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Mara To Address Melbourne Property Deal Allegations Tomorrow

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PETALING JAYA: Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) will hold a press conference on Wednesday to address allegations of corruption with regard to a property deal in Melbourne, Australia.

“Mara will hold an official press conference tomorrow,” Mara chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa (pic) told The Star Online in an SMS on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, sources have declined to comment on the issue raised in Australian daily The Age, saying that it was currently under investigation and that Mara would be making an official statement on the matter.

The daily had reported that Malaysians linked to Mara overpaid developers of Dudley International House by A$4.75mil (RM13.8mil) for a five-storey apartment block in the city in 2013.

The asking price was A$22.5mil (RM65.3mil).

In the article published on Tuesday, The Age reported that corporate records had revealed that firms which issued sham invoices were “closely linked to several powerful Malaysian figures, including a top Mara official”.

“The liquidation proceedings lodged in the Victorian Supreme Court after John Bond and Pitcher Partners’ intervention provide further evidence that the A$4.75mil was paid as bribes,” wrote The Age.

It quoted Dudley International House developer Chris Dimitriou who, when questioned on allegations of kickbacks in court, replied: “To the best of my knowledge, that A$4.8mil went to Malaysian parties”.

The article also quoted another developer, Peter Mills who told The Age that he was not told that the deal involved elements of corruption, and if he had been told, he would not have gone along with it.

The report further alleged that “Malaysian officials from Mara have also used other shelf companies in Singapore, which is also regarded as a tax haven, to purchase properties in Queens Street and Exhibition Street in Melbourne’s Central Business District for around A$40mil (RM115mil)”.

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