Malaysia freezes assets of Amalilio

Sandy Araneta - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Malaysian authorities have frozen the assets of Manuel Amalilio but no immediate plans were made to bring him back to the Philippines to face the thousands that he allegedly gypped in a pyramid scam.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday confirmed that the Malaysian authorities have frozen Amalilio’s assets in their country.

“(It is) one of the positive outcomes of the recent talks (and) engagement with Malaysian authorities, specifically Attorney General Tan Sri Gani Patail,” De Lima said in a text message to The STAR.

De Lima said the Philippine government was represented by Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar, and assisted by Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya during the talks.

After the meeting in Kuala Lumpur last Wednesday, the Malaysian attorney general, also the chairman of a task force that oversees the freezing of assets of suspected criminals in Malaysia, immediately ordered the freezing of Amalilio’s assets.

Among these are company shares, stocks, and land assets, De Lima said.

“We made a formal request for such freezing and other forms of assistance under the ASEAN MLAT (Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty),” she said.

De Lima said the Malaysian officials also agreed to have Amalilio extradited and brought to the Philippines even before the completion of his two-year sentence.

Amalilio, the head of Aman Futures Group that allegedly victimized some 15,000 people in a pyramiding scam, was sentenced in Malaysia for two years in prison for possessing a fake passport.

“The Philippines can avail itself of the extradition process even if we do not have an extradition process. And, in such process, we understand that Amalilio’s citizenship is not an issue and both sides can cooperate,” De Lima said.

De Lima added the Malaysian attorney general gave assurance that pending Amalilio’s final extradition or turnover to the Philippines, he will be kept in jail while both sides work out possible access by Philippine police and prosecutors to him.

Amalilio was set to board a plane to the Philippines with agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) before Malaysian authorities blocked his deportation last Jan. 25.

Amalilio is known in Malaysia as Mohammad Kamal Sa’ad, 47, a businessman.

He was arrested on Jan. 25 at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport with the fake passport under the name “Manuel Karingal Amalilio.”

The Malaysia’s Star reported Malaysia is not planning to extradite Amalilio soon.

The report quoted Attorney General Patail as saying that the Philippine embassy had requested for Mohammad Kamal’s extradition.

The report also said that Undersecretary Salazar had requested the Malaysian government to freeze Kamal’s assets, savings and investments and those owned by people related to him.

Patail, on the other hand, said there would be no extradition since Kamal is a Malaysian citizen holding a valid and active identification card, the report said.

However, the attorney general said authorities had been directed to check and freeze all financial records and assets belonging to Kamal and his associates.

The Malaysian attorney general has also received a formal request from the Philippines’ Department of Justice (DOJ) invoking the ASEAN Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, to hand Kamal over to authorities in the Philippines.

Patail said this request was being handled by the International Affairs Division of the Attorney General Chamber’s office.

Patail said he met last Wednesday at his office Salazar, Malaya, first secretary of the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia Maria Antonina Oblena, and embassy political attaché Joy Calip.

“During the meeting, Salazar requested that the suspect be extradited to the Philippines to face criminal charges and a freeze order on the assets, savings and investments owned by the suspect and persons related to him,” he said.

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