Datuk wanted in RM308m fraud case

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KUALA LUMPUR: Businessman Datuk Vijayeswaran S. Vijayaratnam, who was arrested in Jakarta last week, is wanted in connection with a US$90 million (RM308m) fraud case in the Philippines.
Indonesian police are co-ordinating with their Filipino counterparts to extradite him to Quezon City where a warrant of arrest has been issued against him for a nine-year-old case.

The warrant is for fraud and conspiracy, according to the Interpol website.

The 46-year-old is the group managing director of QI Limited, which is based in Hong Kong with branches in 30 countries from Australia to Brazil. Its regional office in Malaysia is in Petaling Jaya.

According to sources close to Vijayeswaran, the businessman had ventured into a business deal in the Philippines in 1998, but it turned sour.
His Filipino partners allegedly filed a civil suit against him. This was eventually converted into a criminal case. It is learnt that there is no bail for the charges.

At press time, his lawyers and senior company officials, who are in Jakarta, were fighting moves to extradite him.

Vijayeswaran, who was awarded a Datukship from Pahang, was posted on Interpols wanted list on April 2 under the “red notice”.

The “red notice” circulates the warrant worldwide with the request that the wanted person be arrested for the purpose of extradition.

On Thursday night, Vijayeswaran was picked up by police in Jakarta, along with three senior personnel of QI Limited, at a five-star hotel.

The three were identified as Joseph Bismark, Donna Marie Imson and Tagumpay Kintanar, all from the Philippines.

It is learnt that after his failed business bid in 1998, Vijayeswaran started QI Limited.

According to its website, QI Limited is a diversified organisation involved in varied business sectors, including retailing, travel and leisure, luxury products, interactive marketing, telecom and technology products, financial services, corporate investments, media, training, education and business consulting.

The company also made a name for itself as one of the worlds largest providers of limited-edition numismatics, fine gold and diamond jewellery, as well as “distinctive timepieces and stylish writing instruments”.

As more QI subsidiaries have emerged, QuestNet was created to support the groups burgeoning customer base.

Vijayeswaran ventured back to Malaysia by investing in several state and federal projects.

In 2000, however, his company here, GoldQuest International, had a run-in with the law.

The companys country ma- nager, Tony Teoh Boon Sir, was charged with operating a direct selling company without a valid licence.

It is learnt that the charge, filed by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, was dropped several years later.

Last night, QI group director of finance Richard E. Zinkiewicz issued a statement on the arrest of Vijayeswaran and three others, saying that to date, there had not been any hearing in any court on the entire merits of the case against any of the individuals.

"The case is currently pending further determination before the Court of Appeal in the Philippines.

“We wish to reiterate that the case is in no way related to the business activities of any of the companies of the group.”

He also claimed that the issues relating to the matters reported, including in respect of Indonesia and one of QIs businesses, had been overstated and inaccurate.

“We are certain that in due course, the truth will unfold and all events will be presented in their correct perspective as opposed to the regrettable manner in which they have currently been stated.”

Zinkiewicz also confirmed that the company and its representatives were co-operating fully with Interpol in Indonesia on the matter.