Ex-senior minister, ‘Tan Sri’ businessman probed over RM2.3b funds

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The MACC is investigating a former senior minister and a prominent businessperson with a Tan Sri title for the alleged misappropriation of national funds worth more than RM2.3 billion.

A source said the investigation is a continuation and extension of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ) disclosure of confidential documents regarding suspected transactions in several offshore financial centres.

“The focus of the investigation is in relation to the purchase and ownership of shares in a giant listed company which is said to have been orchestrated by the former senior minister.

“It is understood that this transaction of purchase and ownership of shares is believed to be the cause of the decline of the national economy and the fall of the ringgit currency in the late 1990 and has been distorted for the benefit of the individuals involved to be saved (bail out) from suffering further losses,” the source added.

The source also said that the investigation focused on transactions from the sale of shares of the listed company, the ownership of valuable assets of the businessperson, former senior minister and their family members, estimated to be worth billions of ringgit, both in the country and abroad.

“MACC has also recorded statements of about 14 witnesses in the past few weeks in relation to this investigation, including testimony from prominent businesspeople and former senior minister about the confidential documents revealed by the Pandora Papers,” the source added.

According to the source, the investigation was conducted in accordance with the MACC Act 2009 and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001.

Yusof Mat Isa

When contacted, MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki confirmed the matter and said the investigation is focused on Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 regarding the offence of misuse of power to obtain bribes and the offence of money laundering under Section 4 (1) AMLATFPUAA 2001.

Last week, the New Straits Times reported that Azam had given assurance that MACC would focus on politically-exposed persons who had committed offences against the law, especially those who held power during that time.

At least 10 wealthy Malaysians, including businessmen and politicians, were named in the Pandora Papers, which shed light on offshore companies and trusts used to stash away fortunes and evade taxes.

Among the names mentioned were former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, International Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz and Selayang MP William Leong.