IPG Mediabrands and GroupM named in MACC forfeiture suit

IPG Mediabrands and GroupM (Mediaedge:cia) are among the companies and individuals named in the 41 civil forfeiture suits recently filed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). According to multiple media reports including The Star, The Edge and New Straits Times, the suits are to recover RM270 million which was reportedly misappropriated from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

GroupM declined to comment on A+M‘s queries. A+M has reached out to IPG Mediabrands for comment. According to a list published by The Edge, IPG Mediabrands accounts for RM2,560,851 of misappropriated funds, while GroupM accounts for RM4,631,602. The 41 respondents included in the suit comprise 12 companies, four political parties, five foundations, four non-governmental organisations and seven private individuals.

Quoting MACC’s chief commissioner Latheefa Koya, media reports said the civil forfeiture suit was filed under section 56 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001. The suit orders those involved to relinquish monies and properties which were “dispersed or misused” from 1MDB.

According to the Malay Mail, UMNO was the largest recipient of the dispersed 1MDB money, receiving more than RM200 million in “multiple separate transactions at state and division levels”. Currently, MACC has received approximately RM2 million of the 1MDB funds so far from the respondents involved, media reports said quoting Latheefa. MACC is allowing the individuals to voluntarily return the money to prevent further prosecution, media reports said.

She added that it is taking a “pragmatic approach” with the suit and has prioritised the recovery of the funds. Media reports also added that the accounts of the respondents will be frozen once the applications have been received. Latheefa also said that the suit will only focus on local entities as MACC does not have jurisdiction under foreign parties, which will be “left to other authorities”, The Edge reported.

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