Sons of top Malaysian politicians listed in Panama Papers

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s son Nazifuddin Najib caught flak after he was exposed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) as having an offshore account in the British Virgin Islands. But he is not the only Malaysian politician’s son on the list.

A check by Malaysiakini on the records from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca that was leaked to the ICIJ, showed the sons of Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin on the list as well.

Mossack Fonseca is a law firm that provides services for the setting up of entities in tax havens where privacy laws are so stringent that the accounts established are virtually untraceable.

Documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca are now referred to as the ‘Panama Papers’.

While offshore accounts raise questions of tax evasion, it does not necessarily indicate that illegal activities were committed using these accounts, nor is it illegal to help set up or own offshore firms.

Fakhri Yassin Mahiaddin

Muhyiddin’s eldest son Fakhri Yassin is linked to two offshore entities, both set up in the British Virgin Islands, Malaysiakini‘s checks showed.

Now head of property development firm Thriven, Fakhri set up Akila Way Limited BVI on March 11, 2004, when he was 28.

This was five years after he started work as an investment analyst at Hwang DBS – his first job after graduating with a business economics degree from the University of London.

Akila Way was set up through WBC Limited, a secretarial service firm based in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, which provides services, including addresses for setting up firms overseas.

Fakhri looked towards Panama again 10 years later, setting up Farsight Plan Investments Ltd on June 4, 2011.

There is little information on what he had used these two offshore firms for, or whether the companies are linked to Fakhri’s purchase of a majority stake in Mulpha Land for RM2 million, cash, in March 2015.

Mulpha Land was renamed Thriven, and the 40-year-old father of two was then appointed executive chairperson of the public-listed firm.

Fakhri owns 33.86 percent of Thriven and is director of Singapore-based Health Management International’s two Malaysian hospitals (Mahkota Medical Centre and Regency Specialist Hospital).

He is also director of Eden Inc Bhd, a public-listed catering firm founded by his father-in-law.

Malaysiakini contacted Fakhri for his comment, via Thriven and through his father’s press secretary. He did not respond.

Mirzan Mahathir

This is not the first time the eldest son of Mahathir has been reported as owning an offshore entity.

In 2013, Malaysiakini reported that an offshore leak revealed that Mirzan he owned Crescent Energy Ltd, Utara Capital Ltd and Al Saad Investments Pte Ltd, all based in Labuan.

In the Panama Papers, Mirzan, who was briefly a director of Philippines’ San Miguel Corp until April 2010, is listed as having registered a firm in the British Virgin Islands on March 8, 2002.

However, the firm – Sergio International Ltd – was deemed inactive on Nov 1, 2006, and struck off that year.

Mirzan, who holds an MBA from top business school Wharton, is now CEO of Crescent Capital, an investment holding and financial advisory company.

‘All very strange’

Malaysiakini contacted Mirzan via Crescent Capital, where someone who identified herself as a director in the company replied on his behalf.

“We can confirm definitely and categorically that Mirzan is not involved nor linked to Sergio International Ltd nor is the offshore entity related to the Crescent Group of Companies.

“I am interested to know how Mirzan was listed as a director/shareholder of Sergio when he did not give his consent,” the director said.

The director, who declined to be named, claimed that Crescent did not even know of Sergio’s existence until it was contacted by Malaysiakini.

However, she revealed that Mirzan informed her that the other two listed shareholders of Sergio did approach him between the years 2000 and 2002 to start a landscape business.

“But we do not have any records of this landscape business – whether it materialised or not, we do not know. All very strange,” she said.

Ahmad Zachry Anifah

The youngest of the four politicians’ sons whose names appeared in the Panama Papers is Ahmad Zachry, the son of Foreign Minister and Sabah Umno strongman Anifah Aman.

The 32-year-old set up Green Energy Management Solutions Ltd in the British Virgin Islands on May 13, 2010, with one Pang Su Yen of Kuala Lumpur.

Zachry’s address listed in the registration documents of the firm is a post office box in Beaufort, Sabah. The firm was shut down, due to inactivity, in 2013.

There is scant information about Zachry in the public domain, except that he is the owner of Powersport Events Sdn Bhd.

At 24, Zachry and his firm Powersport Events organised the powerboat race, the F2000 World Race in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Two years later, Zachry was mentioned as owning 0.9 percent of plastics manufacturer SLP Resources. His brother Ahmad Firdauss also owned a similar chunk. This is the same year the offshore firm was set up.

Malaysiakini attempted to contact Zachry through his father and Anifah’s press aide as well, but there has been no response.

-Malaysiakini

 


 

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