Archive for category Corruption

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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With the sudden RM14 billion 1MDB bailout crisis, time to have a new Prime Minister and a new Finance Minister to clean up the Augean Stables caused by Najib’s twin mega global scandals

The past fortnight had been a disastrous two weeks for the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his close ally Penang billionaire Jho Low’s brainchild, the 1MDB Malaysia sovereign fund but it has been downright nightmarish for Malaysia in confirming the country as among the world’s top scandal-ridden nations.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report on 1MDB, meant to be the centerpiece of a media scam by Najib’s strategists to create the myth that it had exonerated Najib from any wrongdoing in the RM50 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion “donation” twin mega scandals proved to be a dud.

In a matter of four days, the media scam was thoroughly exposed and discredited when firstly, detailed reading showed that the PAC Report had not made any such conclusion or finding to exonerate Najib, and secondly, when the Abu Dhabi-state owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) in a statement to London Stock Exchange on 11th April stated that neither it nor or its subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS had any links or received US$3.5 billion which 1MDB had paid to the phoney British Virgin Islands-incorporated Aabar Investments PJS Limited (Aabar BVI) .

This was followed by the desperate attempt to salvage the situation by enlisting the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir to declare that the billions of ringgit deposited into Najib’s personal banking accounts were “a genuine donation” from Saudi Arabia “with nothing expected in return”. Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB in default, declares Gulf fund

Leslie Lopez Regional Correspondent In Kuala Lumpur
Straits Times
19th April 2016

$4.7b bond raised by 1MDB thrown into limbo as KL-Abu Dhabi row escalates

The dispute between Abu Dhabi’s second-largest wealth fund and Malaysia’s state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad escalated yesterday after the Arab emirate group declared Kuala Lumpur’s fund was in default of a multibillion-dollar financial assistance arrangement.

The declaration by Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company, or IPIC, against 1MDB immediately throws into limbo a complex US$3.5 billion (S$4.7 billion) international bond the Malaysian fund raised in May 2012 with full, iron-clad guarantees from the tiny oil-rich emirate’s business entities.

And because of the protracted nature of the disagreement, financial executives tracking developments in the bitter feud say that international investors, who subscribed to the bonds that were arranged by international banking group Goldman Sachs, may have to wait a long time before they are compensated. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s 1MDB defaults on US$1b loan, says Abu Dhabi fund

19 Apr 2016
Channel News Asia

An Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth entity said on Monday that the Malaysian state fund 1MDB had defaulted on US$1.1 billion it owed in a new blow to the scandal-tainted company.

KUALA LUMPUR: An Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth entity said on Monday (Apr 18) that the Malaysian state fund 1MDB had defaulted on US$1.1 billion it owed in a new blow to the scandal-tainted company.

The announcement, made in a filing to the London Stock Exchange by Abu Dhabi-based International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC), raised the spectre of Malaysian market turmoil if 1MDB is unable to dig out from under its huge debts.

1MDB, or 1Malaysia Development Berhad, was founded by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 but is now teetering on the verge of default amid multiple investigations around the world into allegations that billions were looted from it.

IPIC had agreed in 2012 to guarantee US$3.5 billion in 1MDB bonds, lend it more than a billion dollars, and make interest payments on the bonds.

In its statement, IPIC said 1MDB and its owner, Malaysia’s Finance Ministry, had failed to pay back more than US$1.1 billion they owed. “As a result, 1MDB and MOF are in default,” IPIC said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s 1MDB at Risk of Default as Partner Ends Bond Support

Shamim Adam
Bloomberg
April 18, 2016

Malaysia’s troubled state investment company faces the threat of default after a dispute with an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund leaves bondholders waiting for an interest payment due Monday. 1MDB’s dollar bonds slumped.

Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co. said its obligations of financial support to 1Malaysia Development Bhd. have ended after the company and Malaysia’s finance ministry failed to pay it more than $1 billion, according to a stock exchange filing. IPIC, which agreed last year to pay interest for 1MDB bonds that it guaranteed, didn’t mention the Monday payment due.

