IFR Asia 989
April 29, 2017
The 1MDB saga reached a predictable and sickening milestone last Monday when the Malaysian investment fund said it had reached an out-of-court settlement with the Middle Eastern guarantor of two US dollar bonds totalling US$3.5bn.
1MDB’s agreement with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company was predictable, inasmuch as the Malaysian taxpayer will ultimately be on the hook for the fund’s debts, and sickening inasmuch as it left billions of dollars still unaccounted for.
1MDB maintains that it paid US$3.5bn to an IPIC unit, Aabar Investments PJS Limited, in return for IPIC acting as guarantor on the US dollar bonds. IPIC claims that money went to an unconnected company registered in the British Virgin Islands with an uncannily similar name.
IPIC denied last week that Aabar (BVI) was its subsidiary. But Malaysia’s second finance minister Johari Abdul Ghani last week in somewhat desperate fashion, proffered a letter from the Registrar of Corporate Affairs of the British Virgin Islands confirming that it is (or was).
Can the world of international high finance be reduced to something as utterly farcical and absurd? And when it comes to playing the “Whose Baby?” game, I think I would trust the parent to know, rather than a third-party “verifier” from a faraway land of which the main players in this farce probably know very little. Read the rest of this entry »
As “MO1”, Prime Minister Najib should recuse himself from being the final authority in approval of the 1MDB-IPIC “arbitration settlement”, and a special Parliament convened to decide on the issue
Although Finance Minister II Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani was appointed with the specific task to complete the rationalization and resolution of the 1MDB scandal, he is on public record that he was not involved in the arbitration settlement negotiations and had not been briefed before the “settlement” was concluded.
He said that although he was involved in the decision to take the case to London arbitration as he was confident that 1MDB would win the case because of its strong legal position, the Prime Minister made the decision for the country looking at the “bigger picture”, in terms of relationship between Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.
This is not only completely unacceptable but downright unethical and most unfair to Abu Dhabi, suggesting that the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) is so dishonest and unIslamic as to demand double payments for its US$3.5 billion bond guarantee!
It is most improper for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, as the “M01” cited in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) largest kleptocratic litigation (as admitted by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan) to be in a conflict-of-interest position to be involved in the 1MDB-IPIC settlement, especially as it involved the Ministry of Finance (Incorporated) Malaysia (MoF Inc) as a party of the IMDB-IPIC “arbitration settlement” guaranteeing that 1MDB would make the payments under the “arbitration settlement” – which is as good as undertaking that the Malaysian taxpayers will finally foot the bill for the 1MDB-IPIC “arbitration settlement”. Read the rest of this entry »
by Greg Farrell , Andrea Tan , and Keri Geiger
April 28, 2017
U.S. prosecutors investigating Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s role in raising almost $6 billion for Malaysia’s 1MDB investment fund are asking questions about money flowing through accounts linked to Tim Leissner, the lead banker behind the transactions, according to people familiar with the matter.
Officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department have been interviewing bankers familiar with 1Malaysia Development Bhd. about Leissner’s network of relationships with politically connected Malaysians, said the people, who asked not to be named because the queries aren’t public.
In interviews as recent as last month, the people said, the U.S. officials asked about the association between Leissner, who left Goldman Sachs in February 2016, and Low Taek Jho, who the Justice Department said in July was at the center of a scheme that siphoned more than $3 billion dollars from 1MDB. U.S. investigators are asking in particular whether money was sent from a Leissner-linked account to an entity controlled by someone tied to the Malaysian government, one of the people said. Leissner’s attorney, Marc Harris, declined to comment. An official who answered the phone at Low’s Hong Kong-based company Jynwel Capital said he wasn’t available. Read the rest of this entry »
When was Johari removed by the Cabinet or Prime Minister as the final “gatekeeper” for the resolution of the 1MDB scandal?
