Archive for category Financial Scandals

If authorities are not out on a “witch-hunt”, Najib should be the first person who should be probed for “foreign funding” and not Ambiga or Bersih

If the authorities are not out on a “witch-hunt”, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, should be the first person who should be probed by the police for “foreign funding” and not Ambiga Sreenivasan or Bersih, for three reasons:

Firstly, the quantum. The amount of “foreign funding” which went into Najib’s personal banking accounts boggles the imagination – at first it was the gargantuan figure of RM2.6 billion and later it was expanded to an even more astronomical figure of RM4.2 billion.

No sane person would dispute the claim by Ambiga, who headed Bersih from 2010 to 2013, that Bersih had at all times been transparent about its finding and accounts, and had never hidden the fact that it had received US$25,000 from Open Society Institute (OSI) and US$9,690 from National Democracy Institute (NDI) in 2011 which were used in election-related projects.

But what is US$34,690 compared to the over US$1 billion foreign funding which had been deposited into Najib’s personal banking accounts – as the “foreign funding” that was deposited into Najib’s personal banking accounts was 30 million times larger than the puny figures which Bersih had received from OSI and NDI in 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia PM opens thorny debate in accusing Myanmar of genocide

By Praveen Menon | KUALA LUMPUR
Reuters
Fri Dec 9, 2016

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s stern rebuke to Myanmar for a military-led crackdown on Muslim Rohingyas was a rarity among Southeast Asian nations, who adhere to a policy of non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs.

Critics saw the beleaguered Najib reaching for the moral high ground with his criticism over the weekend of Myanmar in order to pander to Malay Muslim voters after a series of protests calling for him to resign over a corruption scandal.

Najib is eyeing elections in the second half of 2017, nearly a year ahead of the 2018 deadline, a government source told Reuters.

At a rally on Sunday, Najib called for foreign intervention to stop the “genocide” of Rohingya Muslims and lashed out at Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for her inaction. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysians underestimate the damage caused by the 1MDB scandal

Economist
Nov 26th 2016

But the opposition has to do more to win over rural Malays

FORTY thousand people wearing yellow shirts gathered in Malaysia’s capital on November 19th, to protest against corruption and impunity in government. The rally was orderly and restrained; the response of the authorities was not. On the eve of the protest, police arrested Maria Chin Abdullah, leader of a coalition of human-rights groups that organised the event. She was placed in solitary confinement, and can be held there for 28 days. Even by Malaysia’s dismal recent standards this marked a fresh low. Ordinary Malaysians should not stand by while their leaders undermine the rule of law so casually. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jho Low family dealt setback in move to claim assets in 1MDB probe

Reuters
8th December 2016

Relatives of a Malaysian financier at the center of the 1MDB fund scandal were dealt a setback in their efforts to claim assets seized by the U.S. government when a federal judge denied a motion that would have given them time to try their luck in overseas courts.

Earlier this week four relatives of Low Taek Jho filed a motion to delay the Dec. 12 hearing to Jan. 23 so they could go to courts in New Zealand and the Cayman Islands to try and get real estate and other assets transferred to a new trustee.

In a one-sentence ruling, U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer denied both the motion to postpone the hearing and a separate request to extend the deadline for filing a claim. No reason was given in the filing, dated Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »

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HAS CHINA OFFERED TO BAIL OUT MALAYSIA’S 1MDB? AT WHAT COST?

BY BHAVAN JAIPRAGAS
South China Morning Post
7 DEC 2016

China’s economic largesse to Malaysia was back in the spotlight on Wednesday following an apparent renewed effort by Beijing to bail out the Southeast Asian country’s beleaguered 1MDB state investment fund.

Political observers say such multibillion-dollar favours are likely to continue unabated as China seeks to bring a key trading partner closer into its strategic orbit and as Prime Minister Najib Razak turns away from the West, where he is accused of running a kleptocracy.

The Financial Times newspaper in a report on Wednesday said China “had been approached” to help 1MDB – embattled by a long-running money laundering scandal linked to Najib – pay off a US$6.5 billion (HK$50.4 billion) debt to an Abu Dhabi state investment arm. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jho Low Family Digs in to Stop 1MDB Asset Seizure by U.S.

by Edvard Pettersson
Bloomberg
December 6, 2016

Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho’s family is reaching far and wide to stop the U.S. from seizing $650 million in real estate and business investments the government claims were acquired with funds stolen from his home country.

