By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 ― Putrajaya revealed today that businessman Michael Chia was never caught in Hong Kong holding large sums of Singapore currency as reported, in the latest twist to the saga over a RM40 million political donation for Sabah Umno.
“According to MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission), Chia was never arrested in Hong Kong... that is the MACC’s answer.
“And (Hong Kong’s) ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) never caught Michael Chia,” Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Nazri Aziz (picture) said when wrapping up committee stage debates on Budget 2013.
Nazri’s disclosure today comes more than a week after the matter was first reported and several days after his first answer on this case in Parliament.
It also disputes previous media reports on the matter, including the first exposé that was carried by whistleblower website Sarawak Report.
According to prior reports, Chia had been arrested at Hong Kong International Airport and charged with money laundering after attempting to smuggle S$16 million (RM40 million) back to Malaysia in 2008.
It was reported that Chia had at the time allegedly told Hong Kong authorities that the money belonged to Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman.
In April this year, Sarawak Report revealed documents allegedly from Hong Kong’s anti-graft agency, the ICAC, showing that a Sabah lawyer was holding some US$30 million in a Swiss bank account for Musa.
The report also claimed that a paper trail showed that millions in euros as well as US, Hong Kong and Singapore dollars had been channelled from several firms managed by the Hong Kong-based Chia to a number of British Virgin Islands companies and subsequently to the lawyer’s Swiss account.
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