Mystery withdrawals from bank accounts of MH370 passengers: Report

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Withdrawals of up to RM111,000 (S$43,419) have been detected from the bank accounts of four passengers of the doomed MH370 flight that vanished early March.

City Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Asst Comm Izany Abdul Ghany said the amount was withdrawn through a number of ATM transactions.

The bank concerned noticed the suspicious withdrawals on July 18.

Following an internal investigation, the bank lodged a police report on Aug 2.

"We are investigating the case as unauthorised access with intent to commit an offence," ACP Izany told reporters after the handing over of duties at the Cheras district police headquarters here on Wednesday.

The offence, under Section 4(1) of the Computer Crimes Act 1997, provides for a fine of up to RM150,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or both.

ACP Izany did not rule out the possibility of an inside job, adding that police were investigating the case from all angles.

"We are getting CCTV footage from the bank to identify the suspects involved," he said, adding that those with information on the matter should call the police hotline or report at the nearest police station.

It has been more than five months since MH370 went missing on March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and the flight was thought to have ended somewhere in the south Indian Ocean based on satellite data provided by Inmarsat.

At one time, a multi-national team, including the United States, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea, was looking for the plane, which went missing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board.

Last week, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said he would meet Australian leaders soon to sign a memorandum of understanding on the two countries' collaboration in their search for MH370.

Liow also gave his commitment that the search for MH370 would continue despite the recent tragedy of MH17, which was believed to have been shot down by missile over eastern Ukraine.

The search is ongoing as the Government is working on identifying the bodies of Malaysians killed in the MH17 incident, he reportedly said.

The Australian government, said Liow, had announced that it tendered out a section of the searchwork to a specialised team.

It was also reported that the search tender had been awarded to Dutch company Fugro.

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