Woman to be charged with ‘smurfing’, first such case in M’sia

KUALA LUMPUR: A businesswoman is expected to be charged today over her alleged role in the structuring of a transaction – a technique known as “smurfing” – involving more than RM230,000 in the first such case to be tried in the country.

She will be brought to the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex in Jalan Duta here.

Sources said the woman, in her 50s, who is being investigated by graft busters, was suspected of trying to evade detection by a bank.

Banks are required to report the deposit or withdrawal of more than RM50,000 of funds daily by a customer to Bank Negara Malaysia.

“From January to May 2018, the suspect is believed to have instructed an individual to deposit funds into her business account in multiple transactions so that it did not exceed RM50,000.

“More than RM230,000 was deposited into the business account via several transactions.

“The bank involved did not lodge a Cash Threshold Report (CTR) to Bank Negara as the transactions were conducted several times, and each transaction did not exceed the permitted limit,” sources said yesterday.

CTR is a mechanism used by Bank Negara to monitor any cash transaction, be it deposit or withdrawal, conducted by any individual at a bank.

“Structuring a transaction, better known as ‘smurfing’, is a technique used by financial criminals to deposit or withdraw cash obtained from illegal activities,” the sources said.

“It is an offence under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.”

In December 2018, Bank Negara amended the transaction amount that requires reports from a bank from RM50,000 daily to RM25,000 daily.

The new threshold was enforced on Jan 1, 2019.

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