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Thai-Malaysian officials to use MLAT for probe on Malaysian company

 | August 11, 2017

Penang-based company, with wide-ranging business interests in Thailand, has also come under scrutiny by Malaysian authorities for operating a questionable financial scheme.

ThailandBANGKOK: Malaysian and Thai officials have agreed that any future request for “evidence and information” on a Malaysian company accused of running a transnational crime syndicate in the kingdom will be made through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT).

The decision to use the formal channel was made at a meeting of senior enforcement officials of the two countries in Kuala Lumpur on July 25-27.

“Malaysian officials are supportive of our investigations (on the company) and willing to assist us,” said a high-ranking source in the Thai enforcement agency to Bernama.

Last month’s meeting, he said, was held in a cordial manner in which the Thai side submitted their request for specific “evidence and information” on the allegations surrounding the Malaysian company in Thailand.

The source declined to disclose the specific “evidence and information” requested from the Malaysian authorities, but stated that it was vital to the outcome of their investigation on the company.

The meeting signalled the commitment and urgency by Thai authorities to wrap up the more than a year old investigation on the Malaysian company for allegedly conducting dubious business operations in the kingdom.

The Penang-based company, which has wide-ranging business interests in the kingdom, especially in the southern Thai towns of Hatyai and Danok, had also come under scrutiny by the Malaysian authorities recently for operating a questionable financial scheme.

In the meeting, the Thai delegation was represented by officers from the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO), Department of Special Investigation (DSI), Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) and Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB).

According to the source, Thailand’s Attorney-General”s Office would be the main agency to deal with the Malaysian side regarding the request for “evidence and information” about the company.

He also said there was no plan at the moment for another meeting with the Malaysians.

The source expected AMLO to be the first enforcement agency to officially press money-laundering charges against the Malaysian company, to be followed by other Thai enforcement agencies upon the completion of their investigations.

Bernama was made to understand that NSB and ONCB had been investigating allegations on possible links by the company with the cross-border narco-trade following the arrest of a Malaysian member of a drug syndicate.

The Malaysian man was arrested at the Sadao border checkpoint last year with hundreds of kilogrammes of methaphetamine drugs.

Malaysian authorities in recent months have raided the company’s premises located all over the country and frozen 91 bank accounts linked to the company with funds totalling RM177 million.


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