Thursday, September 23, 2021

Multiple agencies probing businessman for tax fraud, 1MDB-style money laundering

Investigations have to do with lucrative contracts from a foreign government, the profits of which were never declared by the businessman.

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Several government agencies are believed to be investigating a Malaysian businessman for possible tax fraud as well as suspected money laundering involving billions of ringgit, MalaysiaNow has learnt.

It is understood from at least two agencies involved in the probe that the investigations involve financial and anti-corruption authorities in at least three countries, where transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars had taken place involving suspicious shell companies as well as personal bank accounts.

MalaysiaNow is not at liberty to reveal the identity of the individual involved, but documents being scrutinised by investigators show activities reminiscent of the 1MDB scandal, where large sums of money were said to have been transacted through several bank accounts in different countries.

Agencies involved include the National Anti-Financial Crime Centre (NFCC), which confirmed to MalaysiaNow earlier this month that it was aware of such a probe.

NFCC deputy CEO Sani Abd Hamid however refused to give details, saying investigations were still at a very early stage.

It is learnt that the probe has to do with lucrative contracts from a foreign government, the profits of which were never declared by the businessman.

A source in the investigations told MalaysiaNow that a key aspect of the contracts that had raised red flags was the manner in which payments were made.

“We take note of an instruction by the seller to the buyer to make payments into at least five bank accounts outside Malaysia, none of which belongs to the seller’s company,” it said.

It refused to state which countries are involved, speaking only of banks in “two financial hubs”.

“At least one of these accounts belongs to an overseas subsidiary of a Chinese company and is registered in the Cayman Islands,” the source added, referring to the popular tax haven for those avoiding tax laws in their own countries.

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