Malaysia starts crackdown on investment scam sites

Malaysian authorities had cracked down on illegal Internet-based investment schemes, blocking several web sites and raiding the offices of one firm on suspicion of money laundering, an AFP report said.

The AFP report, quoting Malaysia's central Bank Negara, said police and financial investigators conducted joint raids of several offices of AB Fund, an unlicensed firm that runs investment websites and

Authorities confiscated documents, cash and computer equipment, the bank said without elaborating.

'Bank Negara is investigating AB Fund for suspected illegal deposit taking and money laundering activities,' it said in a statement.

The AFP report added that Malaysia's Securities Commission had blocked six sites, including the two run by AB Fund, and would continue to track other such sites promoting illegal investment activities.

Those found guilty of illegal deposit taking face jail sentences of up to 10 years or a fine of 10 million ringgit ($2.9 million), or both, the AFP report said.

A person convicted of money laundering faces a five million ringgit ($1.4 million) fine or jail for up to five years, or both, it said.

The Securities Commission had received nearly 700 enquiries on Internet investment schemes this month alone, and that some members of the public said they had lost large sums of money through them, the report further said.