Archive for category Corruption
By LOUISE STORY
New York Times
JULY 20, 2016
The United States government plans to move Wednesday to seize more than $1 billion in assets purchased with money that it believes was stolen from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund by people close to the country’s embattled prime minister.
Hidden in the United States in real estate, art and other luxury goods, the money was embezzled from the fund and moved around the world using secretive shell companies that masked its trail, a person familiar with the Justice Department plan said.
The $1 billion that prosecutors will allege was laundered in the United States is but a portion of the billions that international investigators suspect was siphoned off by high-level officials at the fund and their associates. The fund — called 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB — is overseen by the prime minister, Najib Razak, and has become a focus of rising popular discontent with Mr. Najib’s government amid several investigations at home and abroad.
The forfeiture complaint, to be issued by a unit known as the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, will be the largest such case brought by the Justice Department. The United States is among several governments, including Malaysia, Singapore and Switzerland, that have investigated the fund. Read the rest of this entry »
Did the Cabinet this morning discuss the breaking news of the WSJ report that the US authorities are set to seize assets linked to 1MDB “in the largest asset seizure in US history” in the war against global corruption?
Did the Cabinet this morning discuss the breaking news at about noon Malaysian time of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report that the US authorities are set to seize assets linked to 1MDB “in the largest asset seizure in US history” in the war against global corruption?
This seizure, under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, is expected to exceed the previous record of US$850 million in assets which the US authorities sought to seize from three telecom firms in an unrelated case.
Citing sources, WSJ said the Justice Department’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is expected to file civil lawsuits seeking to seize the assets as soon as Wednesday morning in the US.
It claimed the seizure will involve properties and other assets bought with “money allegedly misappropriated from the Malaysian fund.” Read the rest of this entry »
Shamim Adam and Laurence Arnold
July 20, 2016
Malaysia’s state-owned investment fund, 1MDB, was supposed to attract foreign investment. Instead, it has spurred criminal and regulatory investigations around the world that have cast an unflattering spotlight on financial deal-making, election spending and political patronage under Prime Minister Najib Razak. A Malaysian parliamentary committee identified at least $4.2 billion in irregular transactions.
1. What is 1MDB?
It’s a government investment company — full name, 1Malaysia Development Berhad — that took shape in 2009 under Najib, who went on to lead its advisory board. Its early initiatives included buying privately owned power plants and planning a new financial district in Kuala Lumpur. The fund proved better at borrowing — it accumulated $12 billion in debt — than at luring large-scale investment.
2. What’s the issue?
Investigators have been trying to trace whether money might have flowed through and around 1MDB and illegally into personal accounts. Some of the money is alleged to have ended up with Najib and his family. That includes $681 million that landed in the prime minister’s personal bank account, according to the Wall Street Journal. Najib has denied wrongdoing, and Malaysia’s attorney general said the $681 million was a donation from the Saudi Arabian royal family, much of which was returned. Another $700 million in 1MDB funds meant for a joint venture with a company known as PetroSaudi International was found to have landed in an unrelated offshore account. Read the rest of this entry »
By BRADLEY HOPE
Wall Street Journal
July 20, 2016
Authorities are expected to file civil lawsuits as soon as Wednesday
Federal prosecutors are poised to launch one of the largest asset seizures in U.S. history as they step up their investigation into billions of dollars siphoned away from a Malaysian government investment fund, according to people familiar with the matter.
Authorities are expected to file civil lawsuits as soon as Wednesday morning seeking to seize assets, which are expected to include properties and other assets purchased with money allegedly misappropriated from the Malaysian fund, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that people linked to the fund have invested millions of dollars in real estate and businesses in the U.S.
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s international corruption unit have also been conducting a wide-ranging criminal investigation into people and institutions connected with 1Malaysia Development Bhd., known as 1MDB, a sovereign-wealth fund set up by Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 to drive the country’s economy. Read the rest of this entry »
BY A. ANANTHALAKSHMI AND SAEED AZHAR
16th July 2016
Singapore’s central bank is scrutinizing several banks, including UBS (UBSG.S) and DBS Group Holdings (DBSM.SI), to see if they broke anti-money laundering rules in handling transactions linked to scandal-hit Malaysian state fund 1MDB, three people with knowledge of the matter said.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is looking at several aspects of the banks’ operations including whether they were diligent enough in knowing who their customers were and what the source of their funds was, and whether they were particularly careful in screening politically-exposed persons such as government officials, banking and legal sources aware of the review said.
The probe could lead to fines and other penalties if lapses are found, said the sources who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter. It is unclear which transactions by the banks are being examined.
