MACC says going after ‘professional enablers’ in Op Tropicana investment scam, not banks
KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today clarified that it is not investigating local financial institutions per se but “professional enablers” who have enabled an international network to syphon millions of ringgit out of the country illegally as part of a worldwide scam.
Several local dailies had previously reported five local major banks as coming under the MACC’s “radar” for illicit outflows of up to RM200 million daily.
“Regarding the allegation that five major banks are being monitored by the MACC on their involvement in the fraud syndicate, it should be clarified that the investigation is more focused on the individuals rather than the financial institutions.
“The individuals are a number of ‘professional enablers’ including bank officers, accountants and company secretaries who enabled the illegal syndicate to operate,” the MACC said in a statement.
It also said that it is actively working to trace the assets and money from the investment fraud syndicate that it codenamed Op Tropicana.
To that end, the MACC said it is working with Bank Negara Malaysia, Interpol, the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US.
The MACC’s sting operation has so far seen four foreigners caught, charged in court and convicted of conning several people for cheating earlier this week.
Yesterday, two UK nationals were charged at the Sessions Court in Penang with cheating two Austrians on December 16 last year and January 5 this year out of A$17,564 (RM52,797) to buy shares in a non-existent company called Devon Energy Corporation. — Bernama pic
Yesterday, two UK nationals Lloyd George Bedwell, 48, and Roger Hoi Wing Wu, 46, were charged at the Sessions Court in Penang with cheating two Austrians on December 16 last year and January 5 this year out of A$17,564 (RM52,797) to buy shares in a non-existent company called Devon Energy Corporation.
A third accomplice, whose name was given as Jacob Yazdi and whose nationality was not disclosed, is at large.
Sessions Court judge Zulhazmi Abdullah sentenced Bedwell and Hoi to six months in jail to be served from the date of their arrest on February 21; and fined the two men RM100,000 each.
Last Thursday, two Britons Andrew Mark Peters, 55, and Darren Anthony McNicholas, 51, pled guilty in the Sessions Court in Shah Alam, Selangor to cheating a Scotsman of US$5,672.41 (RM25,525.85) into buying shares of a fake company called Novocure Limited back in 2016.
Sessions Court Judge Rozilah Salleh fined Peters RM180,000 fine in default of 22 months’ in jail while McNicholas was given a slightly lighter fine of RM140,000 in default of 16 months’ imprisonment.