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Malaysian anti-corruption watchdog investigates Singaporean businessman Akbar Khan

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is reportedly investigating allegations of corruption involving Singaporean businessman Akbar Khan and former Malaysian finance minister Daim Zainuddin, marking a high-profile investigation.



MALAYSIA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) reportedly initiated an investigation into Akbar Khan, a prominent Malaysian property developer, and Singaporean businessman, on allegations of money laundering and corruption.

The probe, which began two weeks ago, has garnered significant attention as Mr Akbar, aged 83, is the main shareholder of the high-end developer BRDB Developments Sdn Bhd.

Quoting senior sources within the MACC and lawyers familiar with the case, Singapore state media CNA reported that Mr Akbar was temporarily detained for questioning after raids were conducted on his home and business premises in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.

The MACC has also frozen both his business and personal accounts, ordering him to declare his assets and financial holdings, including those of his family.

Responding to media inquiries, a spokesperson from Mr Akbar’s office stated, “As this is an ongoing matter, we refrain from commenting on specific details. Our primary focus remains on ensuring a fair investigation.”

MACC sources have indicated that Mr Akbar is expected to be summoned for further questioning in the coming days, along with other former close associates.

The investigation has uncovered ties between Mr Akbar and former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, implicating him in what is shaping up to be one of Malaysia’s most extensive corporate corruption crackdowns.

The relationship between Mr Akbar and Daim Zainuddin dates back to the late 1980s when the two forged a friendship during Daim’s first tenure as finance minister.

However, it was during Daim’s second stint in the late 1990s and early 2000s that Mr Akbar’s commercial fortunes experienced a significant surge, transitioning from medium-sized investments into the upper echelons of Malaysia’s corporate scene.

During this tumultuous period in Malaysian politics and economy, marked by the aftermath of the regional financial crisis and the dismissal of Deputy Premier Anwar Ibrahim, Mr Akbar seized opportunities presented by Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s controversial policy measures.

His first breakthrough came with the acquisition of control over Multi-Purpose Holdings Bhd (MPHB), a move facilitated by government backing.

The acquisition of MPHB, however, was marred by controversy, with allegations of state-led coercion and irregularities in the deal’s structure.

Investigators are particularly focused on the intricate financing arrangements involving Akbar-linked entities and the subsequent collateralization of MPHB stocks, in violation of Malaysian corporate laws.

In addition to his involvement in the MPHB takeover, Mr Akbar’s firm, Effective Capital, secured exclusive rights from the Finance Ministry, led by Daim Zainuddin, to handle the repatriation of frozen shares from Singapore’s Central Limit Order Book (CLOB) market.

The lucrative deal, estimated to have grossed almost RM300 million (approximately US$ 63.6 million), has drawn further scrutiny from authorities.

The widening probe into Daim Zainuddin’s financial affairs has also ensnared other prominent businessmen, including Tajudin Ramli, the former controller of Malaysian Airline System (MAS), and Halim Saad, a key figure in the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

The investigation casts a shadow over Daim’s tenure as UMNO treasurer, during which Halim-controlled entities benefited from government contracts worth billions of ringgit.

M’sia ex-finance minister Daim Zainuddin faces allegations in Pandora Papers scandal

On 29 January, Tun Daim  faced charges in the Sessions Court, for allegedly failing to disclose his assets to the MACC.

Daim is accused of failing to declare a total of 71 assets, including ownership in 38 companies, seven vehicles, 19 plots of land in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, and Kedah, as well as six properties.

Additionally, he allegedly omitted to declare ownership of an Amanah Saham Berhad and Amanah Saham Nasional bank account. The 86-year-old pleaded not guilty.

Speculations abound concerning the mysterious persona of Tun Daim, particularly due to his close association with Tun Dr. Mahathir, the former Malaysian Prime Minister, during his tenure as a business advisor to the then Deputy Prime Minister.

Unveiling the Enigma of Tun Dr Daim Zainuddin

Daim’s involvement in business began with unsuccessful ventures in the salt and plastic production industries.

In 1973, he entered the realm of property development after acquiring valuable land in Maluri, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Establishing Maluri Sdn Bhd, where he held a majority ownership of 60%, marked the inception of his diversified investments.

