Malaysian ex-minister Daim Zainuddin may spend five-years in prison


Former Malaysian finance minister Daim Zainuddin and his wife, Naimah Khalid, have been charged by Malaysian authorities for failing to disclose assets as part of an anti-corruption investigation. This investigation was triggered by revelations from the Pandora Papers, a leak of nearly 12 million records from offshore financial services providers in 2021. Daim Zainuddin, an 85-year-old businessman who served two terms as finance minister, denies any wrongdoing.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) initiated the investigation in 2023 following reports from Malaysiakini, a media partner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The probe revealed ties between Daim Zainuddin and several British Virgin Islands companies and trusts holding assets worth US$31 million. The MACC has also uncovered a Cayman Islands-registered trust worth US$52.5 million, listing Daim’s two youngest sons as beneficiaries.

Daim and his wife face charges for not declaring 71 assets, including luxury cars, real estate, and companies. If found guilty, Daim could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and fined.

Daim Zainuddin and Naimah Khalid have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are seeking a court order to dismiss them. Daim appeared in court in a wheelchair, citing health issues, and was granted bail.

The MACC is actively pursuing the case and aims to gather evidence, including from overseas. Last year, the agency seized a skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur and froze bank accounts belonging to the Daim family. The investigation is part of a broader government crackdown on corruption that has targeted former politicians and their families.

The MACC has expanded its inquiries to include individuals named in both the Pandora Papers and the Panama Papers. Mirzan Mahathir, the eldest son of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, has been asked to declare his assets dating back to 1981. Mirzan’s involvement with offshore companies was revealed in the Panama Papers and earlier investigations.

Mahathir Mohamad, a prominent political figure and Malaysia’s former Prime Minister has criticized the anti-corruption efforts, suggesting they are politically motivated. Despite his criticism, the MACC continues its investigation into individuals associated with offshore financial activities.

 The case against Daim Zainuddin underscores the Malaysian government’s commitment to combating corruption. As investigations continue and more individuals are implicated, the anti-corruption crackdown remains a significant aspect of Malaysia’s political landscape.


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