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Gold scam under probe

Bank Negaraand police are investigating a cheating case involving a local bank which lost RM75mil after it bought fake gold.

The scam was carried out recently by individuals through the Islamic pawn-broking (Ar-Rahnu) service provided by the bank at several of its branches.

A local daily reported the gold was discovered to be fake following an asset evaluation by the bank, which subsequently lodged five police reports.

Commercial Crimes Investigations Department Director Comm Datuk Syed Azizan Syed Ismail confirmed his department was investigating the case.

“We have received several reports on the matter,” he said when contacted yesterday.

It is also believed that a few individuals working in the bank have been detained to assist in investigations.

When contacted the bank declined to comment, while a spokesman for Bank Negara only revealed that the central bank was also carrying out investigations.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim said they were awaiting a full report from the bank.

Jeweller Steven Siow said that to the untrained eye, it would be difficult to differentiate real from fake gold.

However, he said, experienced jewellers were able to detect real from fake gold by its weight.

“Real gold is very heavy, while fake gold is usually a mix of metals coated with a thin layer of gold which is a lot lighter,” he said.

He added there are several devices which can test the purity of gold.

“People can also have their gold jewellery or bars tested at the Federation of Goldsmiths and Jewellers’ Association of Malaysia’s (Fedmas) offices or by Sirim,” he said.