As reported by Asiaweek in 1982, Daim’s close ties with the then Menteri Besar of Selangor, Datuk Harun Idris, played a role in these business endeavours. Daim expanded his holdings by investing in the stock market and serving as a business advisor to Dr Mahathir.

In the realm of politics,  Daim’s political journey included roles such as being a Senator, UMNO Treasurer, and Member of Parliament representing Kuala Muda, Kedah.

He was appointed as the Minister of Finance in 1985 until he voluntarily stepped down from the Cabinet in 1991.

As Finance Minister, he was instrumental in implementing economic policies aimed at fostering Malaysia’s development and growth.

Daim’s tenure saw the initiation of various economic reforms and strategies, contributing significantly to the nation’s economic progress.

He has not held any public office since his resignation more than two decades ago in May 2001.

Daim re-entered the spotlight in 2018 when Tun Mahathir, upon Pakatan Harapan’s victory, appointed him as the chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) to oversee the country’s economic and financial affairs.

The CEP was disbanded in March 2020 following the loss of power by PH after the Sheraton Move.

The Pandora Papers controversy involving Tun Daim

The allegations against Tun Daim Zainuddin first surfaced in 2021 when Malaysiakini, a Malaysian online media outlet and a partner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), exposed purported offshore assets linked to the former finance minister in the 2021 Pandora Papers investigation.

The Pandora Papers, a global collaboration led by the ICIJ, drew on 11.9 million confidential records leaked from 14 offshore financial service providers.

The cross-border investigation exposed how more than 300 politicians, business people and criminals worldwide used shell companies and trusts in some tax havens to hide their wealth or evade taxes.

Revelations from the Pandora Papers implicated Daim and members of his inner circle in offshore entities amounting to at least US$31 million.

Malaysiakini disclosed that, based on leaked data, Daim’s two children allegedly assumed ownership of two British Virgin Islands (BVI) companies at ages 9 and 12, eventually becoming owners of multiple offshore entities used for acquiring luxury properties in London by the age of 20.

When confronted by Malaysiakini in 2021, Daim asserted that the companies had been disclosed to the authorities, and taxes had been duly paid. However, he refrained from commenting on the family trusts, as reported by Malaysiakini.

In 2021, Anwar Ibrahim, then the opposition leader in Malaysia’s Dewan Rakyat, submitted an emergency motion urging the House to debate the Pandora Papers revelations. The documents included details on offshore financial assets and business associates of Daim.

By early 2023, Malaysia’s anti-corruption agency initiated an investigation into Daim’s offshore assets, suspecting a possible link to the alleged misappropriation of US$480 million in state funds dating back to the 1990s.

Daim and the son of a former prime minister, whose shell companies were identified in the leaked documents, were summoned by anti-graft authorities.

In December 2023, the MACC seized Menara Ilham, a 60-storey building owned by Daim’s family, citing a violation of the MACC Act 2009. The seizure followed the agency’s discovery of an offence linked to the act.

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MACC is going after those involved decades ago and closing an eye on the current offenders. NR’s daughter and the 1 MDB funds in Singapore? She also has been given stay in Singapore. How about Rosmah’s son who financed movies in the US using funds from 1MDB . How about the many UMNO members who stole for the past decades but were acquitted after AI became PM? The declining Ringgit shows the no confidence in AI. He should step down or appoint another deputy PM from DAP because if he dies Zahid with 47 corruption cases and given an acquittal… Read more »

SG hotbed for crooks and criminals now. Surely it’ll be coz the MIW are also crooks but leave no fingerprints.

We also have our own controversy: Heng Swee Keat and the “forgotten” investigation into the Panama/Pandora/Paradise leaked papers. Lawrence Wrong should be asked in parliament by the opposition as to what the Finance ministry is going to do about it.

One of the main law firms involved even had an office right here in Singapore. So it cannot be that no Singaporeans are involved.

The 10 Fujian gang over $3b and still counting and his Malaysian turned Singaporean I think not even the top of the iceberg.

Another high profile money laundering case who happily settled in the comfy ultra luxurious life in SG.

Now this tiny island is the most in-place and defacto choice for money launderers to live. As long as do don’t get caught

Last edited 4 months ago by Singapore Fooled Again n Again

Long time coming and this includes ahamedthir

A lot of small investors were clob(bed).