Investors, former employees suing Vinod Sekhar RM30m for alleged fraud; potential witnesses include PM Anwar

A GROUP of 12 investors and former employees are suing PETRA Group chairman-cum-CEO Datuk Vinod Sekhar (main pic, right) for alleged fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract and an acknowledgement of debt.

The plaintiffs are seeking just under RM30 mil, inclusive of interest, from the 55-year-old high-profile businessman, according to Goh Wong Pereira Advocates & Solicitors founding and managing partner Colin Andrew Pereira.

“Winy Yeap Liew Heoh who is Vinod’s wife is named as co-defendant. Winy Yeap is the granddaughter of the prominent banker, the late Yeap Chor Ee,” Pereira pointed out in a media statement.

“The plaintiffs who are from across the globe, including the US, Panama, the UK, Dubai and Thailand, allege that Datuk Vinod persuaded them to invest in his Green Rubber PLC business despite not informing them of his status as a bankrupt at the material times.”

In December 2023, an attempt by Vinod who is also founder of The Vibes news portal to persuade the court to issue a publicity injunction to prevent the plaintiffs from discussing the case in public was thrown out by the High Court judge in Kuala Lumpur, according to Pereira.

A parallel motion to get the action dismissed was also thrown out, removing the last obstacle that might have prevented the case going for full trial at the High Court.

Datuk Vinod Sekhar is also founder of news portal, The Vibes

Following this, the plaintiffs decided to launch the legal action after it emerged that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had opened a money laundering and tax evasion investigation into Vinod’s affairs in November 2021.

“The decision was also taken after reports in February 2022 that Vinod has sold China-made ventilators to the Hungarian government at many times the market price during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pereira further noted.

“It has been reported in the media that British doctors had warned that these ventilators could cause patient deaths.”

In papers submitted to the High Court, the plaintiffs allege that Vinod had provided reassurances that one “Anwar”, understood to be Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, would resolve any issue relating to his status as a bankrupt at the material times.

“The writ also references Petra Equities Management Sdn Bhd, a company within the Petra Group operated by Vinod which apparently included the Green Rubber business. A director of that company was Tengku Muiniddin Putra,” asserted Pereira.

“Another associated company listed in the legal action is Petra Equities Sdn Bhd whose chairman was Tan Sri Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar.”

Added the lawyer who specialises in shareholder and corporate disputes: “My clients have instructed me to call every named individual in the legal action to appear in person to testify in the High Court hearing which may possibly include DS Anwar.”

At the time of writing, Vinod is believed to be undergoing preparation for a heart transplant procedure in Chennai, India. – Feb 5, 2024

Main pic credit: The Independent Singapore

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