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GoldQuest execs seek relief from Supreme Court

A Malaysian and three of his Filipino cohorts facing syndicated estafa for allegedly defrauding two Filipinos of more than $100,000 involving GoldQuest pyramiding scheme has asked the Supreme Court to stop the Quezon City regional trial court from conducting trial of their case pending resolution of a petition for review on certiorari earlier denied by the Court of Appeals. Vijayratnam Vijayeeswaran, Joseph Bismark, Tagumpay Kintanar and Donna Marie Imson claimed that it would be of “grave injustice" to them once QCRTC Branch 219 Presiding Judge Bayani Vargas proceeds with the trial of the case. They asked the Supreme Court to reverse and set aside the January 24, 2007 decision and July 3, 2007 resolution of the Court of Appeals dismissing the civil action for certiorari and prohibition they earlier filed. The four accused were arrested in Jakarta on May 3 while attending a party in a hotel, reportedly upon a tip from an influential government official of Indonesia. They are detained in Jakarta. The three Filipinos are under extradition proceedings. The accused asked the appellate court to prohibit Judge Vargas from implementing his April 28, 2006 order for the issuance of arrest warrants against them. They stressed that probable cause was not established against them, claiming they did not defraud the complainants. In their petition to the Supreme Court, the accused said the Court of Appeals deprived them of their liberty as it failed to appreciate that the RTC’s issuance of the arrest warrants for an otherwise bailable offense denied them the right to post bail. The accused contested that the basic element of syndicated estafa was not present in the case against them because “there was no defraudation of funds from the general public." They downplayed the case as arising from a “mere corporate dispute over company profits." “Immediate relief from the assailed order is urgent. Petitioners faced a clear and present danger to their right to liberty. They are faced with the bleak prospect of indefinite detention for the crime of syndicated estafa which admits of no bail, although the warrants of arrest were only for the crime of estafa," the accused said in their petition to the Supreme Court. All the accused were arrested on the basis of the warrants of arrest issued by Judge Vargas. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) submitted on May 22 a request for their extradition so that the Quezon City RTC could start trial of the case. The case stemmed from the complaints of Enrico Noel Uy and Patrick Zuniga who claimed that the accused solicited from each of them the amount of $50,625.00 in 1998 on the promise that they would be issued shares of a company to be incorporated and eventually called Goldquest International Ltd. (GQI) and that after six months, their investment in GQI would earn $10,000 per month. The fifth suspect identified as Kurt Rooco Rinck, a German national is still at large but was already placed on the Interpol Red Notice list. - GMANews.TV