35 bank accounts frozen, RM4 million seized over illegal money transactions

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 35 bank accounts were frozen and RM4 million in cash and properties seized in raids on a network of illegal money services business (MSB) operators in the Klang Valley and Penang.

Documents, computers and mobile phones related to these activities were also seized in the raids done in collaboration with the police and the Immigration Department on Aug 1, Bank Negara said in a statement.

The statement said 14 individuals were questioned, while 22 illegal immigrants, suspected to be the staff or customers of the illegal operators, were detained by the Immigration Department under the Immigration Act 1959/63.

“The network is investigated for suspected offences of carrying out MSB activities without a licence under Section 4 (1) of the Money Services Business Act 2011 (MSBA) and engaging in money laundering activities, which is an offence under Section 4 (1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA).

“Those committing offences under Section 4 (1) of the MSBA shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM5 million or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or both,” it said.

For an offence under Section 4 (1) of the AMLA, persons found guilty can be imprisoned for not more than 15 years and be fined no less than five times the sum or value of the proceeds of unlawful activity or instrumentalities at the time the offence was committed, or RM5 million, whichever is higher.

The statement also advised the public not to deal with any illegal MSB operators for remitting money, and that anyone involved would not be protected from financial loss in the event of a dispute.

“Members of the public should conduct their transactions with licensed MSBs, which are listed on Bank Negara Malaysia’s website (www.bnm.gov.my),” the statement added.