The family of the businessman known as Jho Low claims the Swiss trustees holding their assets are afraid to fight back against the U.S. for fear of being prosecuted in the global game of investment hide and seek set off by the alleged disappearance of more than $3.5 billion of the $8 billion raised by 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Four relatives of Low, including his father and brother, now say they will ask courts in the Cayman Islands and New Zealand to replace the Swiss trustees — so they can avoid having their possessions go to the U.S. by default. Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB: The Abu Dhabi Connection

Katharina Bart
finews.asia
6 December 2016

Investigators are probing what they believe is a billion-dollar graft scandal at Malaysian state fund 1MDB. What is the role of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth executives?

As investigators in at least five countries probe an alleged billion-dollar corruption scheme, Abu Dhabi has been largely silent about its association with the Malaysian state fund.

Khadem al-Qubais–, who previously ran IPIC, one of Abu Dhabi’s largest sovereign wealth funds, until last year was responsible for billions in investments for the ruling family of Abu Dhabi – including stakes in Barclays, Daimler and Glencore.

He is also believed to have run a lucrative embezzlement and money-laundering racket which brought millions to his personal account, «The Wall Street Journal» reported. Former BSI private bankers have admitted running similarly lucrative side gigs in Singapore. Read the rest of this entry »

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China to help 1MDB settle multibillion-dollar legal dispute

Jeevan Vasagar in Kuala Lumpur, Caroline Binham in London and Simeon Kerr in Dubai
Financial Times
Dec 7, 2016

Troubled Malaysian state investment fund ready to make repayment to Abu Dhabi’s Ipic

Malaysia’s troubled state investment fund 1MDB is preparing to make a repayment, with Chinese assistance, to Abu Dhabi’s state-owned International Petroleum Investment Company, as it seeks to settle a dispute in which the Emirati fund is claiming about $6.5bn.

The move to begin repaying what the Malaysian fund owes, confirmed by two people familiar with the matter, marks a step forward in efforts to resolve the financial position of the heavily indebted state fund.

The two funds reached an impasse earlier this year, with 1MDB insisting it had fulfilled its obligations and Ipic taking the dispute to arbitration in London.

The relationship between the two funds — once hailed as a “strategic partnership” between Abu Dhabi and Malaysia — has gone sour amid allegations that Emirati officials were involved in a plot to siphon more than $1bn from 1MDB.

Khadem al-Qubaisi, former head of Ipic, has been detained over his suspected role in the affair. He has not been charged with any offence.

China has been approached as a source of funds for 1MDB, according to three people with knowledge of the matter, one of whom said Malaysia would swap assets for financing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Family of Malaysia’s Jho Low moves to protect assets in 1MDB probe

Reuters
Dec 6, 2016

Relatives of Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho are seeking fresh court action in a bid to prevent the U.S. government from seizing assets as part of an investigation into the scandal-tainted 1MDB fund, according to a U.S. court filing.

Four relatives of Low Taek Jho are planning to file court actions in New Zealand and the Cayman Islands this week to have real estate and other assets transferred to a new trustee, according to a motion on Monday in federal court in Los Angeles.

The motion seeks to push a hearing on the case out to a later date, noting that there is an effort to take the case to courts in New Zealand and the Cayman Islands.

The businessman, commonly referred to as Jho Low, is among the people named in civil lawsuits filed earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Justice, which alleged that more than $3.5 billion was misappropriated from the 1MDB fund. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for international inquiries into both ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas in Myanmar and the international 1MDB money-laundering scandal resulting in Malaysia being stamped as a “global kleptocracy”

Malaysians feel deeply hurt when the Prime Minister of Malaysia, whatever our political differences with him, is lampooned and made the butt of jokes internationally, as in the case of Sunday’s UMNO-PAS rally on Rohingyas where the Prime Minister called for foreign intervention to stop the “genocide” of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Myanmar media and NGOs are lampooning and accusing Najib of using Rohingya rally to divert attention from the 1MDB scandal which had caused Malaysia infamy and ignominy to be regarded world-wide as a “global kleptocracy”, attracting Myanmar reminders that “people living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” and that Najib himself had recently told the world with regard to the 1MDB scandal that “the internal affairs of a country should be determined by the people themselves as the formula had been proven successful” and that “Malaysia did not need foreign interference to shape and determine the direction of the country”.

