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Felda hotshots probed over London hotel deal

As published in Malay Mail today



By Haresh Deol
haresh@mmail.com.my

PETALING JAYA - The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is expected to haul up more Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) officers following the arrest of a decision maker over the purchase of a multi-million ringgit boutique hotel in London.

The high-ranking official was nabbed on Sunday and has been remanded until today. A middleman, in his 40s, allegedly linked to the deal, was arrested last week. His remand was extended by four days yesterday.

FIC, the investment arm of Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) acquired the four-star Park City Hotel for £60million (RM330 million). It was renamed Grand Plaza Hotel on Dec 15 last year.

Last May, Lavista Sdn Bhd and Pegang Impian Holdings Sdn Bhd, the major shareholders of Encorp Bhd, sold a 49.45 per cent stake in Encorp to FIC for RM239.72 million.

MACC special operations director Datuk Bahri Mohammad Zin confirmed the arrests.

Asked if MACC was probing other deals involving FIC, he said: “We are investigating all angles”.

Sources did not discount the possibility of MACC calling up FIC directors to help in investigations.

“The board of directors would be privy to such deals and as such they could be called up. There will be a mix of (FIC) officers ... both high and low-ranking. MACC will be making its move soon.”

FIC is chaired by Tan Sri Isa Abdul Samad. The directors are Datuk Nik Azman, Kota Tinggi MP Datuk Noor Ehsanuddin Mohd Harun Narrashid, Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, Datuk Omar Salim and its chief executive officer Zaid Abdul Jalil.

Incorporated on July 2, 2013, FIC has also invested in other properties and recently opened the first Malaysian restaurant in Jeddah.

Felda hogged the spotlight last year after the stock of its subsidiary Felda Global Ventures plummeted.

Zaid had then told a business daily: “We are aware of the stigma that people attach to Felda and in a way, it affects Felda and its engagements.

“The general perception the public has is that Felda is simply investing in a project and has no idea of what to do next.”

Efforts to contact Isa proved futile.

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