Archive for category Corruption

The only way Arul can earn some sympathy from the Malaysian public is for him to come clean and own up to all the frauds in the biggest global scam in Malaysian history – including those committed before his time

The only way for Arul Kanda Kandasamy to earn some sympathy from the Malaysian public is for him to come clean to own up to all the frauds in the biggest global scam in Malaysian history – the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal – including those committed before his time.

It is just not good enough for the 1MDB president to canvas the possibilities of “massive fraud” and “collaboration from our side” over the US$3.5 billion worth of payments made to the “fake” Aabar BVI, when the international news media and whistle-blower website Sarawak Report had been detailing such “massive frauds” and “collaboration” for almost the past year.

Didn’t Arul take the most elementary measures to check on the veracity of these very detailed reports in the international media and Sarawak Report?

Even more important and relevant, why did he defend the integrity and good governance practices of 1MDB in these these cases of “massive frauds” and “collaboration”?

Nor can Arul exonerate himself from being complicit in Malaysia’s mega scam by just washing his hands and quitting his MDB post, protesting that the issues and scandals at the 1MDB scam were not his and “not what I signed up for”. Read the rest of this entry »

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How long can Jho Low disappear or go incognito?

Two days ago, I posed five questions to the “alpha and omega” of Malaysia’s first global financial scandal, Penang-born billionaire Jho Low, but as expected, no answer had been forthcoming.

In the past 48 hours, there had been more world-wide developments in Malaysia’s first global financial scandal, a salutary reminder that in the borderless world of 24/7 era of information, where information travels at the speed of light, it is no more possible for one country to sweep scandals under the carpet, especially when the financial scandal is of global reach and dimension like the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal.

In Malaysia, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak can try to impose a total clamp on all investigations and information about the 1MDB scandal, and even virtually ban discussion on the subject in the highest legislative and political chamber in the land, Parliament, but what is the purpose of such puny national efforts at censorship when the global community and some ten countries are conducting separate investigations related to the 1MDB scandal?

Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal has been described by the influential financial weekly, the Economist, as “an important test of how the world deals with cross-border corruption”, especially after the leaking of the Panama papers – after describing investigations within Malaysia as have been “timid or stymied”.

Such adverse international commentary on the 1MDB scandal a fortnight after the tabling of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report on 1MDB to Parliament vindicated what I had said right from the beginning – that Najib was wrong in regarding the PAC Report as a “comprehensive, conclusive and definitive report” on 1MDB when it was only the first step to reveal and unveil the full “horrors” of Malaysia’s first global financial scandal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Five questions I would like to ask Jho Low

I said at my 108th parliamentary constituency visit to Tanjong in Penang during my “Pantang Undur – Berani kerana Benar” nation-wide tour yesterday that Penang billionaire Jho Low is the “alpha and omega” of Malaysia’s first global financial scandal, that he probably knows more about the RM50 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion ‘donation’ twin mega scandals than the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and that he should return to Malaysia to appear before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) to testify in its unfinished inquiry into the 1MDB scandal.

There are five questions I would like Jho Low to elucidate to the PAC, Parliament and the Malaysian public, viz:

1. How much was spent in the special operations during the 13th General Elections to defeat DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, in the Penang State Assembly seat of Air Puteh, when money flowed like water in the constituency with free dinners, free-wheeling angpows, lucky draws and the whole paraphernalia of give-aways to the Air Puteh voters? Was it RM30 million or RM40 million? Did the money come from 1MDB through various bogus off-shore companies? Was he ever investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for corruption and money politics for the special operations in the Air Puteh state assembly seat campaign in the 2013 General Elections? Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Pays Bigger Premium in Debt Sale as 1MDB Delays Payment

Y-Sing Liau
Bloomberg
April 21, 2016

Malaysia paid a bigger premium to bondholders to own some of its new Islamic debt as a delayed interest payment by its troubled state investment fund weighed on demand.

The government priced $1 billion of 10-year notes at a wider spread than an offering a year ago. The sale, which also included $500 million of 30-year notes, drew $6.3 billion of orders, compared with $9 billion for an issuance of the same size in April 2015.

