"Rich Filipinos lose millions in new financial scandal
By Daxim Lucas
MANILA, Philippines -- Another financial scandal has hit Filipino investors after online pyramiding schemes like Francswiss, which promised high returns, folded up when authorities exposed them.
This time, the victims appear to be the well-heeled.
As much as $250 million in investors’ funds may have been lost after the owner of a foreign exchange trading outfit disappeared, leaving the company’s bank accounts here and abroad nearly empty.
Because of this, an official of the trading firm called Performance Investments Products Corp. (PIPC) Thursday asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to help find the company’s Singaporean owner who is suspected of having salted away the funds.
In a letter to NBI Director Nestor M. Mantaring, Cristina Gonzalez-Tuason, PIPC general manager, requested the help of Interpol to locate Michael H.K. Liew, the owner of Performance Investments Products Corp. in the British Virgin Islands (Performance Investment, BVI)..."
Tsk...tsk... even the rich are not immune to the prospect of "easy" money. This is a big scam. Minimum investment is at 2 million pesos yata (around $40,000). It is estimated that the Singaporean owner Michael Liew had control of as much as $250 million of investors' money. The authorities have recovered around $2 million so far. Kawawa yung mga nag-invest at mga nag-refer ng clients sa company. Even the local partners and management staff claim to have invested their personal money in the venture. The loss of $250 million will have an impact on potential domestic investments. I imagine part of this money could have gone to the new company IPOs in the PSE.
I heard about Performance Investments (PIPC) from an acquaintance who told me that it is a sister company of the Performance Foreign Exchange Corporation (PFEC) that caters to higher-end clients. PFEC, by the way, is an online forex trading company in Makati. I wonder if he was able to pull out his investment in time. I didn't have the time and motivation to do some research about their connection until now.
Here's what I found out:
According to the PFEC website, its chairman is also a Michael Liew. He attended the inauguration of the Cebu branch. That information was taken down from the website when I last accessed it. I was able to save a copy of the web page.
Mr. Michael Liew of Performance Investment Products Inc. (PIPC) as well as the other partners and staff of PIPC also helped establish a fund to renovate the OB-Gyn complex in the Philippine General Hospital last year. This donation may have helped build his credibility among the well-heeled crowd.
By the way, Francswiss was mentioned in the article as well. =) Francswiss was a pyramiding scam that made the rounds in Metro Manila recently. At least four people asked me about it and I told them that the offered returns were not plausible.