Archive for March 30th, 2016

The Rise and Fall of Tim Leissner, Goldman’s Big Man in Malaysia

Max Abelson/ Elffie Chew
March 30, 2016

The prime minister of Malaysia had a message for the crowd at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco in September 2013. “We cannot have an egalitarian society — it’s impossible to have an egalitarian society,” Najib Razak said. “But certainly we can achieve a more equitable society.”

Tim Leissner, one of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s star bankers, enjoyed the festivities that night with model Kimora Lee Simmons, who’s now his wife. In snapshots she posted to Twitter, she’s sitting next to Najib’s wife, and then standing between him and Leissner. Everyone smiled.

The good times didn’t last. At least $681 million landed in the prime minister’s personal bank accounts that year, money his government has said was a gift from the Saudi royal family. The windfall triggered turmoil for him, investigations into the state fund he oversees and trouble for Goldman Sachs, which helped it raise $6.5 billion. Leissner, the firm’s Southeast Asia chairman, left last month after questions about the fund, his work on an Indonesian mining deal and an allegedly inaccurate reference letter.

Few corporations have mastered the mix of money and power like New York-based Goldman Sachs, whose alumni have become U.S. lawmakers, Treasury secretaries and central bankers. Leissner’s rise and fall shows how lucrative and fraught it can be when the bank exports that recipe worldwide. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal is history – as Malaysians should now refer to Najib’s RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal instead

Ever since the beginning of this year, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had been declaring that his twin mega scandals were no more issues as they had been “resolved”.

In a way, Najib is right, as his RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal is no more an issue as it has been replaced by an even bigger RM4.2 billion donation scandal.

Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal has become history, and we should now talk about Najib’s RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal!

It is sad that Malaysians have to piece together from various bits and pieces of information in the public domain to get a handle of the scale and monstrosity of Najib’s twin mega scandals, as the Prime Minister and his Ministerial cohorts in Parliament have simply refused to give a proper, full and satisfactory accounting about the twin mega scandals even in Parliament.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 45-minute Four Corners’ documentary “State of Fear: Murder and Money in Malaysia” on Monday has helped many Malaysians to realize that there were actually three separate tranches of deposits into Najib’s personal banking accounts at AmBank, pre the RM2.6 billion donations, the RM2.6 billion donations itself and post-RM2.6 billion donations, viz:

(i) some US$300 million from 2011 to March 2013;

(ii) two transactions in March 2013 totalling US$681 (the often-reported RM2.6 billion political donation) – bringing the total deposited into Najib’s accounts to US$1.03 billion (RM4.14 billion) by April 10, 2013, just over a month prior to the 13th General Election; and

(iii) deposits of £50 million (RM285 million) as well as “a series of cash deposits” in June 2014 and after.

Najib had never contradicted these facts and figures, elevating Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal into at least RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal. Read the rest of this entry »


Two Abdulaziz – one Najib’s ‘donor’, other a convicted murderer

30th March 2016

Was one of the Saudi princes who allegedly put millions of US dollars into Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s personal bank accounts the former Madinah governor or a convicted murderer?

Such could be the question for some viewers of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) report on a letter purportedly from a Saudi royalty, telling Najib “to do as he pleases” with the generous donation the said prince supposedly donated, no strings attached, into the prime minister’s private bank accounts.

This is because the letterhead of that purported letter states that the missive is from the private office of “Saud Abdulaziz Majid al Saud” while the letter itself is supposedly signed by “HRH Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud”.

It should be noted that Prince Abdulaziz Majid is the grandson of the late King Abdulaziz – the first monarch of the House of Saud. He was the governor of the holy city of Madinah at the time the letter was dated, which is Nov 1, 2011.

Prince Abdulaziz Majid’s father is Prince Majid Abdulaziz, the son of King Abdulaziz.

However, confusion may arise if someone were to search for “Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud” or Prince Abdulaziz, as there is another Saudi prince of the same name who is a convicted murderer, and was serving a life sentence in the UK for the murder of his manservant at the time the letter was issued.

This prince, the one convicted of murder, is Prince Saud Abdulaziz Nasir Al-Saud, who has since been reportedly repatriated to the Middle Eastern kingdom to serve his sentence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Interesting revelations by ABC Australia

Baru Bian
30th March 2016

On Monday, ABC Australia aired an episode of their programme Four Corners, detailing the shocking events surrounding the 1MDB scandal. The prime minister of Malaysia is alleged to have received vast amounts of money by improper means.