Malaysia warned investors that it faces as much as $4.5 billion in potential liabilities as government investment company 1Malaysia Development Bhd. remains locked in a dispute with Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund over debt obligations. The disagreement has led to a delay in an interest payment of $50 million on 1MDB bonds, hurting confidence in the sovereign just when the outlook for the oil exporter was improving amid a stabilization in crude and strength in the ringgit.

“The 1MDB risk might have spooked investors’ sentiment this round as it reemerged when the deal was about to close,” said Fakrizzaki Ghazali, a Kuala Lumpur-based strategist at RHB Research Institute Sdn. Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB gatecrashes party for new Malaysian sukuk

Jackie Horne
Finance Asia
Thursday, 21 April 2016

The Federation of Malaysia returned to the international bond markets on Wednesday with a $1.5 billion wakala sukuk whose success will almost certainly be overshadowed by the gathering storm engulfing state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The investment fund faces a cross-default across its $11 billion outstanding debt after one of its guarantors failed this Monday to make a $50 million interest payment on a $1.75 billion note that matures in 2022. It has now entered a grace period, which ends on April 25.

The event forced the government to issue a supplementary note to the preliminary offering circular for its sukuk on Tuesday. It said that non-payment will “constitute an event of default, which could result in acceleration of the 2022 notes and could result in cross-defaults or cross-acceleration of other indebtedness of 1MDB.”

The government added that it is liable for up to M$5.8 billion ($1.5 billion) in guarantees and a further $3 billion through a letter of support to 1MDB, but “does not believe any amounts it would be required to pay with respect of 1MDB’s indebtedness would be material to the government.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Razak critic urges 1MDB findings be publicised

The National
United Arab Emirates
April 20, 2016

A leading critic of Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak said corruption had reached levels never seen before in the country and urged foreign governments linked to the controversy surrounding a state investment fund to make their findings public.

1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Mr Razak, is under investigation in at least five countries including Switzerland and the US over allegations of money laundering and embezzlement.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, at one time the country’s longest-serving prime minister, said the investigations into the 1MDB fund were not just a problem for Malaysia.

“Being diplomatic isn’t going to help Malaysia or anyone else,” he said on the sidelines of the International Conference on Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Dubai yesterday. “They must recognise action needs to be taken and do what is necessary.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Let the four Tan Sris in the Special Task Force on 1MDB respond individually to Ali Rustam’s demand for an apology

Following increasing demands from UMNO quarters that former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir should apologise to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak over his “lie” about Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal in the wake of the Saudi Foreign Minister’s controversial remark on the donation, former Malacca Chief Minister Tan Sri Senator Ali Rustam has upped the ante and asked the Special Task Force on Najib’s RM50 billion and RM2.6 billion “donation” twin mega scandals to also apologise.

Utusan Malaysia yesterday reported Ali demanding that the Special Task Force on 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion donation should also apologise, as the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir had “cleared the air” on the money transferred to the prime minister’s personal bank accounts.
Ali said the formation of the task force created a negative perception, as people had the perception that the Prime Minister had committed wrongdoings.

Ali claimed that the allegations by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)” were just slander and had tarnished the good name of the Prime Minister and the nation.

Ali said: “This cannot recur. The task force must apologise.”

Ali is both wrong in claiming that the Saudi Foreign Minister had confirmed that the RM2.6 billion donation had come from Saudi Arabian government or that Wall Street Journal reports about the RM2.6 billion donation were just slander of Najib, or Najib would have filed defamation proceedings against WSJ to clear his name.

But he had re-opened a can of worms about the Special Task Force on Najib’s twin mega scandals in demanding an apology from the Special Task Force. Read the rest of this entry »

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Opaque fund faces default, uncertain future

Babu Das Augustine, Banking Editor
Gulf News, Abu Dhabi
April 20, 2016

Massive debt burden seen impacting bond pricing

Dubai: Scandal-hit Malaysian government-owned fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) began as Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) in 2008, a sovereign wealth fund aimed at ensuring economic development for the state of Terengganu. It was renamed 1Malaysia Development Berhad on January 2009 and made a federal sovereign fund in 2009.