1MDB said bondholders haven’t been paid, and didn’t say if it would do so. The Malaysian finance ministry said it had been informed by 1MDB of the dispute, and “wishes to make clear that it will continue to honor all of its outstanding commitments in the financial markets.”

Failure for either side to fulfill the debt obligation could result in the first default for 1MDB since its inception in 2009, deepening its troubles at a time when it’s the target of global investigations into allegations of money laundering and embezzlement. Authorities from the U.S. to Switzerland are trying to determine if some of the billions of dollars that 1MDB raised were siphoned out inappropriately. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s 1MDB and Abu Dhabi Feud Over Coming Bond Payment

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

Officials worry that a default could further undermine investor confidence in Malaysia

A dispute between sovereign-wealth funds from Malaysia and Abu Dhabi over missing billions of dollars is coming to a head and could roil currency and bond markets this week.

The funds are feuding over who must make a $50 million bond payment due Monday. Each is saying the other failed to meet its obligations and is refusing to pay, potentially setting off a chain reaction leading to billions of dollars of bond defaults.

The dispute is the latest chapter in the scandal involving 1Malaysia Development Bhd., known as 1MDB, which is under investigation in seven countries, including Malaysia. The Swiss Attorney General said he was investigating possible misappropriations of about $4 billion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Abu Dhabi’s IPIC says Malaysia’s 1MDB in default on June rescue deal

CNBC/Reuters
April 18, 2016

International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) said on Monday a June agreement to provide financial support to Malaysia’s 1MDB had been terminated after the troubled sovereign vehicle failed to meet obligations to the Abu Dhabi fund.

IPIC said in a bourse filing in London the Malaysian state fund and the Asian country’s Ministry of Finance had failed to meet obligations including to pay $1.1 billion plus interest and was now in default.

While the obligations of IPIC and its subsidiary, Aabar Investments, under the June agreement had now been terminated, the Abu Dhabi fund still expected the Malaysian side to honor its commitments. Read the rest of this entry »

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AG Apandi should explain why he regards the Saudi Foreign Minister’s statement as gospel truth and is even prepared to rely on the “reported statement” by Saudi foreign minister to justify no further investigation on Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal?

This is really flabbergasting. So keen is the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali to exonerate the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of any wrongdoing in the RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal that Malaysia’s Public Prosecutor is even prepared to rely on the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir’s “reported statement” to declare that there is no need for further investigation into the RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal, without even waiting for confirmation that Al-Jubeir had indeed exonerated the Malaysian Prime Minister!

Apandi should explain why he is prepared to rely on the “reported statement” by the Saudi foreign minister that the billions of ringgit deposited into Najib’s personal banking accounts were “a genuine donation” from Saudi Arabia “with nothing expected in return” without even confirming that the Saudi foreign minister had in fact made such a statement?

Furthermore, is it of no consequence to the Attorney-General that Al-Jubeir had made a U-turn on the very same issue as in early February, the Saudi Foreign Minister had told New York Times that he did not think the RM2.6 billion deposited into Najib’s personal bank accounts was a political donation, or that it originated from the Saudi government?
Instead, Al-Jubeir said the money was from an unspecified “investment”, even saying that it was from “a private Saudi citizen”.

Did Apandi seek an explanation from Al-Jubeir for his U-turn statement on the very same issue in a matter of two short months, to find out the reason for such a sudden change of mind? Read the rest of this entry »

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Switzerland widens its enquiries into Malaysia’s 1MDB

Economist
14th April 2016

Malaysia’s mega-scandal

One of the biggest controversies in Malaysian political history gets bigger

EARLIER this year authorities in Switzerland said they had begun criminal investigations into two former officials at 1MDB—a Malaysian state investment firm from which they believe some $4 billion may have been misappropriated through a series of deals struck between 2009 and 2013. On April 12th the Swiss said the scope of their enquiries was widening, and that they have now also opened files on two former public officials from the United Arab Emirates.

