Panama Papers: Malaysia PM Najib's son says no longer involved in firms implicated


PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The son of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has said he is no longer involved in the two companies implicated in the data leak dubbed Panama Papers.

"I held directorships in two companies based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) - Jay Marriot International and PCJ International Venture Limited. These companies were incorporated by the international law firm Mossack Fonseca," said Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin Najib.

However, he said that he had transferred all of his Jay Marriot shares to director Ch'ng Soon Sen's sister and resigned in 2011.

PCJ International was shut down a year after its formation in 2013 as there were no business transactions, he said in a Facebook post in response to questions about the extent of his involvement.

"No business transactions were made during the time of which I was involved in both the said companies," he said.

Mr Mohd Nazifuddin added that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) did not imply that any wrongdoings had occurred.

Panama Papers refer to an enormous leak of documents revealing world leaders and celebrities who stashed their money in offshore shell companies and tax shelters.

The leak from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca involves over 11.5 million documents, nearly 215,000 companies and 14,153 clients of the firm. It was obtained by German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and shared with other media outlets, including ICIJ.

The ICIJ on Monday reported that members of the Malaysian government and their families were among those who owned offshore firms in Singapore and the British Virgin Islands.

Meanwhile, two Cabinet ministers have brushed aside the matter.

Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz said there was no reason for the government to act against those named in the Panama Papers unless there was evidence of wrongdoing using offshore accounts.

"If people inform us that there was money laundering and all that, certainly we can take action," he told reporters on Tuesday.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said many of the people mentioned in the Panama Papers were doing business before they joined politics.

"We will see what happens. Even Lionel Messi is there, but it doesn't automatically implicate anybody in crime," he told reporters, referring to the Barcelona footballer.

The Nation newspaper in Thailand has reported that the country's Anti-Money Laundering Office would ask its counterpart in Panama for information on the involvement of Thais in possible tax evasion.

In Malaysia, the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) is the primary legislative framework on anti-money laundering. Bank Negara is the authority charged with implementation of the AMLA. The Securities Commission also has its guidelines on this.

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