Finnish businessman who once offered to buy MU is now wanted in Singapore for misleading financial reports

SINGAPORE: Warrants of arrest have been issued against Thomas Zilliacus and three other individuals connected to the online platform YuuZoo, the Singapore Police Force said on Wednesday (Feb 21).

Mr Zilliacus recently made headlines for making a £1.2 billion (S$2.04 billion) bid to buy football club Inter Milan. In 2023, he also offered to buy Premier League club Manchester United for over US$4 billion (S$5.4 billion).

The 68-year-old Finnish businessman, who had been based in Singapore, co-founded YuuZoo, was the company’s former CEO, and is now its executive chairman.

The Police said that financial reports released by YuuZoo were found to be misleading.

Along with Mr Zilliacus, the police have issued arrest warrants against Michael Parker, the company’s chief financial officer, and Yuzoo’s independent directors, Anthony Williams and Ozi Amanat.

The Police said that Messrs Zilliacus, Parker, Williams, and Amanat are not in Singapore at present and have refused to return, adding that an INTERPOL Red Notice has also been issued against Mr Zilliacus.

The Police noted that another former CEO of YuuZoo, James Matthew Somasundram, had been charged on Feb 21 under the Securities and Futures Act in connection with the breaches the company committed.

“Following investigations, several of such financial reports released by YuuZoo between 2015 and 2016 are alleged to have been misleading in a material particular in that they overstated YuuZoo’s revenue by US$4.6 million (S$6.18 million) to US$18.8 million (S$25 million).”

The Police also noted that Somasundaram had allegedly been negligent in connection to a number of YuuZoo’s quarterly financial reports in 2015 and 2016 and is now facing a total of four charges.

If found guilty, he could serve a jail term of as much as seven years or be made to pay a fine of not more than $250,000 for each charge, or both.

YuuZoo had been subject to investigation by the Commercial Affairs Department of the Police in 2018 due to possible breaches of the Securities and Futures Act.

At the time, Mr Zilliacus had been the company’s chairman but stepped down in April of that year while investigations were ongoing.

The businessman moved to Singapore in 1986 when he was Nokia’s Asia-Pacific regional head and CEO of Nokia Southeast Asia.

After resigning from Nokia, he founded the investment company Mobile FutureWorks Group (MFW) in 1993 and then YuuZoo in 2008. By 2014, YuuZoo was listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. /TISG

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