Although Finance Minister II Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani has denied contradicting Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak over the arbitration settlement between 1MDB and International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), he has clearly tried to dissociate and distance himself from the settlement.
It is therefore quite unworthy of him to allege that DAP PJ Utara, Tony Pua, was trying to create a wedge between Najib and him.
When news of the 1MDB-IPIC “arbitration settlement” was first reported in the international media exactly a week ago that 1MDB was on the verge of inking a “settlement” with IPIC, Johari was mentioned as part of the “high powered team” leading the negotiations to resolve the dispute, but this was promptly denied by Johari the very next day from Washington, where he was attending a World Bank meeting – that he was not involved in the arbitration settlement negotiations and that he had not yet been briefed on the final outcome of the settlement.
This has come as a surprise to all Malaysians – as all this while, everyone, including Members of Parliament, were under the impression that Johari as Finance Minister II had become the key player in the whole 1MDB imbroglio, in fact the final “gatekeeper” in the resolution of the 1MDB scandal. Read the rest of this entry »
By Una Galani
27 April 2017
Malaysia will bear most of the burden of 1MDB. Abu Dhabi helped the Southeast Asian nation finance the upstart sovereign fund back in 2012. It subsequently looked like the Gulf emirate would share a large part of the multi-billion dollar fallout relating to the fund, now the focus of money-laundering probes around the world. But Malaysia is throwing its chequebook at the problem, paying up to try to repair relations between the two states before Prime Minister Najib Razak seeks re-election.
A debt settlement agreement announced on Monday addresses most of the lingering financial mess. 1MDB will repay a $1.2 billion loan to IPIC by the end of this year. It will also re-assume responsibility for two bonds, which will cost another $4.8 billion including interest.
The Malaysian investor had initially played hardball with Abu Dhabi. It stopped paying coupons on the notes last year after the pair fell out over a separate $3.5 billion payment that went missing. 1MDB paid that amount to an entity with a similar name to a unit of IPIC, which the latter has claimed it never received. Read the rest of this entry »
The “overkill” campaign to convince Malaysians that 1MDB scandal has finally been resolved with the 1MDB-IPIC “arbitration settlement” boomeranged as many basic questions remain unanswered
After the “arbitration settlement” between 1MDB and Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC), the UMNO/BN Government propaganda machinery went into an overdrive to convince Malaysians that the 1MDB international kleptocratic money-laundering scandal had been resolved and settled once and for all.
But the propaganda campaign committed the fatal sin of doing an “overkill”, like the claims by the Barisan Nasional strategic communications director, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, causing a boomerang as many basic questions about the 1MDB scandal, which had hounded and haunted Malaysians with the infamy and ignominy of a global kleptocracy, remain unanswered.
Examples of such propaganda overkill, which aroused more doubts and questions, are Abdul Rahman’s claims that the “arbitration settlement” shows that 1MDB funds did not end up in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s pockets or that the 1MDB funds held in “units” in Singapore exist and will be monetized to pay IPIC – as they do not have such results.
Thanks to Abdul Rahman, these questions have returned to the centre-stage of public concern, together with other questions like “Why Malaysians have now to pay IPIC more than double what was actually borrowed by 1MDB” (asked by DAP MP for PJ Utara), “Where did the money paid by 1MDB go” (asked not only by former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed but also by UMNO MP for Kulim Bandar Baru and Public Accounts Committee member, Datuk Aziz Sheikh Fadzir), “Will taxpayers foot 1MDB’s US$1.2b settlement with IPIC” (by PKR MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli), “Who is buying the 1MDB ‘units’?” (by former Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin), my question yesterday “Is Malaysia fast becoming a rogue state in today’s international society?” among many others.
