YuuZoo files police report against ex-financial controller

Mr Thomas Zilliacus says YuuZoo is seeking legal advice on statements made by Mr Thai Youn Fatt.
Mr Thomas Zilliacus says YuuZoo is seeking legal advice on statements made by Mr Thai Youn Fatt.

An acrimonious dispute between Singapore-listed YuuZoo and its former group financial controller Thai Youn Fatt over the reasons for his abrupt exit has taken a new twist.

The social commerce firm has disclosed that a police report was made against Mr Thai.

When contacted yesterday, the firm did not respond to requests for comment on details of the alleged offence.

YuuZoo executive chairman Thomas Zilliacus, in a Singapore Exchange filing yesterday, said it is also seeking legal advice on statements made and actions taken by Mr Thai following the termination of his services. Mr Thai told The Straits Times he disagreed with the announcements but was not prepared to elaborate.

The firm earlier announced that Mr Thai, 43, had his services terminated on May 3 for breaching his employment contract.

A Business Times story on Saturday said that before Mr Thai left he had refused to sign minutes noting his confirmation that he had no issues with YuuZoo's revenue recognition calculations.

YuuZoo yesterday said a confirmation letter signed by Mr Thai reiterated that "he did not and does not have any issues, problems with or concerns in relation to the company's accounts, accounting records or accounting policies".

It added: "Mr Thai Youn Fatt has made false and potentially misleading statements which, in the company's view, may lead shareholders and/or members of the public to erroneously infer or form the misconception that he left the company due to a disagreement over the company's revenue recognition policy.

"The company wishes to clarify that the actual reasons for Mr Thai's termination, which are cited in the termination letter, are 'numerous incidents of harassment of staff, threats made and abusive language used, insubordination and generally unacceptable behaviour in the workplace'."

YuuZoo said since his termination, Mr Thai has allegedly committed another "offence that has resulted in a police report being filed against him".

YuuZoo has pushed back its annual general meeting (AGM) and publication of its 2016 annual report owing to delays in an audit being carried out by its auditor RT.

Typically, Singapore-listed firms have four months to conduct an AGM after their financial years end. YuuZoo, whose fiscal year ends on Dec 31, had missed its April 30 deadline and now expects to hold its AGM by May 30 instead.

In response to a query by SGX, YuuZoo said on Monday that its audit had been delayed as a result of "intense interaction" with RT.

The firm said it adopted significantly more conservative accounting policies in 2016 than in 2015 to make its financial statements "more conservative, more prudent and more supportable".

This was done to avoid facing the same issues that led its previous auditor, Moore Stephens, to withhold its opinion on the 2015 results.

Moore Stephens raised concerns last year over issues that included $17 million worth of receivables to be settled in kind, and declined to continue as Yuuzoo's auditor after that.

In its unaudited financial statements for the year ended 2016, Yuuzoo restated its 2015 accounts "due to a write-off of $16.8 million of trade receivables" that cut its 2015 net profit to $15.9 million from the previously reported $32.7 million.

Mr Thai, who joined YuuZoo in January 2015, used to be financial controller at Lazada South-east Asia. He is among several honchos who have left YuuZoo after short stints. Former CEO James Somasundram left on Nov 23, after just over a year at the helm, for personal reasons, while former chief financial officer Fred Lim Aik Bin left in February this year after just seven months. He was replaced by Mr Raul Ikonen on March 1.

The company cited "non-compliance of employment contract" for Mr Lim's departure. But Mr Lim said he left over "differences of opinion" with the company.

Shares of YuuZoo rose 1.4 per cent or 0.1 cent to seven cents yesterday. Its market value is about $54.1 million.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2017, with the headline 'YuuZoo files police report against ex-financial controller'. Print Edition | Subscribe