The entity focuses on strategic development projects in the areas of energy, real estate, tourism and agribusiness. The 1MDB fund was founded to invest in new industries and attract foreign investment. While little of that investment occurred, the fund rolled up almost $13 billion (Dh47 billion) in debt, a big chunk from dollar-bond issuances, which today it is having trouble repaying.

While the company faced allegations of lack of transparency in its dealings there have been allegations that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his associates benefited from various international and domestic deals. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Defaults on Payment Deal: Trouble Abounds for Prime Minister

Economy Watch
APRIL 20, 2016

1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a strategic development company that the government of Malaysia owns, defaulted on a $1.1 billion loan from a United Arab Emirates wealth fund. Prime Minister Najib Razak founded 1MDB and has faced a string of corruption allegations surrounding the firm, and critics have called for his resignation. 1MDB is a developmental firm designed to commence infrastructure projects and attract foreign direct investment.

Razak’s development firm is embroiled in complex scandals regarding the outright looting of funds, and the prime minister’s problems are just the beginning as domestic and international investigations ensue.

Razak is directly tied to the scandals, with critics alleging that funds had been withdrawn from the firm and deposited into his account, and he did not do himself any favors by squashing domestic investigations and removing critics from his administration. Investigators allege that over $1 billion entered Razak’s personal accounts, and a great deal of those funds supposedly derived from 1MDB, notes The Wall Street Journal. Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB board outrage as US$700m goes to Good Star

Aidila Razak
Malaysiakini
10 Apr 2016

Slightly over half a year since its conception as Terengganu Investment Authority, the now Finance Ministry-owned 1MDB made its first deal – and blunder.

On Sep 30, 2009, it parted with a massive US$1 billion after less than two weeks of due diligence – a whopping US$700 million of which went to an unrelated firm, Jho Low-linked Good Star Limited.

On social media that day, Li Lin Seet, an associate of Low whom Sarawak Report linked to the deal, mentioned feeling “the earth moving”. Eleven days later Li was in Las Vegas, guzzling world’s expensive champagne, Cristal.

Over in Kuala Lumpur, however, the 1MDB board was in a less celebratory mood. Read the rest of this entry »

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PetroSaudi’s US$1 billion ruse

Aidila Razak
Malaysiakini
9 Apr 2016

Barely a month after the Finance Ministry took over Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA), a royal suitor came a-knocking.

On Aug 8, 2009, Prince Turki of Saudi Arabia sent a letter to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to introduce PetroSaudi International chief executive Tarek Obaid.

Tarek proposed a joint venture with the fund, now rebranded 1MDB. The deal – US$1 billion from 1MDB and some questionable “oil wells” in Argentina and Turkmenistan said to belong to PetroSaudi International.

But this was not Tarek’s first introduction to the fund. Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB’s ‘original sin’ and Jho Low

by Aidila Razak
Malaysiakini
8 Apr 2016

The story of 1MDB begins in 2009, in the oil-rich east coast state of Terengganu. Flushed with this black gold, the state decides to start a sovereign wealth fund so its riches could last for generations and more.

But what transpired between the formation of Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) on Feb 27, 2009 and the day it was rebranded 1MDB on July 31, 2009 is not the stuff of fairy tales.

Instead, it was a tale of boardroom tussles, menteri besar intervention, royal outrage and a special adviser named Jho Low.

Below is the chronology of events, according to the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) report on 1MDB tabled at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »

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I volunteer my services to Najib to nail the “lie” once and for all, provided he could prove to me that allegations that RM2.6 billion “donation” originated from 1MDB was a lie!

I tweeted “Najib’s strategists world’s dumbest unable to nail a lie!” when I read Malaysiakini’s report “PM’s aide: RM2.6b came from 1MDB a lie by Mahathir” last evening.