This latest escalation relates to a deal struck in 2012, in which IPIC, an Abu Dhabi state fund, agreed to guarantee bonds raised by 1MDB to purchase two power firms. 1MDB paid billions of dollars in collateral (and other monies linked to the guarantee) to a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, which bore a similar name to one of IPIC’s subsidiaries. But on April 11th IPIC issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange confirming rumours that it did not own the firm. Read the rest of this entry »

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Poor Abdul Rahman Dahlan – he had to be saved by SPRM and IGP from a debate with Guan Eng which will confirm the truism that ‘empty vessel makes the most noise’

There are many events happening in the country which seem to be remote from Sarawak and unrelated to the 11th Sarawak state general election which will be held on May 7.

In actual fact, on deeper reflection, one would realise these developments have intimate relationship with the 11th Sarawak state general elections, whether the latest developments in the first global scandal in the country, the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal and all the acrobatics which are being performed every day in furtherance of the media scam that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has nothing to do with Malaysia’s first global scandal, or even the cancellation of the debate that should be telecast live next Wednesday by TV3 between DAP Secretarg-General and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and the Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Director and Minister for Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.

In fact, all the hoo-ha and the allegations against Guan Eng for corruption in connection with his RM2.8 million bungalow purchase is not unrelated to the Sarawak state general election! Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib’s media strategists want to have a second bite of the cherry after the first abysmal failure of the media scam to create the myth and image that PAC Report on 1MDB exonerated Najib from any wrongdoing

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is badly served by his coterie of astronomically-paid media strategists, who want to have a second bite of the cherry after the first abysmal failure of their media scam to create the myth and image that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report on the 1MDB had exonerated Najib from any wrongdoing in the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal.

This elaborately-structured media edifice collapsed like a house of cards when four days after the PAC Report on 1MDB was tabled in Parliament without debate, Abu Dhabi’s state-owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange that neither itself nor its unit Aabar Investments PJS have any links to British Virgin Islands-incorporated firm Aabar Investments PJS Limited, which was paid a least USD3.5 billion by 1MDB.

Was the astronomical sum of USD3.5 billion paid by 1MDB to a phoney company by mistake or by design – making it Malaysia’s first global financial scandal? Read the rest of this entry »

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PAC should reconvene and present new findings on 1MDB based on three factors: (i) reconsideration of PAC Report on 1MDB; (ii) London Stock Exchange statement that Aabar Ltd BVI is phoney company; (iii) summon important witnesses omitted in PAC investigations

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should reconvene and present new findings on 1MDB based on three factors: firstly, reconsideration of PAC Report on 1MDB; secondly, the London Stock Exchange statement that British Virgin Islands-incorporated Aabar Investments PJS Limited (Aabar BVI) has no links with the Abu Dhabi-state owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) or its subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS and that neither of them have received US$3.5 billion which 1MDB had paid to Aabar BVI; and thirdly, summoning important witnesses omitted in PAC investigations.

I say reconsideration of the PAC Report on 1MDB because the host of 1MDB scams, mismanagements, dubious loans and transactions do not just demand that the 1MDB former CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and others in the management should be held responsible for the first global corruption in the nation’s history, but all fingers in the PAC Report point to a final authority and decision-maker higher than Shahrol.

This is because there are four tiers of management authority in 1MDB, namely the Advisory Board, the Board of Directors and the Top Management, but over and above all these three tiers of management, is the fourth and most vital tier – the Prime Minister who by virtue of Article 117 of 1MDB Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A) is the ultimate authority who exercised final direct control of 1MDB.

Article 117 of the 1MDB M & A requires all major decisions of the company involving financial commitment (including investment) and restructuring to have the written authorization from the Prime Minister, it is the Prime Minister who is the most important player in 1MDB, exceeding the role of the Advisory Board, the Board of Directors and the Top Management all added together. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hasan should convene emergency PAC meeting to ask Arul Kanda to explain why he should not be referred to Committee of Privileges next month for lying to PAC claiming that Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (Aabar BVI) was related to Aabar Investment PJS

The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Datuk Hasan Arifin should convene an emergency PAC meeting to ask the 1MDB President and CEO, Arul Kanda Kandasamy to explain why he should not be referred to the Committee of Privileges next month for lying and claiming to the PAC that Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (Aabar BVI) was related to Aabar Investment PJS.

