PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is investigating a former senior minister and a businessman holding the title of “Tan Sri” over the alleged embezzlement of state funds worth more than RM2.3 billion, says a source in the know.
The source said the anti-graft agency’s probe was related to the leaked Pandora Papers, which listed several prominent Malaysians as having links to offshore tax havens.
“The probe centres around the purchase and ownership of a listed company’s shares by a large Malaysian company,” said the source.
It is believed that the purchase of the shares was orchestrated by the former senior minister.
“The purchase of the shares is believed to have caused a decline in the economy and the weakening of the ringgit in the late 1990s.”
The source said the shares had been misappropriated to “bail out certain individuals” and prevent them from suffering losses.
The MACC is also looking into transactions linked to the sale of the listed company’s shares, the source said.
This includes assets worth billings of ringgit owned by the former minister, the businessman and their family members, both locally and abroad.
The source said MACC recorded statements from 14 witnesses, including businessmen and former ministers over the past few weeks.
When contacted, MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki confirmed the matter.
The case is being investigated under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 for abuse of power and Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amla) for money laundering.
Malaysians named in the Pandora Papers leak include former finance ministers Daim Zainuddin and Tengku Zafrul Aziz, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, PKR’s Selayang MP William Leong, as well as the parents of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low.
In February, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said he had instructed the authorities to continue their probe into the individuals named in the Pandora Papers.