Putrajaya freezes RM177m in bank accounts linked to MBI Group

Government officials raid the offices of the MBI Group in M Mall in George Town May 29, 2017. — Picture by KE Ooi
Government officials raid the offices of the MBI Group in M Mall in George Town May 29, 2017. — Picture by KE Ooi

PUTRAJAYA, May 31 — The Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Ministry has frozen RM177 million deposited into 91 bank accounts linked to Penang-based MBI Group.

The ministry’s enforcement unit director Datuk Mohd Roslan Mahayudin said the bank accounts, 48 individual and 43 company accounts, were all linked to MBI Group.

“In the raid, various documents which I am not able to reveal, financial transaction details, computer appliances and several luxury items were also confiscated.

“This included two units of gold bars, branded handbag, branded watches and jade jewellery,” he told a news conference here today.

Mohd Roslan said that no suspects have been detained at the moment.

MBI Group operates from out of the M Mall O2O along Jalan Datuk Keramat in George Town, Penang, which allows shoppers to trade using virtual coins in a financial scheme under the same company.

On Monday, a multi-agency team comprising officers from the police force, Bank Negara Malaysia, Companies Commission of Malaysia, and the Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Ministry raided two MBI offices, the one in Penang as well as in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur in an operation called “Ops Token”.

Mohd Roslan said that the scheme linked to MBI Group was known as Mfc Club or Mface Club, and authorities conducted six concurrent raids at premises in Klang Valley and Penang that were linked to the business.

“The raids were conducted under the Direct Sales and Anti-Pyramid Scheme Act 1993 (AJLSAP 1993), as well as Acts enforced by the Bank Negara Malaysia and the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM),” he said.

He said the firm was being investigated for operating an unlicensed direct selling scheme and for promoting a pyramid scheme, among others.

The firm was also suspected of violating laws against money laundering, which he said was why the bank accounts were frozen.

MBI Group offers a financial scheme involving virtual coins, which “members” may join by investing an initial US$5,000 (RM21,419) for points.

Members are then rewarded with bonus points according to a pyramid-like scheme. 

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