Switzerland’s Falcon Private Bank and Coutts International, which is owned by Geneva-based Union Bancaire Privee, are also among the banks under review, they said.
UBS, Coutts, and DBS, which is Singapore’s top lender, all declined to comment. Read the rest of this entry »
Will the Police investigate criminal offences of embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption revealed in the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB although the AG’s Report is classified under the OSA?
I have been intrigued by the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar’s statement last Saturday that he had to verify from the Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang whether the revelations and exposes by the whistleblowing website Sarawak Report were genuine version of the AG’s Report.
This is because the Police should have a copy of the AG’s Report on the 1MDB.
It is over three months ago that the Police had announced a high-level team to probe the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report which is headed by none other than the IGP himself.
As the PAC report on the 1MDB is based on the AG’s Report on 1MDB, which in a most unprecedented parliamentary manoeuvre had been omitted as an appendix to the PAC Report when laid in Parliament on April 7, is the IGP implying that the Police did not have a copy of the AG’s Report on 1MDB despite over three months of investigation into the PAC Report because it is classified under the OSA?
What then is this high-level investigation which is being conducted by the police since the tabling of the PAC Report in Parliament in early April?
There seems to be only one farce after another from one national institution to another in the sorry saga of the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal! Read the rest of this entry »
What has happened to the high-level police probe into the PAC Report on 1MDB headed by IGP himself after more than three months?
The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Abu Khalid said last Saturday that the police will verify with the Auditor-General, Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, whether the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB purportedly leaked by the whistleblowing website Sarawak Report was the genuine document.
He said: “We’re also not sure if the document they published is genuine. So let me discuss with the auditor-general (Ambrin Buang) first to make sure whether the document is truly the auditor-general’s report, which has been classified as secret.”
Two questions are in order.
Firstly, as a week has passed, has Khalid verified from Ambrin whether the Auditor-General’s Report on the 1MDB was the genuine report, especially as Sarawak Report is publishing the full AG’s Report on its site.
Secondly, why didn’t the Police have a copy of the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB to allow the Police to establish on its own whether the AG’s Report on 1MDB purportedly leaked by Sarawak Report was genuine? Read the rest of this entry »
Najib administration should immediately declassify the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB not only to take the wind out of the sails of Sarawak Report but to show to the world that the Malaysian Prime Minister and government have nothing to hide about allegations of 1MDB multi-billion ringgit global embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should immediately declassify the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB not only to take the wind out of the sails of the whistleblowing site, Sarawak Report, but to show to the world that the Malaysian Prime Minister and government have nothing to hide about allegations of 1MDB multi-billion ringgit global embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption.
The option to keep the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB secret and classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) was never a tenable, sustainable or wise decision in this information age when information travels at the speed of light in a borderless world, especially when the decision went against all notions of good governance and principles of accountability and transparency, as well as public pledges by the Prime Minister, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Auditor-General himself that the AG’s Report would be made available to the public.
With the announcement by the Sarawak Report website that it is publishing in full the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB, after it had carried daily exposes of the AG’s Report on 1MDB in the past few days, Najib and the Malaysian Government are only inviting global scorn, contempt and humiliation if they continue to keep the AG’s Report under wraps in Malaysia under the OSA while it is available to the world as well as to Malaysians on the borderless Internet.
The Cabinet at its meeting yesterday should have discussed the subject of the declassification of the AG’s Report to defend Malaysia’s international reputation and image. Was this subject discussed by the Ministers yesterday? Read the rest of this entry »
Jeffrey Voegeli and Chanyaporn Chanjaroen
July 13, 2016
UBS Group AG flagged suspicious transactions linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd. to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, prompting an investigation of the accounts involved, a person familiar with the matter said.
The transactions were not immediately recognized by UBS as suspicious, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. At least $1.24 billion was transferred in 2014 from the account of a 1MDB subsidiary held at BSI SA in Lugano, Switzerland, to a UBS account in Singapore held by what appeared to be a unit of an Abu Dhabi company, U.K.-based investigative blog Sarawak Report said on July 11.
A spokeswoman for UBS declined to comment on the 1MDB transfers. When asked about the UBS case, the Singapore regulator referred to its previous statements made on March 31 and May 24. MAS has said it is conducting supervisory reviews of several financial institutions and bank accounts through which suspicious and unusual transactions have taken place, without identifying the parties involved. Read the rest of this entry »
Can Salleh give one instance to rebut the prevailing view that the publication of AG’s Report on 1MDB would pose no grave national security threat but would only confirm allegations of 1MDB’s global embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption?
