MACC to probe two over RM2.3bil

PUTRAJAYA: A former senior minister and a businessman are being investigated in connection with alleged misappropriation of the country’s funds amounting to RM2.3bil.It is learnt that both the former minister and the businessman, a Tan Sri, were already called by authorities for their statements to be recorded.

“We have spoken to the former minister and will be calling him again for his statement,” said a source.

It is learnt that the businessman had already been called for his statement to be recorded in April.

“He, too, will be called again,” a source told The Star.

Sources said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had also recorded statements from more than 14 witnesses over the past few weeks.

It is learnt that those who had been called were individuals, representatives from companies and broker firms as well as lawyers.“Investigators have asked for documents and they (who were questioned) are expected to handover the documents by next week,” said a source.

It is learnt that a report alleging the misappropriation was lodged some time in April and sources said the probe was based on the complaint made.

Sources added that the probe is a continuation and extension to the disclosure of confidential documents by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICJ) over transactions carried out at offshore financial centres.

It is learnt that the anti-corruption agency began probing the duo after they were listed among several prominent Malaysians in the leaked Pandora Papers as having links to offshore tax havens.

The Pandora Papers refer to the millions of leaked documents put together by the international consortium of investigative journalists and made public in October 2021, which allegedly reveal offshore accounts of present and past leaders from around the world, including presidents, prime ministers, billionaires and prominent business people.

The data leak is the biggest of its kind and involves nearly 12 million documents and other records obtained from offshore service providers who help set up and manage shell companies around the world.

“The focus of the investigation is on the transaction of purchase and acquisition of shares of a listed company by a giant corporation.“The move is said to be masterminded by the former senior minister,” a source said.

The source revealed that the investigation includes two major public-listed companies and centres on the purchase of shares in the 1990s.

It is also learnt that transactions in acquiring the shares are believed to be the cause of an economic downturn and the weakening of the ringgit at the end of the 1990s.

“The misappropriation was done for the interest of these individuals as a bailout to save (the companies) from suffering huge losses,” said a source, adding that the probe into the case focuses on transactions from the sales of the shares of the listed companies.

“At the same time, the investigation will also look into the acquisition of valuable assets that have been identified by investigators as being owned by the businessman, the former minister as well as their family members, estimated to be worth billions of ringgit here and abroad,” the source said.

MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki confirmed that an investigation has been launched to look into the allegations.

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