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MACC uncovers RM2 billion in tax evasion in major smuggling bust at KLIA; 34 Customs officers arrested

Publish date: Thu, 23 May 2024, 06:31 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, in a major operation lasting two weeks at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, uncovered tax evasion amounting to RM2 billion from the smuggling of contraband alcohol and tobacco.

The operation, codenamed Op Samba 2.0, led to the arrests of 34 Royal Malaysian Customs Department officers of various ranks.

Also detained in the operation between March 11 and 25 were 27 individuals and owners of companies.

Launched on March 11, the operation was a collaborative effort led by MACC's Anti-Money Laundering Divison (AML), together with the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) and Bank Negara Malaysia.

"This operation uncovered a massive loss of national revenue which, if left unchecked, could have had ongoing negative repercussions on our economy," MACC said in a statement.

Following the arrests, the AML Division of MACC seized mobile phones, laptops and eight luxury vehicles belonging to smuggling syndicates.

In a further crackdown, 231 bank accounts linked to individuals, companies and "mules" were frozen, with a total value of approximately RM18 million.

Legal proceedings have already begun with two Customs officers charged to date.

An additional 23 Customs officers are set to be prosecuted across six separate Session Courts nationwide by June 6.

They face charges under Section 17(a) of the MACC Act 2009 and Section 165 of the Penal Code.

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