PUTRAJAYA (March 18): The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is now tracing the assets and money believed to be in the millions of ringgit obtained through the activities of an international investment scam syndicate that was busted during "Op Tropicana" in February.
The MACC said in a statement on Saturday (March 18) that efforts to trace the assets and money are being done in collaboration with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and international enforcement bodies, including Interpol, the National Crime Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The MACC said these efforts are following the arrest of the four foreigners, masterminds behind the syndicate, who were charged in the Shah Alam Court on March 16 and in the Butterworth Court on March 17, which is within three weeks of the operation being launched.
Meanwhile, the four British citizens were sentenced to prison and fined after pleading guilty to alternative charges under Section 417 of the Penal Code.
Previously, five British citizens and two Philippines nationals were among 10 individuals arrested by the MACC in raids in Kuala Lumpur and Penang on Feb 21, in connection with an international investment fraud syndicate that also involved money laundering and corruption.
They were arrested in Op Tropicana, headed by the MACC's Anti-Money Laundering Division, which had raided 24 locations in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, including three syndicate call centres, two located in Kuala Lumpur and one in Penang.
On allegations that five major banks are being monitored by the MACC regarding their involvement in the fraud syndicate, the MACC said the investigation is more focused on the individuals involved and not on the financial institutions specifically.
"These are a handful of professional enablers, including bank officers, accountants, and company secretaries, who act to enable the operation of the illegal syndicate," it said.
Accordingly, the MACC will continue to work closely with BNM and other enforcement agencies to combat international scam syndicates.