Mahathir's sons: Our father is the real target in ongoing corruption probe

Mahathir's sons: Our father is the real target in ongoing corruption probe
The former Malaysian premier's sons claimed in a Bloomberg interview on March 23 that Mahathir is the real target of Malaysia's ongoing corruption probe.
PHOTO: Reuters file

Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohammad's two eldest?sons believe that their 98-year-old father is the real target of Malaysia's ongoing corruption probe.

Mirzan Mahathir, 65, and Mokhzani Mahathir, 63, are currently assisting in investigations by the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which started in January this year.

The sons told Bloomberg in an interview on?March 23 that they had been ordered to declare their assets dating back to 1981, the year their father?became premier.

In the?interview held at Kuala Lumpur, Mokhzani said: "My father is the primary suspect. We are witnesses to whatever it is that they are investigating."

The MACC has not provided the brothers with any details of the investigation into Dr Mahathir, said?Mokhzani.

"We did ask, 'What is the investigation on my father about?' and they were not able to furnish us with that information," he added.

"Can you imagine you are being asked to provide information to be used to prosecute your parent?"

Both Mokhzani and Mirzan are known to be active in the business world and are said to be?extremely wealthy,?reported Malaysian online news platform Malaysiakini.

The sons told Bloomberg that although they have received two extensions of the original February deadlines and are working with company secretaries and accountants to file the asset declarations requested by the MACC, it is a "near impossible task".

Explaining that he was still a student in Britain in 1981, Mokhzani said: "We can't remember exactly how things were back then."

He added that all records from that time were only physical and had not been digitalised, which slows the process down further.

Investigations ongoing since 2022

In a statement made in January this year, the MACC said?that it started an investigation in August 2022 against all related entities named in the Pandora Papers, as well as the Panama Papers.

The papers are part of investigations into offshore business records revealed by a journalism consortium.

In the Panama Papers, Mirzan was listed as having registered a British Virgin Islands firm named?Sergio International Ltd?in 2002 - but the firm was deemed inactive in 2006 and struck off, reported Malaysiakini.

When contacted, however, Mirzan's representative denied his involvement in Sergio International Ltd or the firm's relations with the Crescent Group of Companies.

Mirzan was reportedly the CEO of Crescent Capital, a holding and financial advisory company, at the time.

Former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin -?a close ally of Mahathir -?was also probed by the MACC for alleged corruption and money laundering in December last year.

The MACC confirmed that these investigations are being carried out under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing, and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001

MACC chief responds to claims

MACC chief Azam Baki said on March 26 that the commission will investigate claims made by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's sons that their father is the "primary target" in the graft-buster's investigation into their finances.

In a short response after being approached by Malaysian media, Azam said that he would have to refer to the "facts" before making any statement, reported Malaysiakini.

"Let me check the facts first, and then we will tell you (the media)," he said after attending the opening ceremony of the Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence?in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

ALSO READ: Mahathir to sue Malaysia PM Anwar for slander

bhavya.rawat@asiaone.com

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