The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has revealed that the Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, Tan Sri Zeti Aziz and her family has links to offshore bank accounts. They are a “master client” of several offshore entities as stated by the Swiss banking major UBS AG figures.
What is a Master Client?
- It refers to an intermediary or go-between, which helps a client to set up offshore entities.
- Offshore bank accounts are used by the wealthy to avoid taxes, protect assets from the reach of the law while maintaining a high level of secrecy.
Who Are The International Consortium Of Investigation Journalist (ICIJ)?
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is a global network of more than 190 investigative journalists in more than 65 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories.
What was the investigation’s outcome?
The UBS AG’s Singapore unit had helped Zeti Aziz’s family to set up the British Virgin Islands while the company named Portcullis TrustNet Group appeared on the record and register keeper of the family’s offshore companies.
Both held by members of Zeti Aziz’s family. Multiple layers of BVI shell companies were used.
In a deliberate attempt to cover up the true ownership of the companies, complex structures of registration and ownership of shell companies through nominees were used.
What does Portcullis TrustNet Group do and who had been their clients?
The Portcullis TrustNet Group describes itself as “an external service provider engaged by individuals who have planning needs”.
Client lists includes:
Aye Zaw Win
The son-in-law of General Ne Win a military strongman who ruled Burma for three decades.
Suharto’s cousin Sudwikatmono
After the fall of the Suhato in 1998 a number of his family and other rich Indonesians began appearing as TrustNet clients.
TrustNet helped the family set up the secret Wilshire International Trust and two offshore companies, Truease Ltd and Rodeo International.
Included in the trust’s beneficiaries is Sudwikatmono’s wife, his son Agus and what appears to be his three daughters according to documents.
Maria Imelda Marcos Manotoc
TrustNet set up the secret Sintra Trust in the BVI for her and her three sons. Imee, as she is known, is the oldest child of the former Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos who had stolen the country’s finances and resources and have his family and business associates benefit from it (Sounds like a certain Ex-Prime Minister and his cronies don’t you think?)
The Happy Family
How did they do it?
- UBS Singapore was used to set up companies registered under Porticulis TrustNet (BVI) Limited.
- An offshore entity known as Sharecorp Limited acted as nominee shareholder, as a nominee company that acted on behalf of the beneficial owner of an entity to provide the extra level of secrecy.
- Additional layers of proxy companies where by Sharecorp Limited was as a shareholder of a company called Excorp Limited which was listed as nominee shareholder of Mermeden Ltd which listed shareholding rights in the companies of Iron Rhapsody Limited.
How were they found?
The address linked to the companies included 23 Jalan Tunku Putra, Bukit Tunku 50480 Kuala Lumpur which was verified as the home of Zeti Aziz.
Is the cat coming out of the bag?
It’s a shock to find out that the very person who is responsible for maintaining monetary and financial system stability in Malaysia does not maintain her family’s wealth locally.
There’s a missing piece of the puzzle, why is there a need for her family to keep their assets abroad?
Governor Zeti had been entrusted to protect and to strengthen the foreign exchange market and Bank Negara Malaysia is the s ole authority in issuing the national currency and in managing the country’s international reserves.
With the existence of BVI accounts linked to the Zeti Aziz’s family brings up many questions on the fiscal stability of the Malaysia.
Declaration of Assets for Transparency
By explaining why funds are being kept in two BVI companies similarly to the BVI set up for Marocs and Suharto.
This is in order to maintain the credibility of Bank Negara Malaysia and its Governor, this is a critical moment and Zeti Aziz should reveal the full details of all the bank accounts linked to her family.
Failing to do so will only imply guilt.