Australian cops conduct raids over Mara scandal
Published:  Jun 25, 2015 2:24 AM
Updated: 12:18 PM

The Australian federal police is reported to be conducting raids in Melbourne over alleged property purchases linked to Malaysian politicians.

Australian-based daily The Age today reported authorities raided a home in Vermont South, Melbourne this morning and seized computers and files to aid in their investigation.

In addition, the report said several other properties are similarly targeted by police across the city.

The raid is part of their Operation Carambola to investigate a scheme allegedly “involving Malaysians using multimillion-dollar Australian properties to launder funds and return ‘kickbacks’ to Asia,” read the report.

The scheme allegedly involves Mara , and has elicited calls for its chairperson Annuar Musa ( photo ) to be sacked .

According to The Age there is significant political interest in Australia over alleged corruption links in foreign property purchases in the country, but the raid is the first time the police had launched a full-blown operation.

'Kickbacks for politically-linked'

The raid followed Australian media reports two days earlier claiming that Mara had purchased student flats in Caulfield, Melbourne, in 2013 at an inflated price of A$22.5 million (RM65 million), up from the market price of A$17.8 million (RM51.5 million).

The excess A$4.75 million (RM13.7 million) was then laundered out of Australia and was allegedly paid as bribes in Malaysia.

"The Malaysian firms that received the alleged kickbacks are closely linked to a senior figure at the Malaysian government investment agency, Mara.

"Another figure involved is a senior Malaysian official and former politician with close links to a Malaysian cabinet minister," said The Age in its earlier article.

Following the report, Mara chairperson Annuar Musa said he has no knowledge of any kickbacks or that the property was purchased at an inflated price.

As for the chairperson of Mara’s subsidiary Mara Inc, Mohammad Lan Allani who was implicated in the deal, Annuar said his fate will be decided soon.

"That will be decided by the Mara management soon.

"Mara Inc has seven days to write us a report and in two weeks, the Mara council will convene for a special meeting," Annuar told a press conference yesterday.

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