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Malaysian tycoon says Berjaya isn't involved in Perak firm linked to US cyber crime charges

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – One of Malaysia’s richest men, Mr Vincent Tan, said on Friday (Sept 18) that his conglomerate Berjaya Corp has no interest in SEA Gamer Mall , after two of the digital game store’s executives were arrested over cyber crime and money laundering allegations.

“I wish to clarify that the Berjaya Corporation Berhad Group of Companies has no interest whatsoever in SEAGM,” Tan Sri Tan said in a media statement. “My shareholding in SEAGM is entirely my personal investment which I may choose to divest when the time is right.”

Mr Tan, 68, has been a passive investor of SEA Gamer Mall for the past 13 years.

He was responding to some media reports that linked Berjaya and his daughters to SEA Gamer Mall.

He said that both his daughters, Ms Nerine Tan and Ms Chryseis Tan, were non-executive directors of SEA Gamer Mall but are no longer part of the company.

“At all times, my daughters had no involvement whatsoever in the running of the company. They were just my nominees on the board of SEAGM. Both Nerine and Chryseis have in fact already resigned before this incident,” Mr Tan added.

Berjaya Group’s myriad businesses include hotels and resorts, lottery management, property, food and beverage, financial services and consumer marketing.

Tycoon Tan is listed as the 23rd richest Malaysian in Forbes list, with net worth of US$750 million (S$1.02 billion) in April this year.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged two Malaysians with 23 counts of racketeering, conspiracy, identity theft, aggravated identity theft, access device fraud, money laundering, violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and falsely registering domain names.

The DOJ named SEA Gamer Mall founder and CEO Wong Ong Hua, 46, and a company partner and its chief product officer Ling Yang Ching, 32, in their statement.

They were alleged to have been involved with five other Chinese nationals who were part of a hacking group known as APT41.

The indictment alleged that Wong and Ling conducted the affairs of SEA Gamer Mall through a pattern of racketeering activity involving computer intrusion offences targeting the video game industry in the US, France, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

The duo are expected to face extradition proceedings.

Mr Tan in his statement said neither SEA Gamer Mall nor the two executives possessed the expertise or tools necessary for computer intrusions and hacking.

“The two SEAGM executives maintain their innocence and have appointed Malaysian legal counsel to represent them,” he said.

Mr Tan added that the management of the company has stepped up security measures to protect all customers’ personal data.

“I have been assured by the management that SEAGM will extend their full cooperation to the authorities and will continue with their mission to offer the safest and most secure services to all their millions of customers around the world,” he said.

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