RM209m frozen but RM1b project rises


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 03 Aug 2017

Work in progress: The Mpire Residences and Mpire Mall development project going on without a hitch at Jalan Tun Dr Awang in Bayan Lepas.

GEORGE TOWN: Months after the controversial MBI Group was raided by the authorities and its bank accounts frozen, a RM1bil mixed-development project undertaken by the Penang-based company has finally got off the ground.

However, even the turnkey contractor has denied involvement in the project, meant for MBI investors, due to the status of the controversial company.

MBI Group was one of the 302 companies listed under Bank Negara’s financial consumer alert list on suspicion of not adhering to laws and regulations in its operations.

The group’s 98 bank accounts from eight financial institutions, containing RM209mil, have also been frozen.

A 50-year-old suspect, believed to be the founder of the group, was remanded early this year under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act.

According to sources, the work on the Mpire Residences at Bukit Ayun in Bayan Lepas was supposed to begin at the end of last year but ran into a snag.

“I can confirm that it’s still an MBI project, but with all the adverse publicity, they are not very keen to be seen to be involved. The project only started early this year,” a source said yesterday.

It is understood that the project comprises three 43-storey towers of residential and commercial units.

The project will feature 620 units of condominium, a 20-storey hotel with 300 rooms, a mall and a retail office. The project, on a 3.6ha freehold land, is expected to be completed by 2021.

An online search showed that the developer is Paramount Solaris Sdn Bhd. However, it did not reveal the owners of the company as the profile states that it is a dormant company formed in 2014.

A leading developer in Penang who is believed to be Mpire’s turnkey contractor, however, denied that the company was involved with Paramount Solaris.

“We can’t stop people from speculating or writing about the project, or its owners. But definitely, we are not in a joint-venture with MBI in the development of Mpire Residences,” said the company spokesman.

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