SINGAPORE — Eager to sell two Rolex watches for a profit, watch collector Max (not his real name) paid some $280,000 for them and a Patek Philippe watch.
He did this even before he received the watches.
When the couple became unreachable, he realized his money was nearly exhausted.
And Max isn’t the only one.
The Straits Times understands that police reports have been filed against the couple relating to undelivered luxury goods, mostly watches, worth at least $32million.
Over the past week, ST has spoken to 10 victims, ranging in age from 24 to 52. Among them, a chef, an interior designer, an advertising manager and a retiree.
Most of them said they trusted the couple because their business was registered as a regulated dealer and had a Ministry of Justice (MinLaw) certificate to prove it.
In response to questions, a MinLaw spokesperson said the company, named Tradenation, was registered as a dealer in gems and precious metals on April 2.
“Registered dealers are regulated by the Registrar of Regulated Dealers solely for the purpose of combating money laundering and terrorist financing,” a MinLaw spokesperson said.
Tradenation submitted its application for registration to MinLaw because it was conducting regulated transactions and at the time of registration there was no reason to deny registration, MinLaw said.
The spokesperson added, “MinLaw has suspended Tradenation’s registration due to ongoing police investigations. As police investigations are ongoing, we are unable to comment further.
“If Tradenation is found guilty of an offense as a result of police investigations, MinLaw will terminate Tradenation’s registration.”
Max, 48, who works in manufacturing, said he entrusted most of his savings to them in April.
He said: “I haven’t slept well for two months. I keep thinking how stupid I was to trust them. My wife still doesn’t know for the money I lost. How can I even tell him?”