Within four days of the tabling of the PAC Report on 1MDB last Thursday, Arul Kanda’s lie to the PAC in his testimony on 18th December 2015 was exposed when the Abu Dhabi’s state-owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) told the London Stock Exchange in a statement on Monday that neither itself nor its unit Aabar Investments PJS have any links to British Virgin Islands-incorporated firm Aabar Investments PJS Limited which was paid RM4.24 billion (about US$1.367 billion) by 1MDB as security deposit in 2012.

This is the fastest result for any PAC Report in the nation’s 59-year parliamentary history, and the five Opposition PAC members have been fully vindicated for signing the PAC Report on 1MDB although it did not go as far as it should in its findings and conclusions.

One other important thing which the PAC Report on 1MDB had achieved as a result of the signing of the five Opposition PAC members – Deputy PAC Chairman Dr. Tan Seng Giaw (Kepong), Dato’ Kamarul Baharin Abas (Telok Kemang), William Leong (Selayang), Dato’ Takiyuddin Hassan (Kota Bahru) and Tony Pua (PJ Utara) – was the admission by the Najib administration of the hosts of 1MDB scams, mismanagements, dubious loans and transactions in the past seven year which until last Thursday had been dismissed as speculative and unverified allegations by irresponsible, biased or even Jewish/Zionist-inspired journalists in hostile foreign newspapers like Wall Street Journal (WSJ), New York Times, Financial Times or unreliable websites like Sarawak Report. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s 1MDB Fund Says It May Be Victim of $3.5 Billion Fraud

Shamim Adam
Bloomberg
April 13, 2016

1Malaysia Development Bhd., the troubled Malaysian state fund that’s the subject of global investigations, said it could be a victim of fraud if payments of $3.5 billion intended for an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund never made it there.

Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co. this week denied ownership of a company that received the funds known as Aabar Investments PJS Limited or Aabar BVI. Swiss authorities said on Tuesday they are investigating two former public officials from the United Arab Emirates, who handled Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth funds that guaranteed 1MDB bonds.

“Given the recent denial by IPIC and the announcement by the Office of the Attorney-General of Switzerland, indicating that 1MDB could be a victim of fraud, 1MDB is exploring all avenues open to us,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Authorities from the U.S. to Switzerland and Singapore are trying to determine if some of the billions of dollars that 1MDB raised were siphoned out inappropriately. 1MDB, whose advisory board is headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak, amassed more than 50 billion ringgit ($12.9 billion) of debt over six years, using some of it to buy energy assets, including joint ventures with companies in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Read the rest of this entry »

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Swiss widen corruption investigation into Malaysia’s 1MDB fund

Guardian
Agence France-Presse
Wednesday 13 April 2016

The state-owned fund is linked to PM Najib Razak, with two suspects indicted over an alleged phony bond deal

Switzerland has widened its corruption probe into a Malaysian state-owned fund linked to prime minister Najib Razak, with two new suspects indicted over an alleged phony bond deal.

The Swiss attorney general’s office (OAG) said the new suspects – who are accused of fraud, bribery and other offences – are officials from the United Arab Emirates who were in charge of sovereign funds based in Abu Dhabi.

In a statement, the OAG said it had evidence that the management of the 1MDB fund violated Swiss embezzlement laws through a fraudulent bond agreement with the UAE officials, with money routed through Swiss banks.

Allegations that billions were looted from 1MDB in a vast campaign of fraud have shaken Najib’s government.

The scandal intensified last week when a Malaysian parliamentary committee clearly suggested misconduct had occurred, in the first condemnation from an official body in Kuala Lumpur. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia fund 1MDB’s payment to Abu Dhabi fund IPIC may have ended up in the movie business

Leslie Shaffer
CNBC.com
13th April 2016

The trail of breadcrumbs from a troubled Malaysian state investment fund took another twist Tuesday when Swiss authorities said some of the money ended up in the movie business.

