How to ‘clean dirty money’

KUALA LUMPUR: Luxury watches and special or limited edition number plates are the “currency of choice” for a money-laundering syndicate that specialises in helping people to “clean up” ill-gotten gains.

However, this operation was eventually sniffed out by Bukit Aman, leading to the arrest of 10 Malaysians in raids in Klang Valley between May 13 and 21.

The suspects, aged between 28 and 51, were believed to have also operated overseas before returning home to act as money launderers to “legitimise” earnings from scams.

During the raids, police seized assets including 75 luxury watches, 18 sports cars and 203 motorcycles. A total of 129 vehicle registrations grants were also seized during the raid, with the associated vehicles collectively valued at RM18mil.

Part of the fleet of luxury vehicles seized by police.Part of the fleet of luxury vehicles seized by police.

Most were registered to the seized motorcycles and police believed several vehicles had already been sold.

According to sources, one of the luxury watches seized was a Richard Mille which cost over RM1mil besides several Rolexes.

“Based on questioning, the syndicate operated the GHC forex and cryptocurrency investment scam that was based overseas. It started operating in 2017,” said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Husain at a press conference here yesterday.

“A total of 33 bank accounts worth RM10,714,175.62 have been frozen. Added with the other seizures, the total came to about RM51mil.”

Investigations showed that the suspects would use illegal money changers and cryptocurrency to bring money into the country to avoid paper trails. They also invested in a 40ha durian farm in Pahang as part of their money laundering scheme, along with buying and selling watches from a timepiece shop in Bukit Jalil.

Razarudin (right) after a press conference at Menara KPJ, Kuala Lumpur.Razarudin (right) after a press conference at Menara KPJ, Kuala Lumpur.

“This is only one syndicate and there are others on our radar. We are checking whether they had been arrested overseas, but here, they have no record,” he said, adding that the police did not deny the possibility that other members of the syndicate are still on the run.

In an unrelated case, police have frozen several bank accounts after investigating hundreds of fake accounts linked to online gambling sites.

“At this point, we have frozen around RM32mil from these accounts and believe there will be more. These fake accounts have layers and finally we see who are the ‘real people’ behind these accounts.

“It is all under our investigation, and there are hundreds,” Razarudin added.

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money-laundering , syndicate , dirty money


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