The Multimedia and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak has continued to exaggerate and overstate the case for the unprecedented violation of world-wide parliamentary practice and convention when the Najib government refused to allow the Auditor-General’s Report on the 1MDB to be presented to Parliament as appendix to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report on 1MDB when the PAC Report was tabled in Parliament on the last day of the March/April meeting on April 7.
This despite three important backgrounds about the AG’s Report on 1MDB, viz:
• Firstly, It is an integral part of the PAC Report on 1MDB, without which the PAC Report would be incomplete;
• Secondly, that the PAC in its proceedings, relied almost entirely on the findings of the AG’s Report to present its deliberations, conclusions and recommendations; and
• thirdly, that PAC members from the government backbench and opposition concurred fully with the AG’s Report and never at any point of time, as recorded in the PAC Hansard, disagreed or rejected the findings.
Salleh Keruak cannot be more wrong: Sarawak Report has not misled public on 1MDB audit findings unless he is challenging the veracity and integrity of the AG’s findings
The Minister for Multimedia and Communications, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak cannot be more wrong when he accused the whistleblower site Sarawak Report of misleading the public on the auditor-general’s report on 1MDB unless he is also challenging the veracity and integrity of the Auditor-General’s findings.
It is significant that Salleh is not suggesting that Sarawak Report had presented a false, fraudulent or fictitious account of the AG’s Report on 1MDB.
This means that Salleh accepts that the Sarawak Report’s leaks are based on the true and genuine version of the AG’s Report on the 1MDB.
Can Salleh state what are the findings in the AG’s Report which he or the Najib administration is rejecting or is he impying that he does not question the veracity and integrity of the AG’s findings on 1MDB but does not want the AG’s Report to be made public and that it should continue to be classified under the Official Secrets Act because it would be too incriminating for the Prime Minister?
This is a most ludicrous and untenable position and shows that the Najib government has a lot of things to hide, and revives my question yesterday, whether the AG’s Report on 1MDB is kept under wraps because its publication would lead to Najib’s downfall as Prime Minister and UMNO President, as he would have lost all credibility and qualifications to continue as the country’s Prime Minister and President of UMNO? Read the rest of this entry »
Will the public release of the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB lead inevitably to Najib’s departure as Prime Minister and UMNO President?
The whistleblower site Sarawak Report today made a third consecutive-day revelation about the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB, which had been “conditionally” presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and was the basis of the PAC Report on 1MDB, but which was not presented to Parliament when the PAC Report on 1MDB was tabled in Parliament on April 7, on the ground that it was still classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
There have been two official responses so far to Sarawak Report’s exposes of the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB – the call for investigations by the Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak for breach of the OSA on the ridiculous ground that the AG’s Report on 1MDB is classified for the purpose of “national security” and the confirmation by the Deputy Home Minister and former PAC Chairman, Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamad that police are probing the Sarawak Report leak of the AG’s Report.
As DAP MP for PJ Utara and PAC Member, Tony Pua pointed out, the right thing to do at the moment is for the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB to be declassified and made public immediately, instead of allowing the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his administration to suffer the global attrition of what is left of its credibility and integrity not only among Malaysians but also internationally with the continued expose of the Auditor-General’s Report on the 1MDB about 1MDB’s global embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption.
The OSA classification of the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB went against the very spirit and intent of Najib’s directive in March 2015 to the Auditor-General to investigate 1MDB and submit its report to the PAC, and that the AG’s and PAC’s 1MDB Reports were meant to be final and conclusive measures in laying to rest all doubts about the 1MDB.
The very opposite has occurred – with the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB classified for fear that its publication would stir a hornets’ nest about 1MDB global embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption! Read the rest of this entry »
The two latest whistleblowing feats of Sarawak Report raised the disturbing question whether Malaysian Parliament is the first in the world to be denied opportunity and materials to decide whether its PAC had done a proper and competent job, viz the inquiry into a RM55 billion 1MDB scandal
The two latest whistleblowing feats of website Sarawak Report have raised the disturbing question whether the Malaysian Parliament is the first in the world to be denied the opportunity and materials to decide whether its Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had done a proper and competent job, in its inquiry into the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal.
Yesterday, Sarawak Report published some of the contents of what it claimed was the Auditor-General’s report on 1MDB, which was submitted to the PAC on March 4 and was the basis of the PAC Report on 1MDB presented to Parliament on April 7, but the AG’s Report on 1MDB was not tabled in Parliament on the ground that it was classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
Sarawak Report listed out the various concerns that auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang had pointed out in his report, especially with regard to several questionable fund transfers.
