THE mother-in-law of former Carrian boss George Tan and three other women yesterday lost their action to sever a massive civil case against them and former directors of Bumiputra Malaysia Finance Ltd (BMFL). The Court of Appeal held yesterday that they were satisfied that Mr Justice Mortimer in March had correctly joined 10 actions together at the request of the plaintiffs, Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Berhad (BBMB, formerly BMFL). The case concerns hundreds of millions of dollars in loans by BMFL to Carrian which have never been repaid. John McNamara, for Leong Lai Peng, Tan's mother-in-law, former Carrian director Carrie Woo, and her two sisters, Cecilia Woo and Lily Leung, had argued that many of the claims against the three ex-BMFL directors were nothing to do with his clients. The action against the women relates to events surrounding a US$40 million (HK$309 million) package advanced by BMFL as part of a rescue operation for Carrian. Tan gave a personal guarantee for the advance, which was never repaid. It is alleged the money was transferred to Switzerland and laundered through several private Swiss bank accounts in the names of Ms Leong and the Woo sisters. BBMB claim they are victims of fraud and they should be able to recover their funds. In the other actions, Lorrain Osman, Hashim Shamsuddin and Rais Saniman, ex-directors of BMFL, are being sued for damages for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent conspiracy and breach of contract in connection with loans to Carrian. Mr McNamara submitted there were no allegations against his clients in this part of the case. Giving the judgment for the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice Liu said fraud victims had the right to trace lost assets with a view to recovering them from the fraudsters. The indebtedness prior to the US$40 million loan, as well as the related alleged bribes and conspiracies, formed the basis of the tracing action against Ms Leong and the Woo sisters. The Court of Appeal rejected submissions that the manner in which earlier loans were procured would not be material to the action against the Woos and Ms Leong.