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Former Asia Media Group Accountant’s Conviction Upheld, Daily Fine Overturned by Court of Appeal

Money LaunderingFormer Asia Media Group Accountant's Conviction Upheld, Daily Fine Overturned by Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal (COA) has upheld the conviction and jail sentence imposed by a Kuala Lumpur High Court in 2021 against a former group accountant of Asia Media Group Berhad, Ong Kar Kian (commonly known as Ken Ong). Ken Ong was found guilty of offenses under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA).

In its ruling on September 11, 2023, the COA affirmed the High Court’s decision to set aside the daily fine of RM1,500 per day that had been imposed on Ken Ong by the trial judge.

This case marked the first prosecution by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) against an individual who failed to comply with the SC’s written orders issued under section 32(2)(a) of the AMLATFPUAA.

The COA’s decision underscores the seriousness with which the court and the capital market regulator view non-compliance with the SC’s written orders under the AMLATFPUAA.

Ken Ong had been charged on three counts under section 32(8)(a) of the AMLATFPUAA on February 19, 2020, for failing to comply with written orders to assist in a money laundering investigation by appearing before an investigating officer of the SC. He was convicted of all three charges by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on December 10, 2020, and was sentenced to one day in jail and fined RM25,000 for each charge, with concurrent jail terms.

In addition to the fines related to the charges, Ken Ong had also been fined RM1,500 per day by the Sessions Court for failing to comply with the orders for a total of 673 days, amounting to RM1,009,500.

Ken Ong appealed to the High Court on December 14, 2020. While the High Court upheld the conviction and sentence for the three charges, it set aside the daily fine of RM1,009,500.

Ken Ong subsequently filed an appeal to the COA against the High Court’s decision, while the SC filed a cross-appeal seeking to reinstate the daily fine.

By FCCT Editorial Team

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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