KUALA LUMPUR: Hundreds of dummy (false) companies were created by a money laundering syndicate linked to the businesses of some of the country’s celebrities to deceive the authorities, said MACC Chief Commissioner, Datuk Seri Azam Baki.
Without divulging the number of these companies, he said all the companies detected by the MACC were deliberately created to channel illegally-obtained money of the syndicate.
“The modus operandi of these dummy companies is that when members of the money laundering syndicate receive such money, it will form a company that runs a business that seems legitimate in the eyes of the public.
“This is where these dummy companies receive the money and it will be channelled to several parties such as traders to do business in cash. So these traders do not know where the money came from,“ he said in an interview programme, ‘MACC Empowerment and Anti-Corruption Efforts’ on MACC radio.fm, here.
Azam said there were members of the syndicate who used the illegally-earned money to become unlicensed moneylenders or ‘Ah Long’ and deceived people.
He said the MACC had frozen 730 bank accounts with the sum amounting to RM80 million believed to belong to the syndicate.
“We also seized RM5 million in cash and 23 luxury vehicles including Mustang, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Ferrari and Porsche as well as several high-powered motorcycles believed to have been earned from the syndicate’s illegal activities,“ he said.
Azam said his team had arrested 11 members of the public and eight from the authorities suspected of providing protection to the syndicate.
“The MACC investigation found that this syndicate has been operating for several years and we were curious as to how they could have done so without being detected by the authorities.
“The findings of our investigation led to the freezing of their accounts and laundered assets and MACC will take them to court and seize the monies to be classified as government revenue as it belongs to the people who had been deceived,“ he said.
Azam said the individuals who protected the syndicate were also under investigation as they were believed to have been involved in allowing the syndicate to operate and did not take any action.
“MACC is collaborating with the Inland Revenue Board to look at the syndicate’s tax record.
“The case is very complicated, so the investigation is not an easy one. Therefore, I ask the public to be patient as MACC is still verifying the assets that have been laundered,“ he said.
He also asked the public who had received or accidentally received money from any of the detained syndicate members to contact MACC officers and said the public who became victims could act as witnesses if they were willing to cooperate with the MACC.
“I urge anyone who has dealt with this syndicate to contact three MACC officers, namely Assistant Commissioner (PPJ) Asrul at 013-3126020, PPJ Rohaizi 013-9400200 and Senior Superintendent Sabri 017-2582415,“ he said.
Yesterday, Bernama reported that Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani confirmed that five police officers were arrested as they were suspected of being involved in a money laundering syndicate.
Earlier, a celebrity couple gave their statements in the investigation into this money laundering case. — Bernama