MBI top official remanded in pyramid scheme probe


GEORGE TOWN: A top official of MBI Group International has been remanded to assist in investigations into a pyramid scheme.  

Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK) enforcement chief Datuk Mohd Roslan Mahayudin said the man, in his 50s, was arrested on Monday at a house in Taman MBI Desaku in Kulim, Kedah.  

"The man, believed to be the founder of the Group, has been remanded for four days from yesterday for investigations under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.  

"Operations were conducted at about 6.30am yesterday at three premises believed to be involved in the pyramid scheme Mfc Club or Mface Club under the Group," he told a press conference at the Bank Negara Malaysia office in Light Street on Tuesday.  

Mohd Roslan added that the authorities have frozen four company bank accounts belonging to the suspect's relative, holding funds totalling RM30mil.  

"We have also seized three luxury vehicles and cash during the operations.  

"The value of confiscated items and cash totalled RM2.235mil," he said.  

On May 31, a total of RM177mil in 91 bank accounts was frozen following raids on several locations linked to MBI International.  

A multi-agency team raided the M Square logistics centre in Kuala Lumpur and M Mall, a shopping complex in Penang where shoppers use loyalty reward points in exchange for goods.  

Dubbed Ops Token, the raids were conducted under the Direct Selling and Anti-Pyramid Scheme Act 1993 and led by officers from the ministry, police, Companies Commission of Malaysia, CyberSecurity Malaysia and Bank Negara.

The raids came after the ministry received complaints from the public.

MBI International was earlier red-flagged by Bank Negara for having a questionable financial scheme.  

Members put money into the scheme and get a number of virtual coins in return.  

After an “incubation period” of over a year, they can then convert these coins into points to spend on goods and services at retail establishments under the MBI umbrella, such as M Mall.  

The scheme is said to give substantial returns each year and is believed to be the longest-running financial scheme founded in Penang.

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