Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How Mara lost RM60m in property deal Down Under

Published:     Modified:

EXCLUSIVE | Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) paid A$41.8 million (about RM138 million) for a US$2 shell company in the Caribbean which claimed to have an interest in a building in Melbourne, Australia.

Using an intricate web of paper transactions and companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), millions changed hands through a sale and purchase agreement, apparently with the assistance of people with vested interests in the deal.

It took two other deals to finalise the purchase, which was clouded by a maze of transactions executed through BVI companies by several Malaysians, including former Mara officials.

Malaysiakini and the Melbourne-based Fairfax Media have obtained explosive documents which paint a picture of deceit and fraud in which Mara’s interests have been seriously compromised, leaving the agency, set up to help poor Malays, to lose millions.

The documents reveal that:
  • Despite having no legal interest in the property, Scarlett Nominees Ltd entered into an agreement with Mara Incorporated (Mara Inc) to “sell” a BVI company, Thrushcross Land Holdings Ltd, which “purported to own the property” – UniLodge at 746, Swanston Street, Melbourne.
  • The agreement was signed on Aug 28, 2012. Within a week, Mara Inc paid 10 percent of the purchase price. By end of November 2012, Mara Inc had paid Scarlett a total of A$41.8 million for BVI shell company Thrushcross, which supposedly includes UniLodge.
  • On Jan 16, 2013, Thrushcross paid actual UniLodge owner HRSV Pty Ltd A$23.5 million for the 12-storey building and it was transferred to the BVI company.
  • The sale was transacted for A$23.5 million (about RM77.6 million), but Scarlett had five months earlier “sold” Thrushcross (which did not own UniLodge at that time) to Mara Inc for A$41.8 million (about RM138 million).
  • The A$41.8 million (about RM138 million) was based on a valuation by a Malaysian-based chartered surveyor and valuer, and included as an annexure to the Thrushcross sale and purchase agreement between Scarlett and Mara Inc.
  • Until the official transfer took place on Jan 16, 2013, at all material times the owner of the property was HRSV. This means Thrushcross had no legal ownership of the property prior to the January transfer. Neither did Scarlett.
  • While it is said that Thrushcross belongs to Mara Inc after its sale, the transfer of the land agreement with HRSV was signed by two Malaysians who had nothing to do with Mara Inc, who gave the same residential address in Melbourne.
  • On July 19, 2013, two then top officials of Mara Inc mortgaged the property to raise money to buy another property in Melbourne – Dudley House, which is now the subject of an investigation for fraud, corruption and money laundering.
Another dodgy building purchase by Mara in Melbourne


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