Busi­ness as usual at raided vir­tual cur­rency mall

New Straits Times - - News -

De­spite be­ing raided, fi­nan­cial scheme com­pany MBI Group In­ter­na­tional and the mall it runs at Pe­nang Times Square here are op­er­at­ing as usual.

An em­ployee at the mall, who de­clined to be named, said there had been no prob­lem with the op­er­a­tion of MBI or the mall.

“Even the use of the vir­tual cur­rency M-coin is go­ing smoothly. Our cus­tomers are here shop­ping as usual us­ing M-coins.

“The raid did not af­fect op­er­a­tions and there was no ar­rest. The of­fi­cers only took doc­u­ments,” she told the New Straits

Times at the mall here yes­ter­day. On Mon­day, the MBI In­ter­na­tional of­fice in Pe­nang at level five of the mall here was raided by authorities.

A task force con­sist­ing of 30 uni­formed en­force­ment of­fi­cers from the Com­pa­nies Com­mis­sion of Malaysia and Do­mes­tic Trade, Co­op­er­a­tives and Con­sumerism Min­istry, as well as police and plain­clothes of­fi­cials, be­lieved to be from Bank Ne­gara Malaysia (BNM), raided the premises.

The com­pany was one of the 302 com­pa­nies un­der BNM’s fi­nan­cial con­sumer alert list.

The task force was also seen in­spect­ing sev­eral out­lets at the mall, in­clud­ing MBI’s telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices out­let and the ser­vice cen­tre for MMspot, MBI’s shop­ping and barter sys­tem man­age­ment plat­form.

They left with four sealed suit­cases, two large card­board boxes, three reams of pa­per and two plas­tic bags with pa­per.

A sim­i­lar raid was con­ducted at MBI In­ter­na­tional out­lets in Am­pang.

The com­pany was al­legedly be­ing in­ves­ti­gated un­der the Di­rect Sell­ing and Anti-Pyra­mid Scheme Act 1993, Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Act 2013 and Com­pa­nies Act 2016.

An in­vestor, who wanted to be iden­ti­fied as Chong, said he was not con­cerned about the raid as he be­lieved the fi­nan­cial scheme was le­git­i­mate.

“This is a le­gi­t­a­mate fi­nan­cial scheme, where investors get re­turns and vir­tual money, with which we can use to shop for food or house­hold items.

“There is noth­ing wrong with this. There are more du­bi­ous schemes and crypto cur­rency schemes out there that should be in­ves­ti­gated in­stead,” he said at the mall.

It is learnt that mem­bers of the scheme get a sum of vir­tual coins af­ter in­vest­ing.

Af­ter a year, mem­bers can con­vert coins into points to spend in sev­eral ser­vices and re­tail es­tab­lish­ments un­der MBI by down­load­ing a mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion and us­ing it to make pay­ments.

In­vestor Andy Tan, who re­cruits mem­bers for a per­cent­age of the in­vest­ment amount, said the re­turns from the scheme were sub­stan­tial.

“The re­turns are very lu­cra­tive, even for sleep­ing mem­bers who in­vest USD$100 (RM427.70) and do not re­cruit mem­bers.

“That is why peo­ple are con­fi­dent of this scheme, not to men­tion it has been run­ning for a long time.”

Mean­while, a source from Bank Ne­gara told the New Straits

Times that they would not be is­su­ing any state­ment re­gard­ing the raid in the near fu­ture.

“The raid was by a team of reg­u­la­tors, in­clud­ing the Do­mes­tic Trade, Co­op­er­a­tives and Con­sumerism Min­istry. At this point, there are no up­dates.

“Once ev­ery­thing is set­tled, we will is­sue a state­ment.”

M Mall com­plex man­ager Teoh Jin Aik said busi­ness was as usual at the mall and that there was no panic be­tween the cus­tomers.

“It’s a rou­tine check only, they didn’t take away our com­put­ers and our bank ac­counts were not frozen. Noth­ing is af­fected. Ev­ery­thing is busi­ness as usual.

“Even the mem­bers are not con­cerned and there was no panic with­drawals.

“They also raided our head­quar­ters and in both raids, took only some files. All our sys­tems are work­ing fine,” he said.

PIC BY SHAHNAZ FAZLIE SHAHRIZAL

Fi­nan­cial scheme op­er­a­tor MBI Group In­ter­na­tional and its af­fil­i­ated busi­ness at a mall in Ge­orge Town op­er­at­ing as usual yes­ter­day.

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