Leading Malaysian gambling company RGB International has been implicated in a political bribery scandal, with its managing director out on bail and a cloud forming over a number of company directors.
Bursa Malaysia-listed RGB, the nation’s leading electronic gaming machine (EGM) manufacturer and casino equipment supplier, said in a Tuesday (August 29) bourse filing that managing director Chuah Kim Seah has been released on bail by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Chuah is “giving his full cooperation with the investigation and the company wishes to highlight that the investigation had been largely focused on his private business related to slot clubs”, the filing said.
Rebutting a report on Sunday (August 27) from the Malay-language news portal Sabahkini2.com, the RGB filing said independent non-executive director and energy mogul Norazman Bin Hamidun “was not arrested by the MACC”.
Sabahkini2.com reported that the MACC arrested Chuah and “a number of board directors” of RGB over alleged distribution of RGB funds to the opposition Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition amid months of allegations of a nexus between illegal online gambling operations and senior political figures.
The Straits Times reported on August 24 that the Inland Revenue Board has frozen the bank accounts of PN leader and former home affairs minister Hamzah Zainudin as part of the wider MACC probe into high-level corruption.
However, the RGB filing made no mention of other local Malay-language reports that allege 14 gaming company suspects were arrested over the distribution of 6m to 7m ringgit ($1.3m to $1.5m) to politicians at the last general and state elections. Some 50 witnesses have allegedly been called to assist the MACC and the MACC has asked Interpol to assist in the pursuit of additional gaming company suspects travelling outside Malaysia, according to reports.
The RGB filing did not expand on the MACC’s allegations against Chuah, stating instead that “RGB's involvement in this investigation is solely related to the sales of machines to Malaysia's slot clubs”.
In a filing on Monday, the company’s first acknowledgement of the scandal, RGB said it “had not and will not condone any forms of ‘political funding’”, and that “the company’s directors are … offering their full cooperation to [the MACC] investigation”, but “have no link to any politician in the country”.
The company’s wholly-owned subsidiary RGB Sdn. Bhd. “only does outright sale of gaming machines and its [sic] accessories and has no involvement or ownership in Malaysia’s slot clubs”, it said.
RGB did not respond today (September 1) to a VIXIO GamblingCompliance request for clarification on how many, if any, directors and other staff have been detained in the MACC investigation.