KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 ― Mirzan Mahathir and Datuk Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin are among 1,500 Malaysians with offshore companies in Singapore and the British Virgin Islands, two locations popular as tax havens for the rich.
The names of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s son and the federal territories minister came up in leaked documents obtained by Washington-based International Confederation of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), according to a report in news portal Malaysiakini today.
Another name that cropped up in the report was Michael Chia, the man linked with Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman over money laundering allegations.
According to the report, the list of people owning these offshore firms include tycoons, parliamentarians, retired politicians and civil servants.
They also include members of royal families, as well as criminal kingpins.
The report stated that the leaked ICIJ files provide secret records of offshore holdings of people and companies in more than 170 countries and territories.
“The hoard of documents represents the biggest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever obtained by a media organisation. The total size of the files, measured in gigabytes, is more than 160 times larger than the leak of US State Department documents by WikiLeaks in 2010,” ICIJ was quoted as saying.
According to the leaked documents, Raja Nong Chik is a prominent shareholder and director of RZA International Corporation, a British Virgin Islands entity incorporated on August 21, 2007 via Singapore.
The company is a mirror of Malaysian entity Kumpulan RZA Sdn Bhd, a firm established in 1997 dealing in real estate and equities investment, the news portal reported.
The documents allegedly showed Raja Nong Chik set up the off-shore entity with his father, Raja Zainal Abidin Raja Tachik, a number of his sisters and brothers as well as other family members.
The minister told Malaysiakini that RZA International was set up by his father, who will turn 96 this year, for the purpose of holding legitimate offshore investments for the family.
Mirzan’s off-shore company is called Crescent Energy Limited, a Labuan off-shore company incorporated on December 16, 2003, originally named Mainline Limited and with an authorised share capital of US$12,000 (RM37,000), the news portal reported.
Another Labuan off-shore company, Utara Capital Limited, of which Mirzan was the sole shareholder and director, was incorporated on August 19, 1997, with an authorised share capital of US$15,000.
The third company, Al Sadd Investments Pte Ltd, was also a Labuan off-shore company. It was established on May 14, 2009, also with an authorised share capital of US$12,000. Mirzan was the sole shareholder and director of Al Sadd Investments.
Chia is listed as having three offshore companies where he acted either as director or shareholder.