Char­ity scam fa­ther gets five years’ jail

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FRONT PAGE - BY IAN MCIN­TYRE

BARCELONA: A fa­ther who caused an up­roar in Spain after he used his daugh­ter’s rare ill­ness to raise money f or mainly per­sonal use was sen­tenced to five years in jail, court of­fi­cials said on Wed­nes­day.

The case of the young Na­dia Nerea, who suf­fers from a po­ten­tially life-threat­en­ing ge­netic dis­or­der, moved the coun­try sev­eral years ago when her fa­ther Fer­nando Blanco went from one me­dia out­let to an­other to pub­li­cise her case.

Con­sid­ered a hero, Blanco, 53, had asked for donations to help pay for a pi­o­neer­ing op­er­a­tion in Hous­ton in the United States that could save her life.

But at the end of 2016, it emerged that of the 422,000 (about RM2 mil­lion) raised by his foun­da­tion since 2014, just 20,000 (RM95,000) was chan­nelled to his daugh­ter. The rest was used to rent homes, buy ve­hi­cles and lux­ury watches, or pay for ho­tel stays.

Doc­tors had sup­pos­edly told Blanco his daugh­ter would die from tri­choth­iodys­tro­phy, which in se­vere cases causes de­layed de­vel­op­ment, in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­ity, and re­cur­rent in­fec­tions that can lead to death at an early age. – AFP

GE­ORGE TOWN: The govern­ment is mulling new l aws t o l ook i nto un­ex­plained wealth and to seize “ex­tra­or­di­nary as­sets” owned by in­di­vid­u­als, es­pe­cially politi­cians. The At­tor­ney-General’s Cham­bers (AGC) is study­ing the United King­dom’s Un­ex­plained Wealth Or­der ( UWO), with the view of in­tro­duc­ing it in Malaysia.

Un­der the UK’s Crim­i­nal Fi­nances Act 2017, in­di­vid­u­als can be com­pelled to re­veal their sources of un­ex­plained wealth and the Na­tional Crime Agency (NCA) can seize the as­sets of those who fail to ac­count for them.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Lim Guan Eng said such a law would act as a de­ter­rent against plun­der­ing of pub­lic or pri­vate funds.

On the 1MDB scan­dal, Lim said the govern­ment wants to get its money back. “That is why the at­tor­ney-general is study­ing the UWO,”

Bar Coun­cil deputy pres­i­dent Datuk Ab­dul Fareed Ab­dul Gafoor wel­comed the move, say­ing some politi­cians had been liv­ing in the lap of lux­ury with ill-got­ten gains.

“In­her­i­tance is one thing, but gain­ing wealth through cor­rupt means is an­other,” he said.

The Fi­nan­cial Times had ear­lier re­ported a banker’s wife, Zamira Ha­jiyeva, 55, was the first per­son to be ques­tioned un­der the UWO after she spent £16 mil­lion (RM87.3 mil­lion) at Har­rods.

The NCA also wanted to know how she ac­cu­mu­lated the money to buy two UK prop­er­ties worth £22 mil­lion.

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