When Malaysiakini uploaded the Bernama report “Senators urge Mahathir to apologise to Najib”, it confirmed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has a most dim-witted team of strategists, lacking nimbleness of wit and mind or the ability to improvise on-the-run, but continuing to expect UMNO/BN Ministers, leaders and MPs to follow a script which had already been discredited and should have been chucked into the garbage can.

Najib may have among the world’s highest-paid professionals in his propaganda and psychological warfare team, but what could they produce when they are headed by loud-mouthed and low-IQ czars for strategic media communications? Read the rest of this entry »

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Cost of Insuring Malaysian Bonds Climbs on 1MDB Worries

by Jake Maxwell Watts
Wall Street Journal
April 19, 2016

The cost of insuring five-year Malaysian government bonds rose to $164.20 on Tuesday

SINGAPORE—The cost of insuring against losses on Malaysian government bonds rose Tuesday on concerns that the national government could be on the hook for billions of dollars of debt owed by state development fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

The state fund, which is the focus of corruption probes in at least seven countries, has almost $13 billion in debt it is struggling to repay. 1MDB has denied wrongdoing and says it is cooperating with investigations.

A dispute made public this week between 1MDB and the Abu Dhabi guarantor of some of its debt, International Petroleum Investment Company, has put the future of a debt-workout agreement in doubt and in turn has shaken investors who fear the Malaysian government may need to step in.

The cost of insuring five-year Malaysian government bonds rose to $164.20 on Tuesday, up from $160.18 at Monday’s close and 9.7% more expensive than at Friday’s close before the dispute became public. The bond prices themselves were little changed, with the five-year yield at 3.42% on Tuesday, from 3.41% a day earlier. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia faces bailout question after $1 billion spat with Abu Dhabi fund

By Saeed Azhar and Umesh Desai
Reuters
EuroNews
19/04/2016

(Reuters) – The Malaysian government on Tuesday was facing the prospect of having to bail out the scandal-tainted state fund 1MDB, after a $4.6 billion (£3.2 billion) debt deal with an Abu Dhabi sovereign fund collapsed this week.

The International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) said on Monday that 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) had failed to make a $1.1 billion payment, and so was terminating last June’s debt deal.

“The government wouldn’t want to risk having a default on its books, so if it came down to it, they would want to keep a clean record,” said Krystal Tan, a Singapore-based economist at research firm Capital Economics, talking about risk of a bailout for 1MDB.

Any government intervention would pile more pressure on Prime Minister Najib Razak, who founded 1MDB and is on its advisory board. He has faced calls to step down over allegations of graft and mismanagement at the fund.

“It’s (agreement with IPIC) failure not only now places 1MDB itself at risk, but now involves a bailout by the Ministry of Finance,” opposition leader Tony Pua said in a statement.

The Malaysian finance ministry is the sole shareholder of 1MDB. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia is big loser from Abu Dhabi fight

By Una Galani
Breakingviews
Reuters
April 19, 2016

Malaysia’s effort to contain the financial fallout from its wayward sovereign fund is unravelling. Scandal-hit 1Malaysia Development Berhad is embroiled in a scrap with a state-backed investor in Abu Dhabi over a $4.5 billion debt deal. The risk for the southeast Asian nation is that its finance ministry will have to bear the burden. That’s exactly the outcome the fund championed by Prime Minister Najib Razak has been trying to avoid.

To recap, 1MDB racked up massive debts on a string of questionable deals. After it ran into trouble, it negotiated a lifeline last year from International Petroleum Investment Company, which is backed by Abu Dhabi royal Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

IPIC agreed to lend 1MDB $1 billion and assume responsibility for bonds worth $3.5 billion. The quid pro quo was that IPIC would receive assets of equivalent value from the Malaysian fund by the end of June this year.

Now IPIC has missed an interest payment on 1MDB’s bonds. The details are sketchy, but the Gulf fund says it doesn’t have to honour the debt agreement because 1MDB hasn’t fulfilled its side of the deal.

In the end, both parties look foolish. After all, 1MDB’s financial woes owe much to alleged high-level corruption involving former officials on both sides. The fight looks set to end up in the courts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Graft denials come under strain in Malaysia fund scandal

Yahoo7 News
AFP
April 19, 2016

Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Malaysia’s prime minister and the company he founded, 1MDB, have weathered a year-long barrage of corruption allegations with nothing-to-see-here assurances, but a string of recent revelations is placing those denials under growing strain.

On Monday an Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund which was helping 1MDB recover from massive debts abruptly withdrew its safety net, declaring the Malaysian state-owned company in default on a $1.1 billion loan.

The move centres on suspicions that 1MDB — rather than repay the loan to the Abu Dhabi fund, International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) — instead diverted the money, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The dispute caps a string of recent revelations that have severely undermined claims by 1MDB — short for 1Malaysia Development Berhad — that its finances are in order and no graft occurred.

The scandal engulfing 1MDB and Prime Minister Najib Razak, who founded the company in 2009 to fund development projects, is staggering in its scale and complexity. Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB Expects Bondholders to Be Paid Amid Dispute With Partner

Shamim Adam
Bloomberg
April 19, 2016

Malaysia’s debt-ridden state investment fund, which is facing the risk of a bond default, said it expects an interest payment to be made as it enters the start of a five-day grace period. The ringgit extended gains.

1Malaysia Development Bhd. has a cash surplus of about $550 million, or 11 times the $50 million amount due on interest that was payable on April 18, President Arul Kanda said in a Bloomberg Television Malaysia interview on Tuesday. The company is in dispute with Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, which earlier agreed to pay interest on the bonds, and Kanda said he expects an “amicable resolution.” Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB dispute intensifies as Abu Dhabi ends relationship

Jeevan Vasagar in Singapore
Financial Times
April 18, 2016

The dispute between an Abu Dhabi sovereign fund and Malaysia’s troubled state fund 1MDB over more than $1bn in missing payments intensified on Monday when the emirates investment vehicle said its Malaysian counterpart was “in default” on an agreement between the two and terminated the deal.

The Gulf emirate’s International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) ended its relationship with its Southeast Asian counterpart in a filing to the London Stock Exchange on Monday.The Abu Dhabi fund said 1MDB and Malaysia’s ministry of finance were in default on the deal, including an obligation to pay $1.1bn plus interest, and that 1MDB continued to be bound by its commitments under the agreement.

The dispute relates to a pair of 1MDB bond issues in 2012, which were guaranteed by Ipic. The two funds entered into an agreement last year in which Ipic provided a $1bn cash bailout and agreed to make interest payments on the bonds. In return 1MDB agreed to transfer assets to Ipic.

Ipic was now considering options to remedy the alleged default, including referring the matter to the appropriate dispute resolution forum, it added in its regulatory filing. The move is the latest twist in an affair that has buffeted Malaysia’s government and prompted investigations in at least five countries including the US and Switzerland. Read the rest of this entry »

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Confidant of Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Had Central Role at Troubled 1MDB Fund

By TOM WRIGHT and BRADLEY HOPE
Wall Street Journal
April 18, 2016

Jho Low controlled hundreds of millions of dollars of money thanks to network of contacts, amassed riches himself

In March 2013, a young Malaysian financier sent a heads-up to an employee at a Kuala Lumpur bank that “681 American pies” would soon be arriving from overseas.

The sender, Jho Low, emphasized the need for secrecy, according to a transcript of BlackBerry instant messages reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The employee, he wrote, should tell the bank’s chief executive that “PM” didn’t want his name, address or identity-card number to appear on the transaction.

Within days, $681 million arrived in two transfers at AmBank Bhd. to be deposited in the personal account of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, according to documents seen by the Journal.

Global investigators believe those transfers represent a portion of the money diverted from a Malaysian state economic-development fund called 1MDB over several years, according to people familiar with probes in two countries. As they dig deeper, investigators have increased their estimates of siphoned funds to as much as $6 billion, a sharp increase from a few months ago, said a person familiar with one country’s probe. Read the rest of this entry »

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