Australia: Ex Malaysian politician arrested over Australian property price rort

Malaysian authorities have arrested and charged a politician turned sovereign wealth fund chairman with bribery and money laundering over allegations he oversaw a scheme to inflate the price of Australian property purchases in return for kickbacks.

The charging of Dato Mohammad Lan Bin Allani by Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Commission was sparked by an investigation by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald into multimillion-dollar property acquisitions in Australia by a Malaysian government wealth fund set up to alleviate rural poverty.

The commission used evidence in a leaked draft investigation report by auditors Ernst and Young and which was prepared for the Malaysian government but only made public after reporters in Australia published its contents in September.

That document, along with offshore bank records also uncovered by the newspapers, revealed how Mr Allani and other serving and former Malaysian officials may have extracted bribes worth up to $23.5 million by laundering funds via a number of Australian property developments including a student accommodation block called Dudley House in the Melbourne suburb of Caulfield.

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