Despite denials by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his cohort of Ministers and publicity minions, revelations about Najib’s involvement in the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal continues unabated.
In fact, it would be appropriate to say that as far as revelation about Najib’s involvement in the 1MDB scandal – it doesn’t rain, it pours.
Reuters have reported that it has been informed by a FBI spokesperson that the U.S. Government is reviewing Goldman Sachs’ business relationship with Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund as part of a broader, wide-ranging investigation into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), an FBI spokesperson told Reuters yesterday.
Reuters reported that US law enforcement sources are “aware of Goldman’s possible involvement” in investments with 1MDB, but the bureau has “yet to determine if the matter will become the focus of any investigation into the 1MDB scandal.”
Reuters said the review into Goldman’s ties with 1MDB marks the latest development in a wide-ranging global investigation across three continents into possible corruption and money-laundering.
It reported that an FBI squad which specialises in “international kleptocracy” is leading the bureau’s inquiries.
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on Wednesday on FBI’s review into Goldman Sachs and its connections to 1MDB has reported another instalment of its investigative journalism on Najib’s involvement with 1MDB, with its latest story headlined: “Malaysia’s Najib Played Key Role at Troubled 1MDB Investment Fund”.
Wall Street Journal reported that In early 2013 at the glitzy World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Najib approached Goldman Sachs with an urgent assignment, to help 1MDB raise US$3 billion quickly and quietly.
The money was raised but 1MDB has become the centre of a political scandal that has engulfed Najib, his government and the nation and has accumulated debts exceeding RM50 billion – according to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in his last speech as Deputy Prime Minister to the Cheras UMNO Division on July 26.
Furthermore, it has created dubious history for Malaysia, as 1MDB has become the subject of a raft of local and international investigations.
“Among other things, he (Najib) authorized several of its investments, according to documents that form part of Malaysia’s official investigation of the fund.
“He played a leading role in raising billions of dollars in financing for the fund, people familiar with the matter said, and Mr. Najib’s cabinet approved the $3 billion bond deal he enlisted Goldman to arrange in early 2013. That deal included a fee to the bank of nearly $300 million, said people close to the bank, far above the $1 million to several million typical if a bank doesn’t have to take on the risk involved in getting it done fast.
“Mr. Najib personally ordered the removal of the 1MDB fund’s auditors when they wouldn’t sign off on its books, the government investigation found. He authorized the fund to make investments of millions of dollars although some board members had raised concerns about them, documents in the auditor general report show.
“Malaysian investigators, the Journal reported in July, have traced deposits of almost $700 million into the prime minister’s alleged personal accounts via agencies, banks and companies linked to 1MDB. The original source of the funds was unclear, and the government investigation didn’t detail what happened to the money that allegedly went into Mr. Najib’s accounts.”
With this background of frequent revelations about Najib’s involvement in the 1MDB scandal, the statement by the 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda on Wednesday that 1MDB was “no longer under investigation” is a bare-faced lie when 1MDB is breaking records as the most investigated company in Malaysian history, both in the country and internationally.
What is shocking is 1MDB adopting this stance just before Parliament’s reconvening on Monday.
Is this indication that “stonewalling” is going to be the Prime Minister’s strategy in Parliament, claiming that 1MDB is “no longer under investigation” and that there is nothing for the Prime Minister to answer in Parliament?