,KUALA LUMPUR: The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) had initiated civil enforcement actions against 14 individuals last year, including an ex-parte injunction order to freeze assets worth RM169.22 million belonging to three defendants. The defendants were suspected to have been involved in securities fraud last year, the SC said, adding that it was the SC’s first online injunction application during the Movement Control Order. In its Annual Report 2020 released today, the SC said a total of RM11.96 million was disgorged from 18 individuals by way of regulatory settlements. "A further RM1.23 million was disgorged through consent judgment involving four individuals. "This is on top of a disgorgement order against an individual amounting to RM2.09 million obtained from a full judgment while a total of RM2.2 million payment of civil penalty was also obtained last year,” the SC said. However, it noted that the disgorgement in 2020 was lower compared with RM33.8 million recorded in 2019. Disgorgement is used as a remedy in terms of securities law, forcing companies (or individuals) to repay any monies earned through illegal and dishonest means or if the parties had violated any of the SC’s regulations. Meanwhile, the SC said as of Dec 31, 2020, a total of RM3.87 million had been restituted to 533 investors and a further RM4.34 million have been earmarked for further restitutions involving 1,205 investors. The statutory body said that through its civil enforcement action, 15 individuals had been restrained from trading in the stock exchange, while 16 individuals were barred from becoming directors of public-listed companies. Last year, the SC managed to secure convictions against five individuals for various breaches of the securities law, including securities fraud, false financial disclosure, insider trading and failure to appear before an investigation officer for a money-laundering investigation. The sentence imposed through these convictions includes a jail term of up to six months and total fines of RM5.88 million. A total of RM1.2 million was also collected by the SC through the payment of its compound. In 2020, the SC reviewed 67 possible capital market breaches, mostly arising from active surveillance of market and corporate activities, supervision and complaints. "More than half of these were securities fraud, market manipulation, disclosure-related and breaches of the SC Guidelines,” it said. There were 38 active investigations as of Dec 31, 2020, the SC said, adding that substantial resources were dedicated to conduct investigations on securities fraud and market manipulation offences which have been increasing since 2016. On other developments, SC said last year it made 18 requests for investigative assistance to eight foreign supervisory authorities, namely British Virgin Island (three), Hong Kong (three), India (one), Japan (one), Jersey (one), Luxembourg (two), Singapore (four) and the United Kingdom (three). - Bernama
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