Malaysia's tax authority raids companies owned by Mahathir's three sons

Officials from Malaysia's Inland Revenue Board raided the offices of companies owned by three sons of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (pictured).
Officials from Malaysia's Inland Revenue Board raided the offices of companies owned by three sons of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (pictured). PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has targeted companies owned by the three sons of former premier Mahathir Mohamad, with tax officials visiting their offices on Tuesday (Aug 8) and taking away some files.

Officials at the companies confirmed the raids to Malaysiakini news site. The raids were also reported by other online media outlets.

Kencana Capital, a venture capital firm owned by millionaire businessman Mokhzani Mahathir was raided on Tuesday, as was Crescent Capital, a venture firm headed by Mirzan Mahathir.

Optics company Opcom Holdings founded by politician Mukhriz Mahathir was also visited by the IRB with some files taken away.

The raids followed the recent emergence of Tun Dr Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years to 2003, as leader of the opposition pact Pakatan Harapan, with the general elections slated to be held within one year.

Dr Mahathir is spearheading attacks on Prime Minister Najib Razak over a scandal involving state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). Datuk Seri Najib was cleared by his attorney-general of any wrongdoing in the scandal.

The US Department of Justice said US$4.5 billion (S$6.1 billion) of 1MDB funds were siphoned out of Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir is under probe by a Royal Commission of Inquiry over the multi-billion ringgit losses incurred by the central bank through foreign exchange trading in the early 1990s.

A senior executive at Crescent Capital confirmed the IRB raid to Malaysiakini on Thursday.

"We were raided by eight to 10 IRB officers and some files were taken away," said the spokesman, who declined to be named.

Opcom also confirmed that it was raided on Tuesday but a spokesman declined to provide details.

Datuk Seri Mukhriz is deputy president of opposition Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia headed by his father.

Kencana Capital was raided on Tuesday, according to reports in the Malaysian media on Wednesday.

Datuk Mokhzani, listed by Forbes as Malaysia's 34th richest person with wealth of US$420 million, also has a stake in oil-equipment fabricator Kencana Petroleum.

Dr Mahathir had complained in the media in May that the taxman had been harrassing businessmen who were close to him after he joined the opposition.

Dr Mahathir's daughter, social activist Marina, confirmed the raids to Free Malaysia Today website, saying in a text message: "I don't think it's a coincidence. Or that they (IRB) are just doing their job."