Sarawak Report said it will publish more details from the auditor-general’s report in the coming days.
Today, Sarawak Report made the revelation of another key document in the PAC probe on 1MDB, a letter from Bank Negara Malaysia to the PAC Chairman, Datuk Seri Hasan Arifin, related to its correspondence which among other things, confirmed Penang billionaire Jho Low was the sole owner of Good Star Limited, which had received US$1.03 billion from 1MDB. Read the rest of this entry »
South China Morning Post
06 July, 2016
A crackdown on opponents may strengthen his position, but is threatening the country’s racial and religious harmony and the possibility of clean and effective governance
A scandal that may well rank as Malaysia’s biggest has not dented the political fortunes of Prime Minister Najib Razak. His Barisan Nasional ruling coalition easily won two by-elections last month and a state poll in May, prompting a cabinet reshuffle and a fresh crackdown on critics. A prominent opposition figure has been arrested on graft charges and a new investigation launched against vocal detractor and former leader Mahathir Mohammad. The moves strengthen Najib’s position ahead of the 2018 national elections, but are also threatening the country’s racial and religious harmony and the possibility of clean and effective governance.
Lim Guan Eng, the chief minister of Penang and secretary-general of the Democratic Action Party, is the latest in a string of opponents to be accused of wrongdoing. Other critics, among them members of Najib’s United Malays National Organisation (Umno), the leading party in the coalition, have been removed for claiming the law has been selectively enforced over the money-laundering scandal involving the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad. The latest are Umno vice-president Shafie Apdal, who quit the party after being suspended, deputy president Muhyddin Yassin and Mahathir’s son, Mukhriz Mahathir, who were both sacked. Read the rest of this entry »
4th July 2016
COMMENT The plot thickens in the final lap towards GE14. If PAS is aiding Umno Baru to recapture Selangor, the arrest of the chief minister of Penang will be the precursor to the retaking of Penang by Umno Baru. These two moves are part of a bigger Umno Baru plan to regain control of Penang and Selangor, the most valuable jewels in the Malaysian crown, in GE14.
PAS’ role in the twin by-elections was crucial. Its hudud bill caused uproar and drove people towards the devil they know, Umno Baru. What choice did they have? PAS and hudud? The untested Amanah, a splinter group from PAS?
Umno Baru conceded that they would need more work to recapture Penang. So, why do you think that the Pahang mufti, Abdul Rahman Osman, stated that kafir harbi ought to be slain? Worse still, he equated DAP with kafir harbi, traditionally viewed as the people who oppose Islam.
The mufti’s remark was no coincidence. His motive was political, and delivering this message during Ramadan is sacrilegious. Gullible Muslims with closed minds had the message that DAP is kafir harbi etched in their heads for 10 days.
When the arrest warrant was issued for Lim Guan Eng, who is also the secretary-general of DAP, Umno Baru did not want the Muslims to support him; but they underestimated the rakyat’s intelligence.
The story about Lim Guan Eng is a story of triumph and tragedy. When he became chief minister, he dared to do the impossible and did away with the old Barisan Nasional work ethics. Read the rest of this entry »
1 Jul 2016
When Lim Guan Eng led Pakatan Rakyat to a resounding victory in Penang in 2008, he became the state’s chief minister (CM) and since then has impressed Penangites with his state government’s governance, policies and programmes, endearing himself to the locals. Pakatan Rakyat’s second election victory in 2013 further enhanced his image in the eyes of Penangites.
Lim Guan Eng became known, initially jokingly but subsequently quite credibly as a ‘tokong’ (deity) to his Penang political parish. In the eyes of most Penangites he could do no wrong. Thus he is politically invincible, iconic and idolised by Penangites. He has been seen as politically un-removable, with his favourable image and status quo as CM almost set in concrete.
His popularity is such that the Pakatan government (despite the absence of an original Pakatan partner but now foe) is seen as likely to hold office (majority rule) for several election terms.
The Gerakan Party and the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) in Penang have been in deep, very deep political trouble and I dare say, might have virtually given up hope for their respective futures in the face of such a formidable political god confronting their election prospects. To defeat Pakatan in Penang they must first defeat Lim Guan Eng. That would be a Sisyphean effort, but nonetheless he must be destroyed.
Well, how does one demolish such an iconic personality whose character, charisma and charm are so influential and deep set in the psyche of most Penangites? So what can his political opponents do with such an invincible foe, a virtual ‘tokong’? Let’s first take a wee detour into foreign history. Read the rest of this entry »
4th July 2016
It is widely believed now that a snap general election (GE) will be held, possibly as early as in November this year.
