Biz Buzz: Blacklisted lady
A female sales agent of RCBC Securities—said to have been a rainmaker of this brokerage house for about a decade—is now facing criminal charges for questionable transactions with her own personal clients.
Based on a regulatory filing, RCBC Securities has also asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to blacklist the agent, Mary Grace “MG” Villafria Valbuena, on the back of “strong documentary evidence” culled by the brokerage.
MG—sued by her employer for “falsification” of commercial documents—was allegedly able to divert investments made by high networth clients to another account. In some cases, she even issued fraudulent receipts to unsuspecting investors. An official estimate of the damage was only about P80 million, although the Ayala trading floor is abuzz with talks that the amount was much higher. Certain quarters said some of the funds that MG had attempted to divert were intercepted by the brokerage house, although some had gone down the drain, leaving the brokerage with no choice but to settle with furious clients.
The criminal complaint for falsification of commercial documents by MG—who had reportedly acquired prime real estate assets prior to this—is now with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati City.
“We have hired external auditors and lawyers to validate legitimate and documented claims so we can settle with clients as soon as possible,” said a statement from the RCBC group.
The good news is that most of these clients will probably be “made whole” by the Yuchengco group.
According to an official with knowledge of the issue, the group fully intends to repay investors who got duped by MG.
The brokerage firm is now in the process of validating clients’ records (with the help of a recently hired forensic audit team) to determine who will be compensated and those who won’t (those who may have colluded with the suspect or are filing fake claims).—Doris C. Dumlao and Daxim L. Lucas
Not P-Noy’s choice?
In the endless tit for tat public relations battle between Malacañang and the Supreme Court, one of the latter’s most effective lines of attack is that President Aquino wants to appoint Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to the post of Chief Justice Renato Corona (in case the latter is successfully removed, that is).
Here’s the thing: Word from a non-aligned source within the Palace’s inner circle is that the President will not appoint Justice Carpio, if ever the slot opens up.
“He told me point-blank: It will not be Carpio,” said the official, known to be close (closer than most, in fact) to P-Noy.
Instead, the President may go for Associate Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno or even outside the court to fill the vacancy.
The implications (if true)? Some people will be happy, and some will be upset.—Daxim L. Lucas
Taking their ‘beef’ to Washington
While the buzz around the United States’ plans to clip outsourcing is everywhere, there is quieter lobbying in Washington surrounding meat exports to the Philippines.
American meat associations apparently want their government to retaliate to Manila’s recently imposed policy that limits wet market access for imported frozen meat products.
Deja vu? It certainly seems like it. A few years ago, then Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap tried to change the rules on meat imports to accommodate local pork producers. The US producers threatened to do the same—that is, to remove the Philippines from the list of developing countries benefiting from duty-free exports of selected products to the US.
After much spirited debate, Yap announced that the Philippines was keeping the status quo.
This time around, it remains to be seen whether new Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala will give in to the pressure from both official and unofficial sources.—Riza Olchondra
Dizon-Ni Hao team-up
Dizon Copper Silver Mines and Ni Hao Mineral Resources International were scheduled to have signed late Tuesday an agreement with foreign companies to boost their gold exploration and extraction activities.
Last week, Tonito Gregorio—the recently elected president and director of Ni Hao—and Bingo Miranda—the recently elected president and director of Geograce and director of Ni Hao—joined the board of Dizon.
The agreement is expected to make use of these companies’ mining claims. Dizon has an existing porphyry copper-gold mine while Nihao has a 16,000-hectare gold mining claim near the largest operating gold mine in the Philippines, Masbate Gold Mine by Australia-based CGA Mining Ltd.—Doris C. Dumlao
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