Both Najib and the Myanmese government are wrong, but Najib would not have opened himself as an easy target if Sunday’s Rohingya rally had NOT been organised as a UMNO-PAS rally to win Muslim points but as a humanitarian call by all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or politics. Read the rest of this entry »

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Reminder to UMNO leaders and strategists that they have yet to accuse the DAP as being funded and directed by the Jews in their baseless onslaught on DAP during the three phases before, during and after UMNO General Assembly

UMNO leaders and strategists have launched a major publicity onslaught on the DAP in the three phases before, during and after the UMNO General Assembly last weekend, an offensive ala-Nazi “Big Lie” propaganda which is not only baseless, but downright vicious, vindictive and vengeful, lies such as:

1. That the 14th General Elections will be a contest between UMNO and DAP;

2. That the DAP is anti-Malay or anti-Islam.

3. The “nightmares” Malay will suffer if UMNO loses power in the next general elections.

But the UMNO “Big Lie” propaganda offensive against DAP is grounded on lies, as evident from the fact that the Prime Minister and UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak could not find a single instance in my 51 years in politics to show that I am anti-Malay and anti-Islam.

Imagine! 51 years in politics is equivalent to 612 months, 2,652 week, 18,615 days and the very “productive” UMNO leaders and strategists could not unearth a single instance to prove that I am anti-Malay and anti-Islam and yet they continue with their lies and canard that I am anti-Malay and anti-Islam!

As a perfectionist, I hate to see the UMNO propaganda offensive against DAP being run in so sloppy and sub-standard a manner, failing to use all the ammunition that they could muster against the DAP – although they are lies and falsehoods.

For instance, since the launch of the UMNO propaganda offensive against DAP starting with the ferocious but groundless attack by the Johore Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin against the DAP in the Johor State Assembly for more than a week, UMNO leaders and propagandists have yet to use one Big Lie against the DAP – that the DAP is funded and directed by Jews!

When will the UMNO leaders and strategists unleash this Jewish missile against the DAP in their vicious but baseless attacks on the DAP? Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysians worry Trump will drop a corruption investigation into his “favorite prime minister”

Joon Ian Wong
Quartz
December 01, 2016

Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak may have hundreds of thousands of his countrymen calling for his resignation — embroiled as he is in a multi-billion-dollar corruption case — but he has one thing to be grateful for: His onetime golfing partner is the next president of the United States, whose justice department happens to be pursuing that very same corruption case.

Najib has been talking up his close ties to Trump to the media. He recounted a victorious golf game played years ago at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey to the Star, a Malaysian daily. Najib had been in town for the United Nations General Assembly, and wanted to enjoy some R&R with his Malaysian delegation. Trump, hearing about the group, appeared and joined the game. So Najib and Trump partnered up.

At the game’s conclusion, Trump posed for a photo with Najib and the late Malaysian ambassador to the US, Jamaluddin Jarjis, and autographed it. It was inscribed: “To my favorite Prime Minister. Great win!” according to Najib. The Malaysian PM said he keeps the photo on his desk. “I did it before [Trump] became as famous as he is today,” Najib told the Star.

Najib is now reaping the rewards of that intuition. He says he had a “very warm and productive” phone call with his former golfing partner, and that ties between the two countries would be further strengthened.

Najib will hope that a friendly figure in the White House will help his chances in the biggest kleptocracy case brought by the US justice department to date. It’s seeking $1 billion in assets that it says are tied to “public corruption and a global money laundering conspiracy.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Why is 1MDB scandal which made Malaysia a “global kleptocracy” allowed to be the “elephant in the room” throughout the five-day UMNO Assemblies, causing Najib and UMNO to lose all political credibility and moral authority as Malaysian Prime Minister and leading political party respectively?

Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s UMNO Presidential speech has been shocker. But the five-day UMNO General Assemblies are a greater shocker.

I fully agree with the head of the Pakatan Harapan Secretariat and former Deputy Higher Education Minister, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah that Najib has made a grave error in using racial connotations at the UMNO General Assembly as it has disastrous racial implications.

Saifuddin is spot-on when he said firstly, that Najib had made baseless accusations against DAP as though DAP is anti-Malay and anti-Islam party; and secondly, Najib has compounded his error as DAP does not dictate matters in Pakatan Harapan, which is led collectively by the three component parties, DAP, PKR and Amanah.

The Pahang State Assembly Opposition Leader and DAP Pahang Assemblyman for Mentakab, Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, has responded to Najib’s speech at the UMNO General Assembly declaring that he would have left DAP long ago if DAP had been anti-Malay or anti-Islam.