Is Najib prepared to convene a special session of Parliament to clear Malaysia’s infamy and ignominy of being regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy” to give full and detailed answers to all the charges about 1MDB international money-laundering scandal, in particular the nearly year-old United States Department of Justice (DOJ) largest kleptocratic litigation to forfeit over US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland? Read the rest of this entry »
Davide Ghiglione in Milan, Simeon Kerr in Dubai and Caroline Binham in London
APRIL 24, 2017
Prosecutors looking at involvement of a former managing director of Abu Dhabi’s Ipic
Italian prosecutors are investigating a former Emirati sovereign wealth fund official over allegations of insider trading in UniCredit shares in 2010 as the fallout from the Malaysian 1MDB scandal spreads through Abu Dhabi’s overseas investment portfolio.
Prosecutors in Milan placed Khadem al-Qubaisi, the jailed former managing director of Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic), under investigation “several months ago,” said a person briefed on the probe.
The Italian prosecutor’s office confirmed the probe and said it is “currently working to collect the final elements” for the investigation. A spokesman for the office declined to comment further. Read the rest of this entry »
The Information Ministry’s Special Affairs Division (Jasa), which has been assigned the special task of exonerating the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Malaysian government of any responsibility for the 1MDB kleptocratic scandal, made a startling statement when its director general, Datuk Mohd Puad Zakashi, said that the arbitration settlement between 1MDB and Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) has “weakened” US Department of Justice (DOJ) civil suits and claims that the 1MDB funds were stolen.
Puad may not have realized it, but his statement was as good as a government admission that the US DOJ has a case to apply for the forfeiture of more than US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets, but the Malaysian government believes that the arbitration settlement has weakened the suits from the evidential aspects.
Whether this is so is open to dispute, but it is most startling, to say the least, that the Malaysian government, which has completely denied that there is a 1MDB scandal, both nationally and internationally, suddenly accepting the scenario that DOS had a case to apply for the forfeiture of over US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets – subject to the availability of adequate evidential material to prop up the kleptocratic suits.
If the Malaysian government’s stand is that there is no 1MDB scandal at all, that all the 1MDB allegations are the “fevered imaginations” of those with ill-intentions to the Najib government, including several foreign nations, then Puad and the Malaysian Government should be consistent in holding that there is simply no case whatsoever for the DOJ lawsuits – and not talking about the “weakening” of DOJ law suits as a result of the 1MDB-IPIC arbitration agreement! Read the rest of this entry »
By NEIL GOUGH
New York Times
APRIL 24, 2017
HONG KONG — In 2012, with help from Goldman Sachs, a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhad sold $3.5 billion worth of bonds backed by an Abu Dhabi government fund to help it purchase power plants.
But behind the scenes, American officials have claimed, nearly $1.45 billion was illegally redirected to Swiss bank accounts and ultimately into the hands of some of the people involved in the deal.
That deal is now part of an international investigation into the Malaysian fund, known as 1MDB, that has plagued Najib Razak, the prime minister of Malaysia. A civil complaint filed by Justice Department officials in the United States said that some of the funds landed in the hands of Mr. Najib’s friends and associates as well as officials and executives from Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund.
On Monday, Malaysia and Abu Dhabi moved to clean up one part of the scandal: who would pay back investors who bought the bonds. Read the rest of this entry »
UMNO/BN leaders and strategists expect UMNO, MCA, Gerakan and MIC to lose more seats in 14GE and this is why they are cranking up their campaign of lies, hate and fear, especially the triple lie-hate-fear tactics that if UMNO loses, the Malays will lose political power
The 14th General Election is getting closer and we can detect certain panic in UMNO/BN leadership quarters.
This is because some UMNO/BN leaders and strategists expect UMNO, MCA, Gerakan and MIC to lose more parliamentary seats in the 14th General Election, which is why they are cranking up their campaign of lies, hatred and fear, especially the triple lie-hate-fear tactics that if UMNO loses, the Malays will lose political power in the country.
