AS the world counts down to the FIFA World Cup which kicks off in Russia on Thursday, local bookmaking syndicates are said to be busy securing bank accounts from individuals to be used to accept bets and launder money during the month-long tournament.
According to a report in Oriental Daily News today, account holders are getting paid as much as RM1,000 for each account loaned to these syndicates.
The report said these syndicates put up advertisements on social media early this month to attract people who are willing to loan their accounts for a fee.
Betting is known to be rampant during football tournaments, particularly the World Cup, and the stakes are in the tune of millions of ringgit a day for each syndicate, thus the reason for the need for a large number of bank accounts to launder this money.
A source told the daily as banks are closely monitoring the activities of their customers' accounts, these syndicates dare not use just one or a few bank accounts for their transactions to avoid arousing banks' suspicions and getting hauled up by Bank Negara Malaysia and the police.
"An average person's bank account may see transactions totalling several thousand ringgit a day. Even so, it is not every day that we bank in this amount or it will arouse suspicion.
"For this reason, each illegal gambling syndicate has 70 to 100 bank accounts at their disposal," said the source.
It is not the first time that these syndicates are borrowing bank accounts to launder money except in this case, they have doubled the "reward" from RM500 to RM1,000 for each account to make sure they can get the numbers in view of the huge amount of money expected to change hands.
Explaining the "deal" between the syndicates and account holders, the source said: "The syndicates will send their runners to collect the passbooks and ATM cards from the account holders. The account holders will be paid cash upfront if their accounts are found to be valid.
"The account holders get back their accounts at the end of the World Cup season."