Monetary enforcement authorities raid MBI International's Penang office (Updated)

29 May 2017 / 22:16 H.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang headquarters of digital currency provider MBI International was raided by authorities today.
A multi-agency team entered its office on the top floor of M Mall shopping centre in Jalan Datuk Keramat at about 11am and left at about 5.30pm.
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry officials were seen taking away several boxes and documents.
The team included officers from the ministry, Bank Negara Malaysia, Companies Commission of Malaysia and police.
The raid on MBI, which issues “Mcoin” digital currency usable for purchase of goods, came in the wake of enforcement action against money game company JJ Poor To Rich (JJPTR).
Throughout the seven hours the team was at MBI’s office, business went on normally for shoppers and traders at M Mall.
A trader, who declined to be identified, said although she was aware of what was going on, her outlet still serves those who want to purchase goods using Mcoin.
“One can use cash or credit card but most prefer to use digital currency as it is easier, as one does not have to carry so much cash around,” she said.
However, many declined to be interviewed when approached at the mall or at the atrium near the office, claiming they were not investors in the virtual currency scheme.
In September last year, theSun reported that Mcoin was becoming a hot investment as many people were attracted to its high yields.
Investors obtain the digital currency by subscribing to various packages ranging from US$100 to US$15,000 (RM427 to RM64,140).
Mcoin, purportedly the pioneer in digital currency in Malaysia, is especially popular in Penang, on the back of wide acceptance of “Mpoints” in the city.
Mpoints has been around for four to five years and is undertaken through MFace International Sdn Bhd, a unit of MBI.
Investors start by buying a package of Mcoins that later grow as the coins are “split” to increase the number of coins in circulation.
However, at point-of-sale with the coins in hand, only 55% will be realised in the form of cash while 30% is allocated for “coin buyback”, 5% for Mpoint and the balance for company service charges.
This creates more Mcoins in circulation to ensure its sustainability.
In addition to cash returns, Mcoin investors can also redeem points earned to purchase products and services from its “flagship store” in M Mall.
The redemption can also be made for “big-ticket items” such as properties and cars.
In response to SunBiz queries, Ivory Properties and Hyundai Malaysia clarified that they have no links to Mcoin or the MBI Group.
“We do not have a partnership with MBI, but it is hard to control if the dealers do this on their own,” a Hyundai spokeman said.
Ivory Properties also denied involvement.
However, as recently as last Thursday, the sales gallery at the mall confirmed that it still accepts MPoints as payment for up to 20% of the value of The Wave development at Jalan Dato’ Keramat in Penang.
Both MBI and MFace were put under Bank Negara’s Financial Consumer Alert List a week ago for “unlicenced activities undertaken”, immediately following the collapse of many money game schemes.

thesundaily_my Sentifi Top 10 talked about stocks