SEC tells Antonio Tiu to explain 'incomplete disclosures'
MANILA, Philippines – Businessman Antonio Tiu, accused of being a dummy for Vice President Jejomar Binay, has been flagged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for “incomplete disclosures” of some of his companies, two of which are listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange.
As a result, the SEC “will require each company to submit an explanation thereof which should be accompanied by an Audit Committee Resolution taking up the said findings and the corrective measures to be undertaken,” its chairperson Teresita Herbosa said in a report submitted to the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee.
Tiu said on Thursday, November 20, that he has yet to receive a notice from the SEC or a copy of the SEC report.
“My lawyers likewise need time to officially respond….I also want to clarify matters as soon as possible,” said Tiu in a text message to Rappler.
Tiu, through his company Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation, has claimed ownership of a 150-hectare estate in Rosario, Batangas.
But whistleblowers in the subcommittee allege the property is actually owned by Binay. Both Binay and Tiu have denied the accusations.
In particular, SEC reviewed AgriNurture, Inc, Greenergy Holdings Inc, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation; and Earthright Inc.
The commission also reviewed AgriFortuna Inc, the company which Tiu allegedly bought the Rosario property from, through Laureano Gregorio.
According to a Philippine Star report, the SEC noted the following inconsistencies:
- Disclosures on Greenergy’s leases
- Disclosures related-party transactions
- Greenergy’s 62.39% ownership of Sunchamp means it should have been listed as a subsidiary
- Sunchamp’s disclosures on stocks and inventories
- Sunchamp’s “construction-in-progress” disclosures
AgriFortuna is a company founded by Binay, his wife, Gregorio and two others although the Binays have since divested from the company. It was from Gregorio, through Tiu’s friend lawyer Martin Subido, that the businessman supposedly heard of the property.
Subido is also a lawyer for Binay and the law partner of his daughter, Makati Representative Abigail Binay. (READ: Can Antonio Tiu tell a lie?)
Senators leading the probe remain unconvinced of Tiu's ownership. When asked to submit evidence of ownership, Tiu and his lawyers gave a one-page document that was not notarized.
A check on the Rosario property has also revealed that land titles inside it are under the names of Binay's friends and former aides.
Hebrosa said should the explanations from Tiu’s companies, as well as AgriFortuna prove “not meritorious,” they will face fines according to SEC Memorandum Circular No. 8, Series of 2009.
The PSE has also been monitoring Tiu's statements in the hearings.
The businessman, who has appeared before the subcommittee twice, has refused to attend the hearings again, insisting that he has already submitted the necessary documents to prove his claims. – with a report from Bea Cupin/Rappler.com