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MYAirline co-founder arrested by Malaysian authorities on money laundering charges

On 17 Oct evening, Malaysian authorities arrested the co-founder of a local airline, along with his family, citing violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Datuk Allan Goh Hwan Hua, primary stakeholder of MYAirline, was confirmed as the detained individual by Chinese media.

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MALAYSIA: The Malaysian authorities on Tuesday (17 Oct) evening apprehended a co-founder of a domestic airline, who held the esteemed “Datuk” title, in addition to his wife and son.

In a statement reported by the country’s state media Bernama, Director of the Bukit Aman Commercial Crimes Investigation Department, Datuk Seri Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf, disclosed that the trio was taken into custody under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing, and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

According to Ramli, the 57-year-old Datuk, who is a key shareholder of the airline, was apprehended alongside his 55-year-old wife and 26-year-old son at their residence in Shah Alam at 5:30 pm on Tuesday.

Ramli further stated that the police will be filing remand applications for the three suspects on Wednesday (Oct 18).

Following these developments, local Chinese media sought additional information from the authorities, confirming that the detained individual is indeed Datuk Allan Goh Hwan Hua, the Co-founder and primary stakeholder of the recently suspended Malaysian low-cost carrier, MYAirline.

Last Thursday (12 Oct), MYAirline abruptly announced the immediate suspension of its flight operations until further notice, citing significant financial pressures that forced the suspension of operations.

In December 2022, MYAirline began its operations, utilizing a fleet of nine Airbus A320-200 aircraft stationed at Terminal 2 of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The airline had set a target to increase its aircraft fleet to 20 by the end of the year and to extend its flight routes to include destinations in other neighbouring countries within the Southeast Asian region.

MYAirline’s board is composed of the following individuals:

  1. Datuk Allan Goh Hwan Hua – Co-founder and major shareholder of MYAirline.
  2. Sean Goh Tze Han – Son of Datuk Allan Goh Hwan Hua.
  3. Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman – Former Director General of the Civil Aviation Department of Malaysia.
  4. Datuk Abd Hamid Mohd Ali – Former Chief Operating Officer of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB).
  5. Rayner Teo Kheng Hock – Co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer of MYAirline.
  6. Jothi Prakash Murugan – Director at Trillion Cove Holdings Bhd.

Teo, who had been leading the airline since its establishment, resigned from his position on October 8th, citing health-related concerns.

According to The Edge Malaysia, SSM data showed that international trade consultant Zillion Wealth Bhd had an 88% equity interest in MYAirline and Trillion Cove Holdings Bhd, a money lending and financing company, a 10% stake.

Both Zillion Wealth and Trillion Cove named Goh as a director of the companies.

A company under Goh embroiled in money laundering case

In May this year, Trillion Cove became embroiled in a money laundering case involving former Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) CEO Datuk Mohamad Madani Sahari.

Madani faced 12 counts of money laundering, totalling RM1.038 million (approximately US$218,964), in the Alor Setar Sessions Court in Kedah. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

For the initial 10 charges, Madani reportedly faced accusations of indirectly participating in transactions related to the proceeds of unlawful activities.

These transactions were conducted through his lawyers’ Hong Leong Islamic Bank account at Norizan & Associates, amounting to RM1 million.

Regarding the remaining charges, Madani was alleged to have received fees through illicit transactions, amounting to RM19,000 for each charge. These fees were linked to the purchase of RM1 million worth of Redeemable Preference Shares-i from Trillion Cove.

Additionally, Goh’s involvement extended to the payment gateway company i-Serve Online Mall Sdn Bhd, one of seven companies penalized a combined total of RM50 million (equivalent to US$10.54 million) by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in September for accepting deposits without the necessary license.

BNM’s investigation uncovered that between June 2018 and September 2021, the seven entities had accepted public deposits and subsequently engaged in transactions involving the proceeds from these unauthorized deposit-taking activities.

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