This is a downright lie, for whatever happens in the 14th General Election, whether UMNO/BN is defeated by the Pakatan Harapan of PKR, Amanah, Pribumi Bersatu and DAP, the Malays will not lose political power in the country, for the following four reasons: Read the rest of this entry »
14th General Election critical test whether Malaysia can be normal democratic country where voters can peacefully and democratically elect the Federal government they want
This year, Malaysians celebrate the 60th Merdeka Day and 57th Malaysia Day anniversaries, and this is an important milestone to review our national successes and failures.
Despite thirteen General Elections in nearly six decades, Malaysia has yet to become a normal democratic country where voters can change the party or political coalition in government peacefully and democratically through the ballot box like other mature democracies without threats of national catastrophes.
In the past 60 years, there had been six democratic and peaceful changes of government in the United Kingdom, but not a single time in Malaysia.
In Asia, Japan, India, South Korea, Taiwan and even Philippines and Indonesia have more democratic traditions and practices than Malaysia, as the Japanese, Indians, South Koreans, Taiwanese and even Filipinos and Indonesians can use the ballot box to change the party or political coalition in power without any national disaster or calamities.
The case of South Korea should be a salutary reminder of how far we as a nation have fallen short of our expectations when we achieved Merdeka on August 31, 1957. Read the rest of this entry »
Najib responsible for the most heinous fake news any government has concocted with the official version that the global kleptocratic 1MDB scandal does not exist
In his speech to the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) Asia Media Awards on Wednesday night, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak spoke about the need to combat the “plague of false and fake news” in the social media and foreign newspapers.
He has however conspicuously omitted the plague of false and fake news in the mainstream media in Malaysia, in particular those owned and controlled by UMNO/BN, which have blazed the path of transforming “newspapers” into “lies-papers”.
False and fake news, whether in social media, foreign newspapers or in local mainstream media, must be equally combatted, exposed and condemned for they are designed not only to distort truth, but deceive the people about the true facts and situation.
In this connection, the greatest surprise in the Prime Minister’s speech at the international media event was his total omission, without any single mention, of the global kleptocratic 1MDB scandal which had haunted and hounded the country and Malaysians for the past two years.
Najib is in fact responsible for the most heinous fake news any government has concocted with the official government version that the global kleptocratic 1MDB scandal does not exist. Read the rest of this entry »
By Zulkifli Sulong
The Malaysian Insight
20 Apr 2017
HOUSEWIFE Normah Yusof is used to getting messages promoting halal products on her smartphone but a recent graphic disgusted her.
The Bahasa Malaysia graphic read “Boycott Chinese-DAP products” in red capital letters against a black background. A smaller sub-heading read: “Kasi lunyai semua kedai kedai Cina DAP” (Let’s bankrupt Chinese-DAP owned shops).
Political analysts said Normah is a typical target for religious and racial rhetoric, as political parties, such as Umno and PAS, ramp up the psychological war in the run-up to the general election speculated to be this year. Read the rest of this entry »
The Sydney Morning Herald
APRIL 20 2017
Bangkok: For two years Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has shrugged off revelations by foreign journalists that almost $1 billion turned up in his personal bank accounts amid one of the world’s biggest ever financial scandals.
Now Mr Najib, preparing to call early elections, has accused journalists of fabricating fake news about Malaysia.
“This tide of fake and false news threatens of turn the truth into a purely subjective matter, with little relation to the actual facts,” he told an Asian media awards event in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday evening.
In a country where the mainstream media is tightly controlled by the government and small independent media outlets are under constant threat of closure and legal action, Mr Najib also claimed that free speech is “thriving”, pointing to what he called regular criticism of the government, ministers and officials in the local media.
But with freedom, he said, comes responsibility. He quoted the then Manchester Guardian’s long-time editor CP Scott who famously declared that “comment is free, but facts are sacred”. Read the rest of this entry »
It must be a new phenomenon in the world of Malaysian journalism – New Straits Times admitting that it has transformed itself from a “news-paper” into a “lies-paper”, without any compunction or sense of journalistic responsibility by claiming that it was only reporting on the “lies” by others in its pages and columns.
