PETALING JAYA: A Russian national is seeking justice after he allegedly lost about RM170,000 in his attempt to secure Permanent Residence (PR) status in Malaysia.
Rafiq (not his real name), who holds dual Russian and Syrian citizenship, told FMT that his ordeal started in August last year when he decided to apply for PR for himself and his family members.
Rafiq, who works as a business consultant, turned to the Malaysian subsidiary of an agency which offers business migration, residency and citizenship services.
The agency’s headquarters is in Dubai, United Arab Emirates while its subsidiary here has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
Rafiq said he met with Kevin (not his real name), who is the director of the subsidiary, and who claimed to be a former ambassador (not from Malaysia) to a country in the Middle-East.
“This person’s office was huge and he showed me medals awarded for contributions to his country. I thought he was an honest person.
“He then recommended me to a Malaysian lawyer, Farouq (not his real name) to help me secure the PR for me and my family,” Rafiq said.
He said Farouq told him that the process would cost him US$20,000 and would take one to two months, but he was sceptical about giving money to Farouq and informed Kevin.
He said Kevin then proposed that the money be given to him to handle and on Aug 23, 2016, Rafiq said he handed the money over to Kevin and was given a signed receipt by him.
This Rafiq said, was witnessed by his wife, son and Farouq. He also has the original copy of the receipt, bearing Kevin’s signature.
After two months, Rafiq said he didn’t receive any news and contacted Farouq who said more money was needed to expedite the process and even asked Rafiq to recommend another five foreigners who needed PRs.
“I don’t know anyone who needed a PR aside from my family, so I paid an additional RM90,000 as requested by Farouq.
A few days later, Rafiq said he received the first batch of PR documents for him and his wife, and subsequently, received the rest of the documents.
These documents include the Entry Permit and Identification Card (MyPR).
On Jan 9 this year, Rafiq said he went to the National Registration Department (JPN) to update the address on his MyPR card and those of his family members as he had moved to a new home, only to find out that the card and all the other MyPR cards were fake.
Rafiq said he and his wife were detained on the spot by JPN officers and handed over to the police for possession of false documentation.
“The JPN understood that I was a victim in this situation as no one in their right mind, who was in possession of false documents would go to JPN with the false documents.
“I myself thought the PR documents were real and I was told by JPN staff that the MyPR cards looked so real and that they were only able to detect that it was fake because there was no information on the chips.”
Rafiq said he called Farouq, who told him not to reveal his name to the authorities and offered his legal services. Eventually, Rafiq and his wife had to spend two nights in the police lock-up before their court hearing.
The couple pleaded guilty to the charge of possession of false documents and Rafiq paid the RM10,000 fine and had to fork out another RM10,000 in legal fees.
Rafiq said he has since asked Farouq to return his money as the documents were false but was rejected. He also went to Kevin to ask for his money to be returned, but Kevin said all the money had been given to Farouq.
Rafiq said he then lodged a police report on April 23 which led to Kevin’s arrest on May 2.
He added that he was called to a police identification parade and positively identified Kevin.
“The police asked Kevin about my report in front of me and eight other police officers. He admitted to introducing me to Farouq and receiving the money and transferring it to Farouq.”
It is understood that Kevin is still in police custody at the time this article was written.
It is understood that police are looking for Farouq but he has yet to be found.
According to Rafiq, he was told by the police that Kevin said he too was a victim of Farouq’s deception.