VIR­TUAL CUR­RENCY MALL RAIDED

GOV­ERN­MENT of­fi­cers, backed by po­lice­men, re­move doc­u­ments from the of­fices of MBI In­ter­na­tional Sdn Bhd in George Town. This is done in con­nec­tion with in­ves­ti­ga­tions into a scheme that al­lows in­vestors to ex­change vir­tual money for goods and ser­vices.

New Straits Times - - Front Page - MO­HAMED BASYIR GEORGE TOWN m.basyir@nstp.com.my

AMALL here where shop­pers paid for things in vir­tual cur­rency was raided yes­ter­day.

In­vestors at MBI Group In­ter­na­tional, a lo­cal fi­nan­cial scheme com­pany, in Jalan Dato Kera­mat here were shocked to see a raid­ing team moving into the man­age­ment of­fice on the fifth floor of M Mall.

Of­fi­cers en­tered the mall, which hon­ours the vir­tual coins of fi­nan­cial scheme op­er­a­tor MBI Group In­ter­na­tional, at noon.

Those in the raid­ing team in­cluded po­lice of­fi­cers and per­son­nel from the Com­pa­nies Com­mis­sion of Malaysia, Do­mes­tic Trade, Co­op­er­a­tives and Con­sumerism Min­istry and Bank Negara Malaysia.

News­men and pho­tog­ra­phers were also blocked from wait­ing near the area.

The work­ers at the mall looked rest­less when they saw the group of plain­clothes of­fi­cers go­ing through doc­u­ments dur­ing the raid.

Bun­dles of doc­u­ments were seen be­ing packed in two huge boxes and car­ried out of the fifth floor of­fice on a trol­ley five hours later.

There were no signs of the com­pany’s em­ploy­ees be­ing de­tained by the task force.

Pe­nang po­lice re­fused to com­ment as it was a raid by fed­eral agen­cies.

On May 22, Bank Negara flagged MBI In­ter­na­tional Sdn Bhd and Mface In­ter­na­tional Sdn Bhd, which are sub­sidiaries of MBI Group.

It was re­ported that MBI Group was founded in July 2009 with sev­eral prom­i­nent per­son­al­i­ties at its core.

The vir­tual coins, known as Mcoin, started to gain at­ten­tion of po­ten­tial in­vestors as they promised high re­turns com­pared with other in­vest­ment com­pa­nies.

In­vestors in the scheme are al­lowed to spend their loy­alty points, which are con­verted from vir­tual money or coins, in ex­change for goods and ser­vices at af­fil­i­ated com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing a su­per­mar­ket, restau­rants, a gym and even a durian stall.

To date, 302 com­pa­nies have been listed un­der the BNM fi­nan­cial con­sumer alert list on sus­pi­cion of not ad­her­ing to rel­e­vant laws and reg­u­la­tions.

Page 1 pic: Of­fi­cers raid­ing the MBI In­ter­na­tional Sdn Bhd of­fice in George Town yes­ter­day. PIC BY SHAHNAZ FAZLIE SHAHRIZAL

FAZLIE SHAHRIZAL PIC BY SHAHNAZ

Of­fi­cers re­mov­ing doc­u­ments from MBI In­ter­na­tional of­fice in George Town yes­ter­day.

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