THE Maria Francesca Tan (MFT) Group of Companies, Inc. said it plans to pursue an appeal against a court decision that extended the freeze order on its bank, investment, and insurance accounts.

“It’s unfortunate that the CA (Court of Appeals) extended the freeze order without considering at all the arguments put forth by us,” MFT Group said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday.

“This is certainly not what the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) entails, and we are hopeful that this baseless freeze order will be reversed on appeal,” it added.

The MFT Group said the CA “simply adopted the same ‘shotgun’ approach of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).”

“It basically froze all the accounts under the names of respondents and their family members, regardless of source of funds. Worse, as a result of the unbridled freeze order, the accounts of some of our creditors — whom the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the AMLC are claiming to protect — had also been frozen by the banks just because their accounts received payments from borrowers,” it said. 

On May 30, the CA promulgated a resolution allowing the extension of the freeze order over the MFT Group’s accounts until Nov. 9. The extension was allowed to give the government “the necessary time” to file charges without worrying about the possible dissipation of involved assets.

The freeze order, previously covering a 20-day period, was initially issued on May 13. It covers 138 bank accounts, four securities accounts, and four insurance accounts.

The freeze order was issued after the MFT Group was found to be soliciting investments from the public without the necessary licenses from the SEC.

SEC investigations revealed that the MFT Group promised guaranteed returns ranging from 12% to 18% of the amount invested, which was considered as interest income. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave