Archive for category Corruption

Najib should not take Malaysians for fools or simpletons in declaring that 1MDB not directly involved in DOJ law suits as without 1MDB there would be no DOJ legal action for forfeiture of over US$1 billion MDB-linked assets in United States

I am most shocked that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said after the UMNO Supreme Council meeting this evening that 1MDB is not directly involved in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) report, which is probably a a justification for no government or official response to the DOJ legal suits for forfeiture of over US$1 billion assets in United States which the American authorities alleged had been stolen, misappropriated, defrauded or diverted from 1MDB as a result of global embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption crimes.

Najib said the DPJ civil suits did not contain any information or views from the Malaysian government, Attorney-General’s Chambers or 1MDB itself.
He added that “only those specifically named in the report are mentioned in the report” and that 1MDB is not directly involved in the report.
Najib cannot be more wrong.

Najib should not take Malaysians for fools or simpletons in declaring that 1MDB is not directly involved in DOJ law suits as without 1MDB there would be no DOJ legal action for forfeiture of over US$1 billion MDB-linked assets in United States.

In fact, without 1MDB, the DOJ 136-page legal suits would have no legs to stand on and would immediately collapse.

“1MDB” is strewn all over the 136-page report, and in the first 20 pages, there are over 130 references.

How then can Najib say that 1MDB is not directly involved in the DOJ report? Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB: The inside story of the world’s biggest financial scandal

by Randeep Ramesh
Guardian
Thursday 28 July 2016

How a jailed former banker and a lone British journalist broke a story that shook the world

On 22 June 2015, Xavier Justo, a 48-year-old retired Swiss banker, walked towards the front door of his brand new boutique hotel on Koh Samui, a tropical Thai island. He had spent the past three years building the luxurious white-stone complex of chalets and apartments overlooking the shimmering sea and was almost ready to open for business. All he needed was a licence.

Justo had arrived in Thailand four years earlier, having fled the drab world of finance in London. In 2011, he and his girlfriend Laura toured the country on a motorbike and, two years later, they got married on a secluded beach. The couple eventually settled down in Koh Samui, a tourist hotspot, just an hour’s flight south of Bangkok. After trying out a couple of entrepreneurial ventures, Justo eventually decided that he would go into the hotel business. He bought a plot with an imposing house and began building: adding a gym, villas and a tennis court.

That June afternoon, he was expecting a visit from the tourism authorities to sign off on the paperwork. Instead, a squad of armed Thai police burst through the unlocked door, bundling Justo to the ground. The officers tied their plastic cuffs so tightly around Justo’s wrists that he bled on the dark tiled floor. The police quickly moved into his office, ripping out the computers and emptying the filing cabinets. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will Najib deny he is “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” or will he admit he is being referred to in DOJ legal suits and sue the US Attorney-General Loretta for defamation?

The identity of “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” in the 136-page US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal suits for the forfeiture of over US$1 billion of assets in United States stolen, embezzled or defrauded from 1MDB and the people of Malaysia still await official confirmation.

Although the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has not been named personally in the DOJ legal suits, it is no exaggeration to say that the identity of “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” has received remarkable concurrence whether locally or internationally – that it could only refer to Najib and nobody else.

Will Najib deny he is “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” or will he admit he is being referred to in DOJ legal suits and sue the US Attorney-General Loretta for defamation? Read the rest of this entry »

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US Lawsuit Against Malaysia’s 1MDB: Who is ‘Official 1’?

By Mong Palatino
The Diplomat
July 29, 2016

The clues point to only one person.

The United States Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against some individuals accused of using an investment firm owned by the Malaysian government to steal more than $1 billion.

The lawsuit also mentioned a certain “Malaysian Official 1,” prompting many to ask if it refers to Prime Minister Najib Razak since he has control over the 1Malaysian Development Berhad (1MDB) investment firm and his stepson is one of the accused.

The lawsuit aims to recover some 17 assets in the United States, which have been allegedly acquired through 1MDB funds.

U.S. officials said the lawsuit is the “largest single action ever brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.” They vowed to return the funds to the Malaysian people. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Guardian view on Malaysian politics: a scandal meriting the world’s attention

Editorial
Guardian
28 July 2016

Investigations into the 1MDB development fund and a new security law are both cause for concern

Malaysia’s new security law, due to come into force on Monday, would be alarming at any time. Its sweeping powers permit authorities to declare national security areas which are off-limits to protests, where individuals and premises can be searched without a warrant, and where killings by security forces need not result in formal inquests. Changes to the country’s criminal code, undermining the rights of suspects, are similarly concerning. Human rights groups warn that existing laws, including the colonial-era Sedition Act – which Prime Minister Najib Razak once vowed to repeal – have been used to detain and muzzle critics. The country’s police chief recently warned that protests by electoral reform group Bersih would be permitted only if participants avoided calling for Mr Najib’s resignation.

The government says the National Security Council Act is needed to protect the public from a mounting global terrorism threat. It is striking, however, that it becomes law as the prime minister faces growing pressure and planned protests over the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB development fund scandal, which has snowballed since emerging a year ago. Even his erstwhile patron, former premier Mahathir Mohamad, has joined forces with the opposition in an attempt to oust him. Read the rest of this entry »

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Apandi should explain why the Attorney-General’s Chambers sought to rebut only 17 of the references to “MALAYSIA OFFICIAL 1” in the US DOJ suits to forfeit over US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in United States and not to all 36 references?

Yesterday, I asked the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali to explain why the 17-point Q&A on the Malaysian Attorney-General’s Chambers website on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal suits for forfeiture of over US$1 billion assets in the United States which had been stolen, embezzled or defrauded from 1MDB and the people of Malaysia had been taken down after it was uploaded on Monday.

A detailed search has found that the 17-point Q&A, though not displayed on its main AGC portal page, is still available on the AGC website at:

http://www.agc.gov.my/agcportal/uploads/files/Publications/Press/MalaysianOfficial1(Q%26A).pdf

Although the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is not named in the DOJ suits, a person referred to “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” is mentioned 36 times – a person who is identified as the Prime Minister.

The AGC’s 17-point Q&A as good as acknowledged that “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” is Najib, and what Apandi should explain is why the Attorney-General’s Chambers sought to rebut only 17 of the references to “MALAYSIA OFFICIAL 1” in the US DOJ suits and not to all the 36 references. Read the rest of this entry »

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Apandi should explain why the 17-point Q&A on the DOJ suit which acknowledged that “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” is Prime Minister Najib was taken down after it was uploaded on AG Chambers’ Portal on Monday

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali should explain why the 17-point Q&A on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal suits for forfeiture of over US$1 billion assets in the United States which had been stolen, embezzled or defrauded from 1MDB and the people of Malaysia was taken down after it was uploaded onto the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ Internet Portal on Monday.

Is this because the 17-point Q&A acknowledged that “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” mentioned 34 times in the 136-page 513-paragraph DOJ legal suits is the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak although Najib was not named in the suits?

Najib said after the DOJ filed its action under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative (KARI) 2010 on Wednesday that the government takes the DOJ’s allegations seriously, and that “whoever is named should take responsibility and clear their names, and ensure that the people’s money are not abused”.

As Najib is not, and cannot deny that he is the “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” mentioned 34 times in the DOJ suits, and which was as good as acknowledged by the 17-point Q&A uploaded on the AG Chambers’ website on Monday, would he act on his own advice to “take responsibility” and clear his name “to ensure that the people’s money are not abused”? Read the rest of this entry »

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Goldman Sachs Is Sued on Ties to Malaysia’s Prime Minister

By NATHANIEL POPPER
New York Times
JULY 26, 2016

A private equity firm is suing Goldman Sachs, accusing it in court documents filed on Tuesday of improperly trying to curry favor with the scandal-plagued prime minister of Malaysia.

The firm, Primus Pacific Partners, said Goldman provided bad advice to one of its clients to help the financial fortunes of the Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak.

The prime minister and people close to him have been previously accused by American authorities of embezzling billions of dollars from a Malaysian state investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Grand larceny in 1MDB’

by Tommy Thomas
Malaysiakini
26.7.2016

COMMENT The might of the most powerful nation in the world has been brought to bear to investigate, uncover and institute legal proceedings to forfeit assets purchased through money stolen from proceeds of bonds sales by 1MDB.

The combined efforts of three US agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), with the assistance of law enforcement agencies in other countries, have produced the most complete, holistic picture of the great fraud perpetrated by Jho Low and his co-conspirators to defraud the people of Malaysia of billions of ringgit ultimately belonging to them.

The 136-page, 513-paragraph ‘Verified Complaint for Forfeiture in Rem’ is a tour de force. The people of Malaysia, suffering under a state of powerlessness and helplessness, owe an immeasurable debt to the sterling work carried out by truly independent institutions in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Won’t Interfere With Foreign 1MDB Legal Action

By YANTOULTRA NGUI
Wall Street Journal
July 26, 2016

Government won’t protect citizens, senior government official says

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—The Malaysian government won’t protect citizens from legal action taken outside the country stemming from the scandal surrounding state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., a senior government official said Tuesday.

Johari Abdul Ghani, who is second in command in the Finance Ministry under Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also finance minister, said that the 1MDB scandal served as a “very expensive lesson’’ for the Southeast Asian country.

“As far as the government of Malaysia is concerned, any individuals that basically have committed any offense in any countries outside Malaysia, the Malaysian government will not protect them,” Mr. Johari told reporters. “We want them to face the due legal process. That is the commitment of the government.” Read the rest of this entry »

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AG’s Chambers had acknowledged “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” is PM Najib in its Q&A today on its Internet portal on the DOJ suit, but it has failed to rebut DOJ case that US$681 million in Najib’s personal account was from 1MDB through Tanore account and not from any Arab royalty

One year ago on 25th July 2015, Kuala Lumpur was awash with rumours that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak was about to be charged in court for corruption arising from 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” twin mega scandals.

I found such rumours quite incredulous as how the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak with his intelligence networks could be unaware of such rampant grapevine talk and was doing nothing about the situation.

But three days later, “The Empire Struck Back”, starting with the then Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail, who was told early in the morning of Tuesday, July 28, 2015 when he went to his office that he had been sacked, followed by the sacking of the then Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Senior Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, and a series of other actions to clamp or close down investigations into the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion (which later turned out to be RM4.2 billion) donation mega scandals – like the dissolution of the high-level Special Task Force on 1MDB; the derailment of PAC investigations into 1MDB; the arrest, immediate transfer and intimidation of top officials of the national investigative and enforcement agencies in the country like the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Police, Bank Negara and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Malay Shame and Tragedy That Is 1MDB

by Bakri Musa
26.7.2016

Imagine had Prime Minister Najib Razak responded differently to the US Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture lawsuit and said instead, “I have instructed my Foreign Minister to seek clarification to determine who this “Malaysian Official 1” so we could investigate him. I have also directed the Attorney General to review the evidence in the DOJ complaint.”

As for 1MDB, imagine if its spokesman had responded, “We view with deep concern allegations that assets meant for our company, a public trust, had been corruptly diverted. We seek clarification on who 1MDB Officials 1 and 2 are to make sure that they are no longer in our employ. We will review our policies to ensure that such pilferages as alleged by DOJ if they did occur will not recur. Additionally, we are engaging legal counsel to protect our interests in the American trial.”

Instead, what Malaysians and the world heard last Wednesday were irrelevant and meaningless statements to the effect that neither Najib nor 1MDB are the defendants in the suit. True and obvious, needing no response or clarification. The defendants are the owners of those seized assets which are alleged to have been acquired with funds corruptly siphoned from 1MDB, a GLC of which Najib is the Chairman.

The responses from Najib, his ministers, and 1MDB only brought shame to themselves, to Malays, and to Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thanks to Najib, Malaysia has overnight become a kleptocracy and one of the most globally corrupt nations!

Malaysia has scaled a new global height in the past four days.

Thanks to Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Malaysia has achieved a new status, becoming overnight a kleptocracy and one of the most globally corrupt nations when the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed proceedings under the US Kleptocracy Assets Recovery Initiative 2010 (KARI) to seize and confiscate over US$1 billion of assets in the United States which had been stolen, embezzled or defrauded from the people of Malaysia through the national sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB.

“Kleptocracy” has been defined as rule by a thief or thieves.

When did Malaysians ever aspire the nation to become a “kleptocracy”? Read the rest of this entry »

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Give Shabery Cheek the benefit of the doubt for making such an embarrassing statement – let him read the 136-page DOJ suit to confiscate over US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets in US and declare whether he would say the same thing

Let us give the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, who is former university lecturer, the benefit of the doubt that he had neither the time nor opportunity to read the US Department of Justice (DOJ)’s 136-page civil suits filed four days ago under the US Kleptocracy Assets Recovery Initiative 2010 to confiscate over US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets in the United States as to make such a “irresponsible”, “outrageous”, “desperate” and “embarrassing” statement (terms rightly used by PKR central committee member Latheefa Koya) that the DOJ legal suits were a “normal matter”.

Let Shabery read and digest what are in the DOJ’s 136-page legal suits for civil forfeiture against assets allegedly bought with money looted from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB.

The DOJ said that more than US$3.5 billion (RM14.2 billion) was misappropriated from 1MDB but the forfeiture action targeted about US1 billion in assets located in the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland which include mansions and penthouses, a US$35 million executive jet and artwork.

The DOJ said the assets are “traceable to an international conspiracy to launder money misappropriated from 1MDB.”

Let Shabery read the DOJ’s legal suits and then declare whether he would stand by what he had said, that US DOJ’s civil forfeiture actions seeking to impound assets acquired from funds allegedly embezzled from government investment arm 1MDB is nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to the Malaysian government. Read the rest of this entry »

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What is most shocking is the total lack of shock of Najib and Cabinet Ministers to the US DOJ’s horrendous 136-page legal suit under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative (KARI) exposing the host of theft, misappropriation and embezzlement of tens of billions of ringgit of Malaysian public funds

In about a month’s time, we will be celebrating the 59th National Day and 53rd Malaysia Day anniversaries, but the last three days had been the most shameful, humiliating and mortifying period in the six decades of the nation’s history for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or political affiliation..

Never before had Malaysia been condemned and crucified in the global society as a thoroughly corrupt and decadent country, as when the US Attorney-General Loretta E Lynch, told an international audience through Internet livestreaming of her press conference in United States that the American authorities are trying to recover for the Malaysian people billions of ringgit stolen from them by corrupt officials meant “to grow the Malaysian economy and support the Malaysian people”.

Referring to the billions of ringgit that were “stolen, laundered through the American financial institutions and used to enrich a few officials and their associates”, Loretta said “Corrupt officials around the world should make no mistake that we will be relentless in our efforts to deny them the proceeds of their crimes.”

The 136-page US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal suit under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is a “tale of infamy and horror” about the multiple failures of democratic good governance and key national institutions in Malaysia – not just the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, Parliament but also institutions like the Police, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Bank Negara, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Judiciary – that such mammoth and monstrous global white-collar crimes could take place under their watch.

What I also find most shocking in the past three days over the DOJ legal suit to recover more than US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States is the total lack of shock of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his Cabinet Ministers and government politicians to the US DOJ’s horrendous 136-page legal suit under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative (KARI) exposing the litany of theft, misappropriation and embezzlement of tens of billions of ringgit of Malaysian public funds. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia has been betrayed by Prime Minister Najib Razak

Dr. Azeem Ibrahim
Alarabiya.net
22 July 2016

I have argued time and again that the greatest threat to the Muslim world is not the West, but rather, corruption and incompetence in administration in the Muslim countries themselves.

To this argument there were a number of crucial pieces of evidence. First of all, there is a clear inverse correlation between corruption and economic development not just in the Middle East, but globally. Secondly, Muslim countries are among the most corrupt countries in the world, and this maps well to the problems we know well from the region.

In this sense, the abundance of natural resources has served to mask much of the problem, as per capita wealth in the region comes out as much higher than it would have been for a given level of corruption, and that distorts the perception of societal problems in these countries.

For another, that abundance of wealth can be used to buy off the acquiescence of the population to an otherwise questionable regime, as is the case with the benefits that these states lavish upon their population, or alternatively, can be used to fund extensive repressive police and intelligence apparatuses to keep the population in check, as was the case in Saddam-era Iraq.

But there was also plenty of converse evidence, specifically states on the periphery of the Islamic world which did not conform the region’s reputation for corruption. Most notably, we had the examples of Turkey and of Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Real Problem? It’s Indonesia

By WILLIAM PESEK
Barron’s Asia
July 22, 2016

Malaysia’s complacency and drift under Najib Razak may see Indonesia zoom past it in the years ahead.

Najib Razak faces an international crisis. Not just with Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney-general, calling out official corruption in his Malaysia and seizing more than $1 billion in assets. And not just with investors frustrated with the complacency undermining his economy. The real problem for the scandal-plagued prime minister is Indonesia.

As Najib’s government circles the wagons to protect their man from international pressures, Indonesia’s newish leader, Joko Widodo, is welcoming them. It’s taken Widodo, who’s known as Jokowi, some time to find his reformist groove. But at the 641-day mark, there’s ample evidence that Jokowi is proving to be the anti-Najib in ways that could enrich Indonesians at Malaysians’ expense.

Admittedly, it seems odd to refer to Jokowi as “newish” one year and nine months into the job. But considering the fantastically-entrenched vested interests this political outsider is up against, and how close Indonesia was to failed statehood just 18 years ago, consolidating power and finding ones footing in Jakarta takes time. Jokowi is now rolling up his sleeves to address impediments to growth, and it’s a heartening sight.

It’s also quite a contrast with the disheartening state of play in Malaysia. Lynch didn’t mention Najib by name in her tantalizing Wednesday press conference (he’s a key U.S. ally in Asia). But it doesn’t take much imagination to connect the dots between Washington’s “Malaysian official 1” and the prime minister’s office (there’s already a #MalaysianOfficial1 hashtag on Twitter). By linking Najib to vast sums of money allegedly siphoned from state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., U.S. prosecutors ensured that Malaysia’s annus horribilis just got worse. Read the rest of this entry »

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Decision Time on Malaysia’s 1MDB

Wall Street Journal
OPINION REVIEW & OUTLOOK
July 21, 2016

Losses of billions of dollars will catch up with Najib Razak.

U.S. prosecutors on Wednesday linked Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to hundreds of millions of dollars they believe were stolen from the Malaysian state-owned investment fund 1MDB. The Justice Department filed a lawsuit to freeze more than $1 billion in assets from people connected to Mr. Najib, including his stepson Riza Aziz. The individuals named in the complaint allegedly used the money to buy real estate, artworks and other baubles of the jet set.

Mr. Najib denies all wrongdoing and spokesmen have dismissed critics as part of a conspiracy to overthrow an elected leader. Mr. Najib has previously said that $681 million that ended up in his personal accounts was a legal political donation from Saudi Arabia that was later mostly returned.

But Mr. Najib can’t escape responsibility if it is proved that national wealth held by 1MDB disappeared on his watch. He launched 1MDB in 2009, served as chairman of the advisory board, and oversaw it as Prime Minister and, concurrently, Finance Minister. The evidence of fraud connected to 1MDB from investigations in the U.S., Singapore, Switzerland and at least four other countries is damning. The U.S. Justice Department put the losses at $3.5 billion on Wednesday. The Swiss Attorney General’s office said earlier this year it suspects $4 billion was misappropriated. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Leader Under Pressure From U.S. Lawsuit Over 1MDB Assets

By JAKE MAXWELL WATTS in Singapore and YANTOULTRA NGUI and CELINE FERNANDEZ in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Wall Street Journal
July 21, 2016

Prime Minister Najib Razak faced fresh calls to resign Thursday after the U.S. moved to seize more than $1 billion of assets allegedly siphoned from a development fund he founded. But with elections likely years away, Malaysia’s well-entrenched leader looked set to easily weather the latest storm.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit Wednesday seeking to seize assets it said were part of “an international conspiracy to launder money’’ misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB.

Authorities in Singapore, Malaysia’s wealthy neighbor, followed on Thursday by saying they had seized bank accounts and placed restrictions on property transactions worth a combined 240 million Singapore dollars (US$178 million) as part of their own probe into 1MDB.

A request for comment from Mr. Najib’s office went unanswered on Thursday. Earlier, his office said it would fully cooperate with any lawful investigation in line with international protocols. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia fiasco undercuts Goldman’s standards push

By Una Galani
Breakingviews
Reuters

July 22, 2016

Malaysia’s sovereign fund scandal has exposed shortcomings in Goldman Sachs’ post-crisis overhaul of its business practices. Five years ago, the Wall Street firm led by Lloyd Blankfein went to great lengths to assure regulators, investors and clients that it was tightening up standards. But its dealings with the now disgraced 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) cast doubt on the depth of Goldman’s changes.

An attempt by the U.S. Department of Justice to seize assets bought with some of the $3.5 billion it says was stolen from 1MDB offer the clearest account yet of the bank’s deep relationship with the Malaysian fund. Though Goldman has not been accused of any wrongdoing, its name appears frequently in lawsuits that detail a complex web of fraudulent transactions over several years.

Back in 2009, Goldman helped set up the fund which counted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak as its top advisor. An excerpt of an email suggests that, from the very start, Goldman executives were concerned about the issue of transparency at the new fund and its reliance on borrowed money. By the time the bank started raising money for 1MDB in earnest three years later, corrupt officials had already sucked around $1 billion from the fund, the legal documents show.

Nevertheless, between 2012 and 2013 Goldman helped 1MDB raise $6.5 billion by issuing three bonds. The Justice Department suggests that around 40 percent of that money was siphoned off, and indicates that $681 million ultimately found its way into Najib’s personal bank account, though the prime minister is not directly named. Read the rest of this entry »

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