KUALA LUMPUR: Three Datuks were arrested in a series of raids in the city on Feb 10 for their suspected involvement in a foreign exchange scam which is believed to have raked in RM1 billion.
Federal Commercial Crime Department director Datuk Seri Amar Singh said the suspects, aged between 35 and 49, were arrested after police received a staggering 116 reports concerning losses totalling RM6.2 million from the syndicate’s activities nationwide.
“We seized 13 luxury cars, three superbikes, 10 gold pieces weighing 100 grammes each, luxury watches and handbags, as well as numerous documents.
“We received 116 reports on the financial losses between October 2016 to February this year. A total of 30 investigation papers were opened.
“However, we estimate that there are around 70,000 scam victims who incurred losses of around RM1 billion,” he told a press conference at Bukit Aman today.
He said the authorities have frozen 38 bank accounts belonging to 17 individuals, believed to have ties to the syndicate. The accounts contained RM624,000.
“We also froze assets in the form of a RM5 million bungalow as well as a Ferrari estimated to be worth RM1.5 million.
“In total, the assets seized are estimated to be worth RM10.5 million,” he said.
Amar said the syndicate, which had been active since 2013, lured potential victims by promoting their investment scheme online, offering monthly returns of 12 per cent.
“The syndicate would organise seminars in hotels where they would then convince people to invest their money in a foreign exchange scheme.
“The syndicate would also use a company that is registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia, and promote their senior management who would comprise Datuks,” he said.
He said all the suspects were detained under the Prevention of Crime Act (POCA) 1959. The case is being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism
Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLA) 2001.
Amar said police are now hunting down a husband and wife pair, whom he described as being the syndicate’s masterminds.
“We are looking for Datuk Pandeyan Maruthamuthu, 55, and his wife Datin Gouri C. Faskuny, 56, who were believed to have fled to a neighbouring country on Sunday just as the raids were conducted.
“Members of the public who have information on the suspects can contact the nearest police station,” he said.
Amar also advised members of the public not to be duped by investments schemes which offer lucrative returns in a short span of time.