manila.

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They are now executing their respective sworn statements with the assistance of their respective counsels, which they will be submitting Tuesday before the 14-man special panel of investigating prosecutors during the start of its preliminary investigation.

Their sworn statements would be treated as their reply to the numerous complaints that have been filed against them by Aman clients who have been duped into joining their trading firm for a promise of easy and bigger returns.

"I think what they can share or what they are sharing is the flow of the investments and the assets of the entity. They have knowledge about the existing assets of the company," said De Lima.

The sixth board director, Fernando "Nonoy" Luna, has yet to surrender.

Earlier, an agent of the company, Donna Coyme, also surrendered to the NBI after she received threats from some of the victims of the investment scam.

De Lima said the Department of Justice (DOJ) is still evaluating whether Coyme could turn state witness against the incorporators of the trading firm, but could not say the same for the five board directors because their statements and affidavits are still being vetted by investigators and prosecutors.

One of the five board directors, however, confirmed that Aman founder Manuel Amalilio is in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

NBI deputy director Virgilio Mendez said the group sent feelers at the NBI that they are willing to cooperate with the DOJ's investigation, in which they are being charged as respondents in at least seven cases filed by thousands of complainants gypped by the botched investment scheme.

Mendez said they were fetched by a team of NBI agents in a designated place in Manila on Monday.

Meanwhile, de Lima said the NBI is set to include Pagadian Mayor Samuel Co as respondent in the P12-billion investment scam, citing "documentary and testimonial" evidence linking him to Aman's illegal activities.

"A complaint will be filed tomorrow, there is evidence showing or establishing the possible involvement of Mayor Samuel Co based on the evidence so far," she said.

Co was one of the alleged victims that filed a complaint before the DOJ against Amalilio and some of the firm's incorporators.

De Lima said, however, that Co will just have to answer the allegations against him since there are private complainants against him.

"No choice but for him to respond to the charge that will be filed against him based on available documents. So he maybe a complainant, he maybe a victim as he claims but we cannot close our eyes to available evidence both documentary and testimonial pointing to his participation or involvement in the scam," she said.

A source claimed that Coyme had pointed to Co as part of the scam after he received investments from the victims and even enticed City Hall employees to invest in the company. (JCV/Sunnex)

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