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Speak Asia And Agents Bank Accounts Frozen?

So says the news from Business Standard:

Online survey company Speak Asia said today it would move court against banks, which have frozen accounts of its agents.

Ashok Saraogi, legal adviser of Speak Asia, told Business Standard, "The actions have been done following all the media noise. We have a Bombay police directive against this action. We will challenge this legally."

Earlier, in a letter posted on its website, Harender Kaur, chairperson and CEO, Speak Asia, said some banks had temporarily frozen accounts of its India-based agents. He said the banks had taken this ex-parte action, which amounted to breaching of natural justice principles. The company didn’t name the banks.

Oh, but they HAVE named the banks. From their Speak Asia site:

Due to the media noise, on 25 May’11, UOB Bank at Singapore has also pressed us, for closure of our 2 Bank accounts within 2 days, without giving us the chance to present our case or even listen to us. Please note, in order to set up a seamless International Banking Gateway like the one at UOB Bank, takes at least 6 to 8 weeks of interbank and managed IT infrastructure coordination and implementation.

IMPACT: All the payments processed by Speakasiaonline between 13 to 20 May 2011, have been held up because the TT’s have not been sent from Singapore to India, by the UOB Bank. On enquiring urgently, they provided us with a closure letter dated 25 May 2011.

Please be assured, that the Account Balance at Speakasia’s UOB Bank accounts, is for and behalf of our Panellist, Vendors and Staff.

Whilst ALL the payments due to our Panellist community, is banked at UOB Singapore, nevertheless we have also urgently requested the UOB Bank and our law firm, to move the UOB Bank balance on the closure date, into a new Bank account or a Client Escrow account, to be held on behalf of the Panellists, Staff and Vendors of Speakasia ;

Due to these banking account related actions we have been FORCED to temporarily delay our normally prompt payout cycle, pending set up of new banking operations and clearance from the authorities.

They are planning to appeal to the Indian Supreme court. But since I’m assuming UOB is the UOB Bank, Singapore, what help will that be? They won’t have a Singapore account very soon, it looks like. Note that they have not produced a copy of the letter, and given that I don’t believe anything they say, it might be a blatant lie to allow them to not pay out. I don’t think this is going to end well.

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