Op Tropicana continues with more raids

KUALA LUMPUR: Several banks, money changers and company registrar offices here have been raided by graft busters for alleged links to an international scam syndicate.

The raids yesterday were conducted by the Anti-Money Laundering Task Force of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The financial institutions were believed to have acted as middlemen for the syndicate.

Sources said officers at the institutions gave access to the syndicate to set up companies and bank accounts in the country.

“Such access made Malaysia one of the ideal countries for the syndicate,” a source said.

A 41-year-old British web designer was detained at KL International Airport 2 by the task force on Feb 28, added the source.

“He was in transit from Cambodia to the United Kingdom.

“Investigators believed the man was hired to set up fake websites for the syndicate to lure victims into investing in fake schemes,” the source said.

When contacted, MACC deputy commissioner Datuk Mohamad Zamri Zainul Abidin confirmed the raids but declined to elaborate.

On Feb 21, the MACC, with the cooperation of other agencies, busted an investment scam masterminded by British nationals with the arrest of 81 suspects in 24 raids.

Codenamed Op Tropicana, the raids – led by Mohamad Zamri – were carried out simultaneously at, among others, call centres, various companies and homes in the Klang Valley and Penang.

The syndicate, which started in 2019, has amassed almost RM200mil after duping victims in Australia and the United Kingdom.

MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki had said the syndicate, whose members are from Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa and the Philippines, had offered fake investment portfolios through advertisements on social media.

It is believed the syndicate was part of an international scam ring that has duped victims across the globe, causing RM1bil in losses.

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