Special task force established for an immediate review of a ministry's procurement process following Malaysia anti-corruption agency's recent investigation involving senior officials of the ministry
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) detained at least 11 individuals in March, including a Youth and Sports Ministry division secretary, a former Youth and Sports Ministry official and nine others, in connection with the alleged misappropriation of government funds involving RM100 million (approximately US$25.5 million) since 2010. It is reported that more than ten companies were paid money from Ministry funds for projects that were never carried out, and in return paid kickbacks of approximately RM20 million (approximately US$ 5.1 million) to the Ministry official. The Ministry has promised full cooperation with the MACC. In particular, the Minister has called for an immediate review of the Ministry's procurement process by an independent government task force with a view to closing the loopholes in procurement procedures that may have been abused by the suspects in this scandal.
Kingfisher Airline’s loans under extended investigation
While a group of 17 banks are taking action to recover nearly 1 billion US dollars that Kingfisher Airlines (KA) owes, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of India has recently registered a money-laundering case against Vijay Mallya, Director of KA, and A. Raghunathan, the CFO of KA. The investigation by ED comes after a probe initiated by CBI (Indian's anti-corruption agency) last year into the alleged wilful default of an over Rs 900 crore (approximately US$ 130 million) loan to KA in collusion with IDBI bank officials. It is alleged that the loan provided to KA (which was then misused) was made in violation of the corporate loan policy of the bank.
ED has issued summons to a few officials of IDBI bank and KA under India's Prevention of Money Laundering Act. ED has asked the 17 banks, which lent money to KA and later took action for recovery of the dues, for details on loans provided to Mr Mallya for business activities, and has also requested details of the earlier investigations conducted by other Indian authorities into the airline (including the Income Tax and Service Tax departments and the Special Frauds Investigation Office). The agency is also investigating the overall financial structure of KA, and the payment of kickbacks to secure the loans and any possible "proceeds of crime" generated using the funds of the alleged loan fraud. Meanwhile, the CBI has extended its investigation to all transactions between KA and the concerned banks that took place between 2004 and 2016.
China court jails 24 in another financial fraud
A court in Guangzhou, China has recently convicted 24 individuals of defrauding investors of nearly RMB 10 billion (approximately US$1.5 billion). In what is said to be one of the country's biggest financial scams, Guangdong Bangjia Leasing Co was allegedly set up to lure retail investors into purchasing memberships and funding non-existent loans. The main suspect (who registered the company) was sentenced to life imprisonment and the others were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 3 to 14 years. The Court also confiscated illegal gains and imposed criminal fines.
Another two senior officials under investigation
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, China's anti-corruption watch dog, recently initiated investigations into Ziyue Lu, mayor of Nongbo City in Zhejiang province, and Yang Wang, vice-chairman of the People's Congress of Liaoning province, for "suspected serious violation of the Party's discipline", or corruption. No further details have yet been given about the alleged offences.
Central bank teams up with police to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism
The Anti-Money Laundering Intelligence Unit of the Bank of Lao (BOL), the country's central bank, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Foreigner Control Department of the Ministry of Public Security of Laos. It is expected that this will lead to more cooperation and collaboration on the exchange of information between the two in fighting money laundering and terrorist financing. Such information may include details of foreigners associated with illegal monetary activities or persons suspected of being associated with money laundering and terrorist financing.