Two Lamborghinis among luxury cars seized in MACC probe on alcohol, tobacco smuggling syndicate

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has seized eight luxury cars with an estimated value of RM6 million as part of an ongoing investigation into a smuggling syndicate.

The cars, among them two Lamborghinis, were confiscated from businessmen and intermediaries suspected of passing bribes to high-ranking enforcement officers, according to a MACC source familiar with the matter.

The individuals were detained in a dragnet carried out under the Anti Money Laundering Act that began on Monday with the help of the Inland Revenue Board and Bank Negara Malaysia, the source said.

“The vehicles were seized from several individuals who own companies alongside intermediaries who helped pay bribes to officers in an enforcement agency,” the source said.

“Apart from that the syndicate is also suspected of money laundering by laundering their cash using accounts of “syarikat hantu” (a colloquial term for shell companies), money changer, and licenced credit companies.”

The agency’s AML director Datuk Mohamad Zamri Zainul Abidin confirmed the matter.

He said the individuals have been detained for investigation under Section 17(a) and Section 17(b) of the MACC Act 2009. The suspects were believed to have been paying bribes of up to RM8 million to enforcement officers to help them smuggle tobacco, alcohol and cigarettes.

“We estimate the smuggling by the syndicate caused the government tax revenue of up to RM400 million,” the source said.

Cigarette-smuggling remains a chronic problem in Malaysia which has porous borders. Confederation of Malaysian Tobacco Manufacturers (CMTM) said in its study released last year that the prevalence of illicit cigarettes in Malaysia remains high at 55 per cent, despite a 1.3 per cent decline from 2022.

The government has ramped up efforts to crack down on corruption including against some high-profile politicians, as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim vowed to make graft-busting a top agenda of his administration.