On Monday, an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC), and its subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS, said that they never received $3.5 billion in payments from troubled 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The payments were related to a guarantee for a bond placed by Goldman Sachs.

Instead, the payments appear to have been sent to a nearly identically named firm registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Aabar Investments PJS Ltd.

Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General said on Tuesday that as part of its criminal investigation of suspected embezzlement from 1MDB, it was extending its probe to two former officials in charge of Abu Dhabi sovereign funds. Read the rest of this entry »

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Opposition MPs signing of an unsatisfactory PAC Report on 1MDB fully vindicated by the swift solution about the “rogue” character of the fake company Aabar Investments PJS Limited (Aabar BVI) in the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal

One shock tactics UMNO/BN Ministers, leaders and cybertroopers like the Barisan Nasional Strategic Media Communications Director and Minister for Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan had been hashing in the past few days was in the form of the question on the social media: “U guys bodoh!! Why sign the report when u r only 80% satisfied. BODOH!”

However, the Opposition MPs’ signing of the Parliament Accounts Committee (PAC) Report, although not thoroughly satisfied about its findings and conclusions, have been fully vindicated by the swift solution about the “rogue” character of fake company Aabar Investments PJS Limited (Aabar BVI) in the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal.

The statement by the Abu Dhabi’s state-owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) to the London Stock Exchange on Monday that neither itself nor its unit Aabar Investments PJS have any links to British Virgin Islands-incorporated firm Aabar Investments PJS Limited which was paid RM4.24 billion (about US$1.367 billion) by 1MDB as security deposit in 2012 would not have come about if the PAC Report on 1MDB had not been signed and tabled in Parliament last Thursday.

With the PAC Report, IPIC and Aabar, as public listed companies in the London Stock Exchange had to make a mandatory public announcement that they had no relations to Aabar BVI, and had not received the RM4.24 billion payment from 1MDB in 2012 – an issue which had been in the public domain in the past four months but not from authoritative or official sources like the Malaysian PAC Report and could therefore be ignored by IPIC, Aabar and 1MDB.

The signing of the PAC Report on the 1MDB, though not fully satisfactory, has achieved the first fruits and I want congratulate the five Opposition PAC members for achieving this result within four days of the tabling of the PAC Report. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fixing the Finances of Malaysia’s State Fund: The Process So Far

Shamim Adam
Bloomberg
April 13, 2016

It’s been more than a year since state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., at the center of multiple probes into its finances, announced plans to sell assets and pare debt. Its borrowings then ballooned to over 50 billion ringgit ($12.9 billion) as of January.

1MDB has said it won’t make new investments or undertake projects once it clears some existing deals. Set up by the government in 2009 to build infrastructure with borrowed money, it has drawn political criticism and almost failed to repay loans.

Global investigators are looking into possible money laundering and embezzlement at the company, whose advisory board is chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak. Here’s a snapshot of where 1MDB is at in getting its finances in order: Read the rest of this entry »

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Mystery deepens over $3.5 billion Malaysia’s 1MDB sent to BVI entity

ABU DHABI/KUALA LUMPUR | BY STANLEY CARVALHO AND PRAVEEN MENON
Reuters
April 11, 2016

The mystery over who controlled a British Virgin Islands-registered company that received $3.5 billion from Malaysia’s scandal-tainted state fund 1MDB deepened on Monday when a company in the Middle East with an almost identical name said the BVI firm did not belong to it.

Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC), and its subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS said in a joint statement the BVI firm with an almost identical name, Aabar Investments PJS Ltd, “was not an entity within either corporate group.”

They had neither received any payments from the BVI company, which was wound up last June, nor assumed any liabilities on its behalf, the statement said.

A Malaysian parliamentary committee investigating 1MDB said in a report released on Thursday that the Malaysian sovereign fund sent a total of $3.5 billion to “Aabar BVI”.

What happened to the money after it went to the British Virgin Islands could not be determined, the report said. Read the rest of this entry »

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