GEORGE TOWN: Police believe at least two investment scam syndicates have planted their roots here with members now busy selling their “products” on social media.
Penang Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) chief Asst Comm Mohd Rosni Mohd Lazim said one of them called the Brunei Investment Agency (BIA) claimed to have links to the Brunei government and its oil and gas-rich assets.
“The scheme also promotes foreign exchange where investors can deposit their money into the company.
“For the first time, investors will receive high dividends and once they are confident and make further investments, it is as good as over.
“It is very similar to pyramid schemes. Initial investigations found the company used ‘Brunei’ in its name but operated locally, ” he said in an exclusive interview yesterday.
ACP Mohd Rosni said so far 45 police reports had been lodged against BIA involving losses of RM578,925.
“Victims come from all ages and backgrounds, ” he said.
Police are also probing another investment scheme called NAR Trading Traders, which is involved in foreign exchange.
Meanwhile, ACP Mohd Rosni said controversial investment company MBI International might have switched its attention to other types of unlawful investment scams after numerous crackdowns by the authorities.
“After numerous raids on the company, the public is now more cautious and this has led to the company’s original operations being ceased in Penang.
“We are also investigating if they are now involved in the Macau scam incidents which are prevalent throughout the country, ” he said.
It was reported that the Johor police were hot on the heels of Malaysian businessman and MBI Group International Sdn Bhd founder Tedy Teow, 55, who is believed to have fled the country and hiding in Danok, Thailand.
In January, police smashed a syndicate involved in a Macau scam linked to Teow, and that it is believed to have used its ill-gotten gains to purchase properties and invest in cryptocurrencies totalling more than RM336mil.
At least 12 suspects, comprising nine men and three women, including several company directors, were arrested in a series of raids in Penang and Kuala Lumpur in February.
Action had also been taken against another company MFace International Bhd, which belonged to MBI Group, for unlicensed activities in 2018.
Then, three directors of MFace faced 11 charges of money laundering involving RM122.88mil. They were accused of receiving monies said to be raised from illegal business activities between 2012 and 2017.
The three directors were later charged under subsection 4(1)b of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLA) 2001.