In actual fact, Tengku Zulpuri said Najib’s accusation was completely baseless as the DAP-led Penang State Government had brought many benefits to the Malays and promoted Islam in Penang State.

Tengku Zulpuri’s view has been endorsed by the former Penang Deputy Chief Minister and former Agriculture Deputy Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Sharif Omar who said that the Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng “lebih banyak menjaga kebajikan rakyat Pulau Pinang, termasuk kaum Melayu di negeri itu berbanding pemimpin sebelum ini” and “tidak ada satu pun tindakan DAP yang menunjukkan parti tersebut anti-Melayu sepanjang Pakatan Harapan memimpin Pulau Pinang sejak tahun 2008”. Read the rest of this entry »

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End the Corporate Shell Games

Leslie Caldwell
Bloomberg
NOV 30, 2016

Leaders from around the globe will converge Thursday in Panama City to discuss the next steps in the international fight against corruption.

That meeting will highlight for the world — and for our newly elected president and Congress — that the U.S. is in danger of falling behind our global partners in preventing the flow of illicit money through our financial markets. We have failed to enact legislation that would require the disclosure of the people behind legal entities — legislation that would assist law enforcement in stopping those who corrupt the U.S. and international financial systems.

It is no secret that the U.S. financial system is an attractive playground: We have the deepest, most liquid and most stable markets, and criminals seek to use the tools of our financial and banking systems to serve their illicit purposes. For an illegal enterprise to succeed, criminals must be able to hide, move and get access to their proceeds without detection. And when they are successful, their actions serve as a dual threat: Their criminal conduct itself can threaten the safety and security of all citizens, and their use of the financial and banking systems to hide their gains — or to fund additional criminal conduct — undermines the integrity of those systems.

One prominent example is a case the Justice Department filed seeking to forfeit and recover more than $1.2 billion in assets that were involved in, or traceable to, an international conspiracy to launder funds stolen from the people of Malaysia. The government of Malaysia wholly owns 1Malaysia Development Bhd., a strategic investment and development fund. As alleged in the complaint, over a six-year period, 1MDB associates took more than $3.5 billion from the development fund to purchase luxury condominiums, a $35 million jet, expensive works of art and a motion picture company that used the money to finance, among other things, the production of “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Abu Dhabi SWF gets entangled in 1MDB scandal

By Bradley Hope and Nicolas Parasie
The Wall Street Journal
02 December 2016

When Barclays needed to raise capital in 2008, the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, known as IPIC, invested more than $5 billion in the UK bank. Through a subsidiary, IPIC acquired holdings in German auto maker Daimler and Swiss commodities powerhouse Glencore. It helped finance the ultraluxury New York skyscraper One57, nicknamed the Billionaire Building.

Driving IPIC was Khadem Al Qubaisi, a nightclub aficionado with slicked-back hair, a taste for the good life and close ties to princes who rule the emirate.

In June, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince abruptly ordered an end to the 32-year-old sovereign wealth fund’s existence as a standalone firm, saying it would be merged with another state entity.

Al Qubaisi? He now sits in an Abu Dhabi jail, fired and under investigation for money laundering, corruption and other possible offenses, according to people familiar with his situation.

Among the deals Al Qubaisi engineered at IPIC was one with 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MDB, the embattled Malaysian state fund from which billions of dollars are missing, at least $800 million of which some investigators have said flowed into personal accounts of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Read the rest of this entry »

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Singapore slaps penalties on StanChart, Coutts in 1MDB-related probe

by Anshuman Daga and Marius Zaharia | SINGAPORE
Reuters
Dec 2, 2016

Singapore’s central bank imposed penalties on the local units of U.K.-based Standard Chartered (STAN.L) and private bank Coutts for money laundering breaches related to Malaysia’s scandal-tainted 1MDB fund and said it was nearing the end of its probes.

The penalties – of S$5.2 million ($3.65 million) and S$2.4 million, respectively – were the latest punitive measures taken by the central bank in its crackdown on money laundering, having ordered the closure earlier this year of the local units of Swiss banks BSI and Falcon.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is also in the process of issuing a prohibition order against Tim Leissner, Goldman Sachs’ former Southeast Asia chairman.

“These actions send a strong signal that we will not tolerate the abuse of Singapore’s financial system for illicit purposes,” said Ravi Menon, the managing director of MAS.

“The supervisory investigations into the intricate web of international fund flows have been a learning experience for financial institutions as well as for MAS,” he said.

