MBI members frustrated at investigation

Looi Sue-Chern

Enforcement officers carting away seized documents and evidence at the M Mall management office on Monday. – The Malaysian Insight pic, May 31, 2017.

YOU know you have money, but you can’t touch it. That is what an MBI International member said.

MBI, a huge electronic shares platform operator, is now being investigated by various authorities for allegedly operating without a direct sales license, promoting a pyramid scheme and money-laundering.

Earlier this afternoon, the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry announced that 91 accounts with RM177 million had been frozen for investigation.

“This is really frustrating,” said Simon, an investor who has US$8,000 (RM34,240) in eight accounts with MBI.

“You know you have money in there, but now you can’t do anything. Now I wonder where the ‘frozen’ MBI money will go,” he told The Malaysian Insight following news that federal authorities were probing the business.

Simon joined the scheme several years ago and had made his money several times over. The money he has yet to withdraw from the MBI scheme was generated from his earlier profits.

Although he would not be losing money overall, he said it was frustrating to know that his “future profits” might be as good as gone.

“Me and a few friends, who are also members, have made our money. But we were hoping to make more profit. Now, we are all hit with the bad news.

“One of my friends still have US$30,000 in three MBI accounts,” he said.

There was also some anger among MBI members against the media, another investor Jonathan, an engineer in his 30s, said.

He said he also felt annoyed over what was happening, adding that many members felt MBI was in trouble because the local Chinese newspapers had “stirred up” negative stories about the company in recent weeks.

“Almost everyday, there were stories about MBI in the Chinese papers… about it being illegal and what not. They were persistent.

“Why are they after MBI? There were no news about any police report against MBI. It is not like MBI lost investors’ money like what happened with JJPTR.

“Is all this because the election is coming? I don’t know, but I have been hearing that quite a lot recently,” he said.

Jonathan invested in the scheme several years ago like Simon, and had made almost US$30,000.

He said it would be difficult to imagine if the entire MBI business collapsed.

“This is a huge company with subsidiaries and assets everywhere. If MBI falls, and the M Mall closes, many businesses will be affected and jobs lost.

“If the worst happens, then the Chinese press have really done a ‘good thing’,” he said sarcastically.

MBI Group founder Tedy Teoh said the company was “sorting things out”, but declined to go into specifics.

“As I have said before, when the authorities want to investigate your company, you can only cooperate,” he said.

At M Mall this afternoon, business resumed as usual. Retailers were still taking the MBI O2O points as payment from MBI members.

Mall complex manager Teoh Jin Aik said there had been no disruption to their business.

“So far, nothing unusual. No complaints from members. Everything is as running like usual,” he said.

Reporters were unable to go into the mall management office to ask questions.

An employee, who answered the bell, said she did not get any instructions from higher up and could not give any updates.

“I don’t know anything, so there is nothing I can really tell you,” she said. – May 31, 2017.

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