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Source: Thailand Startup News  Oct 17, 2019

Money Backers Default In Coughing Up Monies For Tranglo Series A Funding

Money Backers Default In Coughing Up Monies For Tranglo Series A Funding
Source: Thailand Startup News  Oct 17, 2019
Startups Beware, A New Trend Emerging. First you get a glitter event with the press media and a MOU signing ceremony followed by the cocktails, congratulations etc and thereafter, you see no monies, take the case of Tranglo Startup saga.
Tranglo confirmed that the Hong Kong-based fintech, TNG Fintech Group Inc had never realised its US$115M in Series A funding to its company.

The Malaysian minority shareholders of a fintech company, Tranglo Sdn Bhd (Tranglo) have filed an oppression suit against TNG Fintech Group Inc (TNG Fintech), which acquired its 60 per cent equity in Tranglo from government-link, private equity fund management company, Ekuinas in October 2018.

The legal suit was brought about by Impiro Asia Ltd and Mohammad Hassan Rasheed Gharaybeh, who collectively hold 13.6 per cent equity in Tranglo.

During the acquisition process, TNG Fintech via Kong, had given commitment and assurances to Bank Negara Malaysia that it will acquire the minority stake by February, 1, 2019. Despite TNG Fintech had issued a statement on September, 11, 2017 on its completion of a US$115 million Series A funding, Kong admitted in an email on April, 8, 2019 to the Central Bank of Malaysia (Bank Negara Malaysia) that this funding never materialised.

The legal suit came about after a series of events that materially hiccuped business operations, including TNG Fintech’s rejection of Tranglo’s approved financing plan and unreasonable delay in signing up new bank partners. Allegedly, TNG Fintech also attempted to install Alex Kong’s sister as a required signatory of all bank accounts maintained by Tranglo. Also, Kong and Wong rejected a dividend payout to shareholders despite the company’s healthy performance.

Six repeated requests by minority shareholders for a shareholder agreement to be signed were refused by TNG Fintech represented by Kong and Wong. TNG Fintech is registered in the British Virgin Islands, based in Hong Kong and controlled by Alex Kong.

This is not the first time Kong has been entangled in similar cases. Kong’s previous business ventures, Next Millennium Sdn Bhd and Asia Travelmart Sdn Bhd, were wound up by the government of Malaysia and Technology Park Malaysia Sdn Bhd for non-payment of taxes and rental respectively.

Kong also had a track record of two personal bankruptcies, one in Malaysia and another in Hong Kong.

Simon Landsheer, Director at Impiro Asia Ltd commented in an interview with Thailand Startup News “Banks in Malaysia have flagged and queried why we have a director (Alex Kong) with bankruptcy history. And now, the situation at Tranglo has worsened to the extent that the management and staff time are tied up responding to requests from Kong under the claim of executing his fiduciary duty on Tranglo. Tranglo might miss its USD3 billion processing value target by 2020.In addition to impeding business operations, the negotiations to acquire our minority stake were also not conducted in good faith. All five proposals received to require the minority shareholder to relinquish board representation the moment the Share Sales Agreement is signed.The proposed payment structures were dependent on TNG Fintech’s initial public offering in the United States, which has not happened as claimed by Alex Kong. Based on Kong’s actions, attempts to remove and treatment of directors representing minority interest and his history, we have no confidence in TNG Fintech’s proposed initial public offering and the true value of the shares to be swapped."

The Malaysian minority shareholders are seeking for dividends to be paid and Tranglo to be wound up due to the untenable working relationship with TNG Fintech.

Defendants named in the suit are Alexander Kong King Ong (also known as Alex Kong), Wong Wing Chi (also known as Takis Wong), co-founder of Tranglo Sia Hui Yong, and Tranglo Sdn Bhd. Both Kong and Wong sits on the board of Tranglo as TNG Fintech’s representatives after the acquisition.

Thailand also witnessed a similar incident recently, where a medical startup was promised millions by various entities and had a MOU signing ceremony and a press conference, but later a few of the so called financial backers went MIA and no monies were ever seen!

Startups are advised to do due diligence and also to get a proper credible  law firm to guide you into the processes etc.