CA extends freeze order on MFT Group assets, bank accounts

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star
CA extends freeze order on MFT Group assets, bank accounts
Maria Francesca Tan
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The freeze order over the bank, investment and insurance accounts of Maria Francesca Tan (MFT) Group of Companies Inc. has been extended for six months.

The Court of Appeals (CA), in a resolution promulgated on May 30, denied the motion to lift filed by the MFT Group.

It likewise granted the extension of the freeze order over the company’s bank, securities and insurance accounts to Nov. 9, 2024.

The CA said extending the freeze order would give the government the necessary time to prepare its case and file the appropriate charges without worrying about the possible dissipation of the assets that could be related to suspected illegal activities.

“A freeze order is an extraordinary and interim relief issued by the CA to prevent the dissipation, removal, or disposal of properties that are suspected to be the proceeds of, or related to, unlawful activities as defined in Section 3(i) of (Republic Act) 9160, as amended,” the appellate court said.

“Based on the surrounding facts and circumstances, we cannot rule out the possibility that the subject bank, securities, and insurance accounts and the related and materially linked accounts may have been used for the Ponzi scheme,” it said.

The CA, in a resolution promulgated on May 13, ordered the freezing of the MFT Group’s bank, securities and insurance accounts for a period of 20 days following a petition filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

The freeze order covers a total of 138 bank accounts, four securities accounts and four insurance accounts bearing the names of the MFT Group, Foundry Ventures I Inc., Mondial Medical Technologies, Maria Francesca Tan and other officials across several banking and financial institutions.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has found that the MFT Group promised guaranteed returns ranging from 12 to 18 percent of the amount they invested, which was considered as interest income.

The commission said the scheme was perpetuated through the issuance of post-dated checks reflecting a one percent to 1.5 percent monthly interest to interested investors, who were given either a promissory note or a borrower-lender agreement as proof of their investment.

A criminal complaint against MFT Group and Foundry Ventures was subsequently filed by the SEC for its unauthorized investment scheme, as well as misrepresentations in the groups’ financial statements.

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