It is significant that the New Straits Times response to my speech at the Johor DAP State Leaders Retreat at Kukup, Johor on Saturday about UMNO/BN mainstream media unabashedly transforming themselves from newspapers to “lies-papers” made no attempt to deny that they were publishing “lies” instead of news, except to claim that they were publishing the “lies” spread by others.
Will the New Straits Times similarly oblige DAP and Pakatan Harapan leaders and print whatever “lies” concocted by them about the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, UMNO and Barisan Nasional in the NST pages and columns?
Of course not and this will be the correct decision for journalists must be guided by the canons of journalism, the most fundamental of which is that a newspaper should not degenerate into a “lies-paper”! Read the rest of this entry »
By Liew Chin Tong
The Independent, Singapore
April 16, 2017
I would like to thank Mr Tan Chin Tiong, Director of Yusof Ishak – Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, for the invitation to speak at this excellent institution, of which I was a visiting research fellow in 2006.
I would also like to express my appreciation to my friends Dr. Lee Hock Guan for arranging this visit and Dr. Ooi Kee Beng for chairing the session.
I last spoke here almost nine years ago on 23rd April 2008, a month or so after the great Black Swan back then – the political tsunami on 8th March 2008.
Since then, there has never been a dull moment in Malaysian politics. We have experienced a Black Swan after a Black Swan.
For instance, just a year ago, who would have expected Dr. Mahathir Mohammad to become among Opposition leaders working hard to push UMNO to become the Opposition.
Just as I was giving the final touch for this speech yesterday, there was the news that Prime Minister Najib Razak had appointed his cousin who is also Defense Minister Hishamuddin Hussein to be the Minister with Special Functions in the Prime Minister’s Department.
This gives rise to a new Black Swan question: does this mean Najib will step down as Prime Minister before the next general election?
Should that happen, we will have to grapple with a new set of conditions and scenarios. If he doesn’t, there is already a new power equation in which Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi is being sidelined, but Zahid may not take it lying down.
To put things in context, let me bring you to late November 2007. Read the rest of this entry »
by Harry Shukman
Read the essay about learning English that won her a place at every single Ivy
Yesterday Cassandra Hsiao heard the news that she made it into not just one but all eight schools of the Ivy League. With offers to study at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell and Penn, she now has to choose which world class institution she’ll join in the Class of 2021. A writer, journalist, and one-time rapper (in front of Lin-Manuel Miranda), Cassandra explained how she nailed her applications – and shared her common app essay that helped get her there.
How does it feel to get into every single school in the Ivy League?
I’m still processing it. It’s not something you expect when you open these college messages on your portal. I saw a yes and a yes, a congratulations after a congratulations. It’s totally surreal. It’s still sinking in. I had a moment to myself yesterday where I was just sobbing. I celebrated with my parents. This is quite the honor, to have these fantastic institutions accept me. It’s really something.
Your parents must be super proud.
Oh yeah! They’re over the moon. They’re a huge part of why I was able to accomplish this really. You can’t do it without the support of your parents. They believed in me and encouraged me to follow my passions along with my teachers, my friends, mentors, life mentors, industry mentors – these are the people who I really owe a lot to. God opened a lot of doors for me and put these people in my life who were able to see something in me and nourish me. There’s no way I would have been able to do this without them. This thing is really a group effort. So thanks to all the people in that group.
What did you focus on in your common app essay?
My parents are immigrants – my mom was born in Malaysia, my dad was born in Taiwan. When I was about five we moved here. English is not their strength and it was interesting to me growing up in a house of immigrants, how we interact with language. Words that don’t translate will seep into our own – the way I talk at home is very different from the way I talk outside of home. Sometimes when I was growing up people laughed at me for things I said that sounded completely normal to me but were not to them. So I wrote about that experience.
