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SFO “All Clear” puts WSD back on the map

SFO “All Clear” puts WSD back on the map


New Zealand-based financial services specialist firm WSD Global Markets (WSD) has welcomed the decision by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to close its investigation after finding that WSD has no case to answer.

But WSD’s CEO Riaz Patel expressed surprise that business newspaper National Business Review is continuing to take “pot shots” at the company and for suggesting underpinnings of wrong doing. He says WSD has suffered at the hands of malicious press since December 2008 on the eve of its listing application to the NZX. While some of the press coverage was subject to legal action for defaming WSD, it is not uncommon for the press to keep at a sensational story and one where disgruntled staff have a vendetta against the firm – but WSD feels it has now gone too far.

Mr Patel further adds that “while the SFO’s investigation was directly into the affairs of WSBC Bank Ltd (an entity with commercial ties with WSD) the matter was wrongly presented as if the affairs of WSD were also being investigated. The negative publicity arising from that signaled the death knell for WSBC Bank and also created a massive credibility backlash and had a negative impact on the reputation of WSD, which has resulted in irreparable business loss.

“The SFO has conducted more than a year-long investigation and we have come out with a clean bill of health. Yet it is frustrating that there are some sections of the media that still want to hang us out to dry and I really don’t understand what their agenda is.”

WSD director Joseph van Wijk stresses that “while investigation agencies who looked into the affairs of WSBC Bank were provided with every proof to show that claims of money laundering by WSBC in the Cook Islands have proved to be totally unfounded and while the court appointed experts cleared WSBC of money laundering issues, the media continue to put a negative spin on the story.”

The media report suggesting that there is continuing concern that could lead to investigations in other countries is “outrageous”, he adds. This refers to a trade finance transaction involving export of pulses from India by Indian exporters while there was a trade ban and the exporters and exporters’ banks, importers and importers’ banks were investigated, including WSBC. The investigation concluded in India in 2007 and found that WSBC had done nothing wrong.

Mr Patel says he is particularly incensed by the continued sniping from various sections of the media at the involvement of former MPs Matt Robson and Richard Worth, who were both directors of WSD until 2009 and 2008 respectively. Such attacks had taken a heavy toll on them personally and were completely unfounded.

“You have to start wondering about the ulterior motives of the people behind these attacks on WSD as a company and against the directors personally,” he says. “I find it very distasteful.”

WSD’s staff and its directors past and present have stood by WSD at all times and he says that loyalty has now been vindicated by the SFO clearance.

Mr Patel points out WSD Global Markets is now in its eleventh year of business and holds accreditations and authorizations to do business in several countries, including the US, which obviously puts WSD under the very watchful eye of the FBI database for background checks and are quick to act on any hint of wrongdoing. Mr. Patel says that he personally is regularly monitored and undergoes a background/character check on these background and FBI databases every two years as part of the conditions for holding onto the US authorizations and registrations.

“This leaves little room for speculation,” adds Mr Patel.

WSD undergoes a continuous process of scrutiny and has not only passed every single test but proven in times of global financial crisis to be a solid, secure bet for investors and equally for employees, says Mr. Patel.

Mr Patel goes on to say: “While others may play hide-and-seek with ridiculous allegations I prefer to make use of my time and energy constructively to lead WSD into growth and do my best to create employment, and value for shareholders and investment partners and I take an active part in tying the knot between the Orient and the West, as championed in the ASEAN Summit. While WSD saw a massive staff growth, the financial crisis coupled with media bashing of WSD after the SFO involvement, staff strength in Auckland has fallen. However, WSD continues to grow in its Asia and Middle East operations and has a very large launch in India underway. We are creating jobs in our financial services company globally and just wish to be allowed to concentrate on our business and focus on our goals without such unwarranted and unfair attention.”

Mr. Patel has more than 23 years experience in the financial and securities services industry, particularly in futures, foreign exchange and commodity trading, gained in a range of positions in the US, UK and NZ. He comes from a wealthy and very influential Indian business family that now has business bases in India, Dubai, Hong Kong, UK, and the US.


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