Department of Justice

DOJ resumes Mica Tan probe amid assets freeze

Ralf Rivas

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DOJ resumes Mica Tan probe amid assets freeze

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. The facade of the DOJ building in Manila, Philippines.

LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

'I ensure that this investigation will be fair, charges will be filed, if deemed necessary,' says Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) resumed its preliminary probe into the illegal investment charges lodged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against the Maria Francesca Tan (MFT) Group of Companies Incorporated, promising a “fair” investigation into the high-profile case.

DOJ resumes Mica Tan probe amid assets freeze

“Truth is the ultimate goal of this investigation and at the same time a reflection of the DOJ’s integrity bridging us to our people. I ensure that this investigation will be fair, charges will be filed, if deemed necessary,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said.

The DOJ’s statement comes as the Court of Appeals ordered a freeze of bank accounts and other investment and insurance accounts of the MFT Group upon the petition of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC)

The freeze covers 138 bank accounts, four securities accounts, and four insurance accounts of tje MFT Group, Foundry Ventures I, Inc, Mondial Medical Technologies, Maria Francesca Tan, Christian Konstantin, Roxanne Agbayani, Enrique Eduardo Tan, Charles Edward Tan, and Luis Gabriel Cancio, Jr., among other officials, across several banking and financial institutions.

In a separate resolution, the CA also granted he AMLC’s request for a bank inquiry order, which allows the agency to look into the accounts of the group within 120 days.

No basis

While the MFT Group said that it respects and will abide by the CA’s resolution, it insisted that the order has no basis.

“The Petition suffered from a crucial evidentiary gap that should have prevented the Court from issuing a freeze order because AMLC failed to establish how each of the accounts are materially linked to the alleged unlawful activity of selling unregistered securities,” the MFT Group said in a statement.

“In the first place, the loan transactions subject of the SEC investigation, are not securities transactions but personal loans so no predicate crime exists,” it added.

The MFT Group went on to say that the AMLC only listed the bank accounts and the covered transaction reports (CTRs) related to the case before drawing the conclusion that the majority of the transactions may have originated from the purportedly illegal transactions.  

“Not an iota of proof was presented to establish any link between the supposedly solicited investments and any of bank accounts,” the MFT Group said.

The company is hopeful that the CA’s resolution will be reversed. It has since filed an appeal.

The MFT Group, which has since transitioned to Foundry Ventures I Incorporated, is facing a criminal complaint over an alleged unauthorized investment scheme, as well as alleged misrepresentations in the groups’ financial statements. The company promised investors returns of 12% to 18% which is termed as interest income.

The SEC said the investment scheme did not have proper documentation and registration, even calling it a Ponzi scheme. The SEC has made permanent a cease and desist order against the MFT Group and its officers and directors to stop all activities related to the illegal solicitation of investments from the public. 

The MFT Group maintains that the creditors are just lenders and not investors.

The company’s legal counsel have filed their officers’ respective counter-affidavits before the Task Force on Business Scam. –

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.