Read Cassandra’s essay in full Read the rest of this entry »
The 14th general elections is going to be dirtiest in nation’s history when UMNO/BN mainstream media have unabashedly transformed themselves from newspapers into “lies-papers”
The 14th General elections is going to be dirtiest in the nation’s history when UMNO/BN owned or controlled mainstream media have unabashedly transformed themselves from newspapers into “lies-papers”.
In the past four months, UMNO/BN mainstream media like Utusan Malaysia, New Straits Times, Berita Harian and Star have become “lies-papers” as part of the UMNO/BN campaign to demonise Pakatan Harapan leaders and myself, where I am described as a devil, puaka, even jembalang; that I am anti-Malay, anti-Islam; cause of May 13, 1969 riots; a communist; a stooge of foreign powers; that I dominate Pakatan Harapan and made other leaders like Tun Mahathir, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Mohamad Sabu as my stooges and puppets – all sorts of evil under the Malaysian sun!
This is not because I have suddenly become No. 1 national security risk, or the greatest threat to UMNO/BN government, but simply because UMNO leaders and propagandists are in a panic mood as they have realised that there is a possibility that they have lost the support of the majority of Malay voters in the country. Read the rest of this entry »
Two ways to remember and honour Karpal – elect DAP-led government for third term in Penang as well as elect Pakatan Harapan to form Federal Government in Putrajaya to Save Malaysia from global kleptocracy, a failed and rogue state
We are here to remember and honour Sdr. Karpal Singh – a giant of a Malaysian who had dedicated his life to a more united, just, equal and democratic Malaysia.
There are two ways to remember and honour Karpal, who left us three years ago with many unfinished national business.
The first is to elect a DAP-led government for the third term in Penang and the second is to elect Pakatan Harapan to form the Federal Government in Putrajaya to Save Malaysia from global kleptocracy and from heading towards a failed and a rogue state.
This year Malaysians will be celebrating our 60th National Day to commemorate the nation’s attainment of Independence on August 31, 1957.
I was in Form III in Batu Pahat High School in 1957, I can still remember that on August 31, 1957, we gathered at the school compound where every student was given a bunting of the new national flag and a scroll setting out the Proclamation of Merdeka which was declared by the first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman at the Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
We were brimming with hope and confidence of a new future as a new nation. Read the rest of this entry »
UMNO/BN mainstream media like Utusan Malaysia, New Straits Times, Berita Harian and Star should stop their demeaning role as “lies-papers” and return to their traditional and time-honoured role as newspapers
In the past four months, we see the transformation of UMNO/BN mainstream media like Utusan Malaysia, New Straits Times, Berita Harian and Star from newspapers into “lies-papers” as part of the UMNO/BN campaign to demonise Pakatan Harapan leaders and myself, where I am described as a devil, puaka, even jembalang; that I am anti-Malay, anti-Islam; cause of May 13, 1969 riots; a communist; a stooge of foreign powers; that I dominate Pakatan Harapan and made other leaders like Tun Mahathir, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Mohamad Sabu as my stooges and puppets – all evils possible under the Malaysian sun!
But we can also notice something most unusual – that the intensification and escalation of the demonisation campaign of Pakatan Harapan leaders and myself, blatantly turning UMNO/BN newspapers into “lies-papers” through lies, fake news and false information, have not given the UMNO/BN leaders solace or relief, for they are beginning to realise that their worst escalation of demonisation campaign against Pakatan Harapan leaders and myself are not getting the traction or credibility to restore UMNO fortunes in the Malay ground.
This is one reason for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s latest political and strategic decision to make Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as Minister for Special Functions in the Prime Minister’s Department, in addition to his portfolio as Defence Minister – clearly placing Hishammuddin as the No. 2 most powerful man in the Najib administration over and above the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi.
Clearly, Najib is more fearful that UMNO would be defeated in the 14th General Election than in the 13th General Election in 2013 – and the reason why the demonisation campaign against Pakatan Harapan leaders and myself have reached ludicrous proportion. Read the rest of this entry »