Five banks under MACC radar

MUHAMMAD AFHAM RAMLI
MUHAMMAD AFHAM RAMLI
16 Mar 2023 09:04am
Photo for illustration purposes only - FILE PIX
Photo for illustration purposes only - FILE PIX
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SHAH ALAM - Five major banks are under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) radar for investigation into an investment scam syndicate orchestrated by citizens of the United Kingdom (UK).

According to a source, the five banks played a role in opening accounts to be used by the syndicate to process and transfer the money abroad.

"Each of the (bank) officers are believed to have received approximately RM1,000 for each bank accounts they opened without following the proper procedures.

"These accounts act as a transit as the syndicate would transfer the money into their “real” account. They then cunningly deleted the transit accounts within three months.

"Apart from these five banks, seven dummy companies used by the syndicate are also under MACC's radar. All these banks and companies are located around Kuala Lumpur and Penang," a source told Sinar Harian, yesterday.

Based on MACC's investigation, more than five to 20 bank officials were believed to be involved including those who acted as interviewers, among others.

The source added that all individuals involved were among professionals other than lawyers, auditors, company secretaries, accountants and company directors who were suspected of conspiring with the syndicate.

"We (MACC) believe that this company is a dummy which was registered under the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) and set up for the sole purpose of money transfer,” the source said.

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The MACC, the source said believed that the syndicate was also active in other countries besides Malaysia, such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and the UK.

"Based on preliminary investigations, it is believed that the syndicate is able to make transactions of around RM1 million per day and RM200 million within three months," said the source.

Meanwhile, MACC Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Division director Datuk Mohamad Zamri Zainul Abidin confirmed that two UK nationals suspected of being the masterminds for the syndicate will be charged in the Kuala Lumpur Court on Thursday.

On Feb 22, MACC uncovered an investment fraud syndicate orchestrated by UK citizens in 24 separate raids around the city centre and Penang including raids at three boiler rooms, companies and homes of the syndicate members.

In the operation led by the Malaysian Immigration Department, 10 syndicate members were remanded and seven individuals were detained for investigation.

The syndicate members comprised those from Australia, UK, South Africa and the Philippines.

Its modus operandi was to find victims through social media platforms and through phone calls.

The syndicate members will contact the victims after they clicked on a link to register in an investment company and fill in their personal details.

The scammers were believed to have earned about AU$60 million (about RM200 million) from scamming victims since 2019.

It was part of an international syndicate that was believed to have cheated victims worldwide of up to RM1 billion.

On Feb 28, it was reported that MACC also arrested a 41-year-old foreign man who was a wanted syndicate member due to his connection with the investment scam case.

The individual was suspected to be responsible in creating fake websites to convince victims to invest in a non-existing investment and he was detained after he arrived from Cambodia to fly to the UK.

Following the incident, on March 3, the anti-graft agency raided several premises including local banks, money changers and company registrars around Kuala Lumpur for suspicion of conspiring and acting as middlemen for scam syndicates today.