Word in the grapevine also is that, leading up to the GE, numerous disruptive strategies will be implemented, meant to distract the people’s attention from the real issues at hand, especially 1MDB.
And to relate everything to race and religion, and, of course, to cripple if not totally destroy an already divided opposition.
That idiotic, evil and dangerous accusation of ‘kafir harbi’ hurled at the DAP (and those who support them) is a clear example of the form of ethno-religious distraction that is, yet again, being employed to demonise the secular political party.
That – and the highly-questionable assertion that DAP is an ethnically-chauvinistic party – has been the stock ammunition of a regime that for many, for a long time, has been devoid of any worthwhile ideas.
Truth be told, if the DAP is a chauvinistic party, what then does that make Umno, the MCA and the MIC? Read the rest of this entry »
Instead of condemning the Pahang mufti for his dangerous classification of DAP and non-Muslims as “kafir harbi”, has Prime Minister’s Office invented a new Islamic term of “kafir harbi” who need not be slain?
Eighteen years ago, Lim Guan Eng was jailed, disqualified as MP for Kota Melaka, lost his parliamentary pensions and disenfranchised of his right to vote and stand for elective office for five years on release from Kajang Prison because he was defending the dignity and human rights of an underaged Malay girl.
Today, Lim Guan Eng faces another jail sentence, disqualification as Chief Minister of Penang and MP, loss of his Chief Minister and parliamentary pensions, and another period of civil enfranchisement because he wanted to introduce integrity and good governance in Penang, so that it could be a model state for the rest of Malaysia.
When Datuk Seri Najib Razak became Prime Minister of Malaysia in April 2009, he announced the 1Malaysia Transformation Plans, and the war against corruption was listed as one of the seven NKRAs (National Key Result Areas).
He announced “Big Results” as an important methodology to realise the National Transformation Plans.
Najib has succeeded beyond expectations in achieving “Big Results”, for his RM55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion “donation” twin mega scandals have reached global scale, catapulting the nation to its first global financial scandals in the world.
Something is very wrong with our national integrity system when seven separate countries are investigating into the 1MDB global multi-billion ringgit embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption but the RM55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion “donation” scandals are completely exonerated by the Attorney-General of the country. Read the rest of this entry »
Why is Johari playing the old record about resolving the 1MDB issue “transparently” when the Finance Minister himself is not prepared to make any such commitment or the 1MDB issue would be behind the country long ago?
Three days after his appointment as the new Second Finance Minister, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani said he has made 1MDB one of his priorities and pledged to resolve the state investment fund’s problems transparently.
He promised that the government would address the issues raised in the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) report on 1MDB and said: “What had been raised in PAC report – whatever or whoever that caused (problems in) 1MDB – definitely action will be taken.
It speaks volumes that the new Second Finance Minister should be making such an assurance about the PAC Report on 1MDB which was submitted to Parliament on April 7, which could only mean that the Finance Ministry has yet to take seriously the recommendations of the PAC report although it had been made public for nearly three months on a financial scandal which had catapulted Malaysia to world attention for global corruption?
This is most shocking especially when the PAC Report on 1MDB only revealed the “tip of the iceberg” of the financial chicanery and fraud and global embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption which is now the subject of investigation by seven other countries, but despite its weak and minor recommendations, the Finance Ministry has yet to take full action to implement the PAC recommendations after the passage of nearly three months.
This shows that the Finance Ministry does not have the political will or capability to resolve the RM55 billion 1MDB global scandal and ensure full accountability to who is responsible, for the simple reason that the person who must bear the greatest responsibility of the nation’s first global scandal is none other than the Finance Minister himself – who happens to be the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Read the rest of this entry »
By TK Chua
Free Malaysia Today
July 1, 2016
To be free from blemishes is not an option for any Opposition politician but an obligation to set the bar higher.
What is there to argue about on whether Lim Guan Eng should resign, take a leave of absence or continue doing his job as the chief minister of Penang?
To me there is really no answer to this argument. The choice really depends on which side of the political divide the individual in question is on – whether he is a supporter or adversary. This is what partisan politics has done to most of us. We have become blind and adamant in our struggle, regardless of the rights and wrongs involved.
This is the nature of our “legal system” – we cannot argue why someone is charged while others are not, even though they may have committed similar or even graver offences. We cannot argue why a person is charged even though the evidence is flimsy or probably ridiculous while others are let go even though the proof is substantial.
The system says the power to prosecute is discretionary. When it is discretionary, it could also mean arbitrary or selective. Seriously, which parts of these predicaments are we Malaysians still unable to understand? Read the rest of this entry »