Frozen delight: Court seizes 138 bank accounts of Mika Tan, MFT Group amid alleged investment fraud

The Court of Appeals has ordered a 20-day freeze on the bank, investment, and insurance accounts of Maria Francesca “Mika” Tan (MFT) Group of Companies and its officials, at the request of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

The freeze covers 138 bank accounts, four securities accounts, and four insurance accounts linked to MFT Group, Foundry Ventures I, Mondial Medical Technologies, and several individuals including Mika, Christian Konstantin, Roxanne G. Agbayani, Enrique Eduardo D. Tan, Charles Edward D. Tan, and Luis Gabriel R. Cancio, Jr.

This action follows an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which alleged MFT Group solicited investments from the public without the necessary permit.

The SEC claims MFT Group offered guaranteed returns between 12-18%, distributed through post-dated checks reflecting a 1 to 1.5 percent monthly interest. Investors reportedly received promissory notes or borrower-lender agreements as proof of their investment.

Under Section 10 of Republic Act No. 9160, or the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of 2001, the CA may issue a freeze order upon a verified ex parte petition by the AMLC and after determining that probable cause exists that any monetary instrument or property is in any way related to an unlawful activity.

Fraudulent practices and other violations under Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code (SRC), are among the predicate offenses of money laundering, as provided under the 2018 Implementing Rules and Regulations of the AMLA.

In a separate resolution promulgated on May 17, the CA also granted the AMLC’s ex parte application for a bank inquiry order, authorizing the Council to inquire into or examine the bank, securities, and insurance accounts of the group within a period of 120 days.

Under Section 11 of the AMLA and Rule 11 of the 2018 IRR, the CA, upon ex parte application, may order that the AMLC be allowed to inquire into or examine any particular deposit or investment, including related accounts, with any banking institution or non-bank financial institution after determining that there is probable cause that they are in any way related to an unlawful activity as defined under the same law.

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