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Delay in cases vs foreign club execs assailed

05:41 AM August 19, 2012

Government lawyers have expressed strong objection to what they said were delaying tactics being employed by the defense counsel of eight foreigners accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of illegally selling membership shares of  Nomad Sports Club  (NSC) and who were scheduled to be arraigned on  Aug. 14 at the Parañaque Regional Trial Court.

Prosecution lawyer Ben Joshua Baltazar and SEC lawyer Jonathan Paguirigan, in open court, said the “state has interposed objection” to a defense move to further delay by another 60 days the arraignment of the eight foreigners.

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The lawyers of the foreigners sought the deferment while awaiting the court’s ruling on a petition for review that they filed.

Baltazar said the arraignment had been deferred already and “the filing of the petition for review is not ground for the suspension of arraignment.”

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Edely Murillo, Department of Justice  prosecutor, supported the position of Baltazar.

The eight foreigners—Jonathan Thorp, Alfonso Cervero, Matthew Freeston, Thomas Whitwell, Andrew Yates, Ian Sinclair, Keith Warne and Faisal Durrani-Khan—have been charged with violating Philippine laws governing the sale of shares or securities.

They attended the hearing last Tuesday at the Parañaque RTC Branch No. 258. Judge Noemi Balitaan agreed to defer their arraignment by another 60 days, or two months.

The foreigners are all officers of  NSC in Parañaque City, one of the oldest in the country.

The DOJ had rejected the foreigner’s motion for reconsideration.

A team of DOJ prosecutors said no new arguments had been presented by the foreigners that would prompt the department into withdrawing the charges against them.

In 2009, SEC found sufficient basis to pursue the complaint against the foreigners that was filed by NSC members Eduardo Du, a Cebu-based businessman, and lawyer Roland Beltran.

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On Oct. 26, 2011, an investigating panel of the DOJ found probable cause to charge Thorp and the other foreigners of violating SEC rules.

“There is evidence to prove that respondent Nomad (and officers) offered and sold nonproprietary membership shares” without authority to do so, said the DOJ panel in its ruling.

“Being securities, the membership shares are required to be registered with the SEC before they may be sold or offered for sale to the public,” said the SEC in an answer to the foreigners’ petition to junk the case against them.

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TAGS: DoJ, Nomad Sports Club, Parañaque RTC, SEC, trial
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