Malaysia’s anti-corruption agency is reportedly investigating the offshore assets of a former finance minister and other officials exposed in the 2021 Pandora Papers investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
According to Malaysian media reports, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission recently summoned Daim Zainuddin and the son of a former prime minister whose shell companies were identified in the leaked documents at the center of the ICIJ investigation.
Utusan Malaysia, a local daily, reported that authorities are tracing Daim and his family’s links to 12 offshore companies to determine if wealth held in them was gained through government projects.
The reports did not identify Daim by name but instead referred to an “84-year-old former finance minister.” They also did not name the other person who was questioned by the authorities.
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Pandora Papers is a global collaboration led by ICIJ and based on 11.9 million confidential records leaked from 14 offshore financial service providers. The cross-border investigation exposed how more than 300 politicians, business people and criminals worldwide used shell companies and trusts in a number of tax havens to hide their wealth or evade taxes.
As part of the investigation, Malaysiakini found offshore companies linked to several top officials and associates. ICIJ’s media partner in Malaysia also revealed that Daim’s two sons were shareholders of a shell company that held multimillion dollar properties in London. Daim, a former businessman, denied any wrongdoing, adding that the companies were disclosed to the authorities and he had paid taxes on them.
The current inquiry by the Malaysian authorities is still in its early stages, the media reports say.
According to Malaysiakini, Seri Azalina Othman, a minister in the Prime Minister’s cabinet, said in a written Parliamentary reply that a group of agencies including the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Committee, the tax department and the police were requesting information from abroad.