The inspection at Standard Chartered “revealed significant lapses in the bank’s customer due diligence measures and controls for ongoing monitoring,” MAS said. bit.ly/2h0ZMJQ

While the 28 breaches were “serious”, the central bank did not find “wilful misconduct.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Singapore to Ban Former Goldman Banker in Connection With 1MDB Scandal

By TOM WRIGHT and JAKE MAXWELL WATTS
Wall Street Journal
Dec. 2, 2016

Executive allegedly wrote unauthorized reference letter for Malaysian U.S. authorities say is at the center of fraud at state investment fund

Singapore’s probe into a multibillion-dollar financial scandal touched Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for the first time on Friday as its central bank said it was planning to ban the Wall Street firm’s former top executive in Southeast Asia from operating in the city-state’s financial system for 10 years.

The executive, Tim Leissner, was Goldman’s point man on deals involving Malaysian state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB. The Monetary Authority of Singapore, the central bank, announced the proposed ban on Mr. Leissner after it found he had written a recommendation letter for a Malaysian financier, Jho Low, in June 2015. In it, Mr. Leissner claimed that Goldman had performed due diligence on Mr. Low.

“These statements were untrue and were made by Mr. Leissner without Goldman Sachs’ knowledge or consent,” the MAS statement said.

Goldman Sachs said in a statement Friday that it had discovered the matter in January 2016 and reported it to Singapore authorities. Mr. Leissner left Goldman in February after Goldman put him on leave. Read the rest of this entry »

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Challenge to Najib to list out DAP’s Three Big Lies after I have exposed Najib’s three “Big Lies” in his UMNO presidential speech yesterday

At the joint opening of the annual assemblies of UMNO’s Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings on Tuesday night, the Acting UMNO Deputy President, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi sought to draw parallels between the Opposition’s propaganda efforts with the leaders of Nazi Germany.

He recounted how Adolf Hitler and his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels had a grip on German citizens through carefully crafted propaganda strategies.

Zahid said: “It was based on lies… Hitler once wrote: ‘If you are going to tell a lie, tell a big one and if you tell it often enough, people will begin to believe it’.

“Through creative radio and film propaganda, they succeeded in controlling the minds of more than 80 million people.”

Anyone doing a Wikipedia search will find the following explanation:

“A big lie is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so ‘colossal’ that no one would believe that someone ‘could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.’ Hitler asserted the technique was used by Jews to unfairly blame Germany’s loss in World War I on German Army officer Erich Ludendorff.”

Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels perfected Hitler’s “Big Lie” theory: “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it” to the extent that he created the Fuhrer myth and the image of Hitler as the Messiah-redeemer.

Are we seeing a repetition of the “Big Lie” theory in modern-day Malaysia, with the UMNO leadership warning about the “Big Lie” theory but with the UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak becoming the biggest exponent of the “Big Lie” propaganda? Read the rest of this entry »

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Will IGP Khalid say that he does not rule out arrest of Najib for receiving foreign funding, like Maria Chin?

The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has said that he has not ruled out the possibility of Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah being re-arrested.

The thought that immediately struck me was whether Khalid would ever say that he does not rule out the possibility of arresting Datuk Seri Najib Razak for receiving foreign funding, as being alleged against Maria Chin.

The answer is of course a clear-cut and categorical “No”

Can Khalid answer why he would never make such a statement about Najib when he had no problem making it against Maria Chin?

Especially when Najib had himself claimed that the RM2.6 billion deposited into his personal banking accounts were from foreign sources?
Read the rest of this entry »

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US ‘troubled’ over Malaysia’s detention of activist and Najib critic

Guardian
24th November 2016

Maria Chin Abdullah, who has called for resignation of prime minister Najib Razak, in solitary confinement under law intended to curb extremism

The United States has said it was troubled by the arrest of a Malaysian activist and critic of prime minister Najib Razak.

Maria Chin Abdullah, the chair of pro-democracy group Bersih, was detained on Friday under Malaysia’s Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma, a law that was introduced in 2012 to fight security and extremist threats.

She was arrested a day before a demonstration that Bersih had organised for Saturday, when tens of thousands of Malaysians marched in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, demanding that Najib step down over his alleged involvement in a financial scandal.

“We are troubled by the ongoing detention and solitary confinement of Maria Chin Abdullah under national security laws,” Alicia Edwards, a spokeswoman for the US state department, told Reuters in an emailed statement. Read the rest of this entry »

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