Yesterday morning, in a report entitled ‘Najib Razak 1MDB Scandal: Malaysian Prime Minister’s accounts triggered internal money-laundering alarm’, ABC News disclosed that Najib’s account received more than US$1 billion in two years and that millions were spent on luxury hotels, cars and jewellery.

What was interesting was the disclosure that Najib used this money in his account to fund ‘political affiliates’ in the run up to the 2013 general election, naming the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) as one of the recipients of the PM’s tainted money. This is a serious matter which the leaders of SUPP must explain to the public. There are legal and ethical issues about being the recipient of the proceeds of corruption.

Besides that, one must ask what price the PM extracted from SUPP for his generosity. Blind and unquestioning support? Is this why the leaders of SUPP have not made any stand about the 1MDB scandal?

The other question that springs to mind is this: did the other BN component parties receive similar handouts from Najib? If SUPP was a recipient, it is logical to assume that the other BN parties were also on the receiving end of Najib’s generosity. This means that they are all beholden to Najib. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib Razak 1MDB scandal: Malaysian Prime Minister’s accounts triggered internal money-laundering alarm

Exclusive by Linton Besser, Elise Worthington and Jaya Balendra
ABC News
29th March 2016

So much money was pouring so rapidly into the Malaysian Prime Minister’s personal bank accounts that it rang internal money-laundering alarms inside AmBank, a major Malaysian institution part-owned by Australia’s ANZ.

Hundreds of millions of dollars were being wired into Najib Razak’s accounts from the Saudi Arabian Government, a mysterious Saudi prince and two shadowy British Virgin Island companies, while the head of a Malaysian state-owned company topped up the Prime Minister’s credit card accounts with millions of Malaysian ringgit in cash.

Mr Najib’s Platinum Mastercard and Platinum Visa had been overdrawn thanks to a 3,320,670.65 ringgit ($US1,039,369.91) purchase of jewellery in September 2014 — a spending spree described inside AmBank as a “huge volume”.

Mr Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor has previously been reported to have purchased a series of luxury items, from diamond jewellery to designer handbags, which appear beyond her husband’s $A130,000 official annual salary.

Between opening his account at AmBank on January 13, 2011 and April 10, 2013, Mr Najib received a total of more than $US1 billion — or, more precisely, $US1,050,795,451.58 — including a series of individual deposits that ranged between $US9 million and $US70 million.

Inside the bank, the Malaysian Prime Minister’s account was held under the codename “Mr X”.

The startling new banking records have been obtained as part of a Four Corners program that aired last night, and which resulted in the arrest of two members of its team, Linton Besser and cameraman Louie Eroglu. Read the rest of this entry »

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Guan Eng’s bungalow, Taman Manggis deal: BN, you are hollow and hypocritical!

by P Ramakrishnan
29 Mar 2016

A person can choose to sell his property at whatever price he wants to sell. It is his prerogative.

It can be way below market value or far above the market price. It is his property and it is his decision. That is not criminal in nature and he has not committed any crime in doing so.

However, if his property was sold below market value in order to receive kickbacks in return, then it is something else. Whatever kickback he gets out of this deal not only will make good what he had lost in the sale, but he will also reap a greater profit from it. That would involve corruption.

The MP for Tasek Glugor, Shabudin Yahya, had implied an element of corruption in the purchase of a house allegedly bought at below market price by the chief minister of Penang. Shabudin had claimed that the purchase of the house in 2015 had links to the 2012 sale of a piece of state government land in Taman Manggis to the private company Kuala Lumpur International Dental Centre Sdn Bhd (KLIDC).

In other words, it was imputed that that piece of land in Taman Manggis was sold below market price in 2012 so that Guan Eng could get his bungalow below market price – three years later – in 2015 as a favour for selling the land cheaply. If that indeed was the case – and if it could be proven conclusively – then there is no question that a corrupt act had taken place.

But is that the case? Mere speculation does not become a fact. Read the rest of this entry »


Will Mahathir and Anwar’s uneasy alliance unseat Najib?

Yang Razali Kassim
East Asia Forum
22 March 2016

The unthinkable is happening in Malaysian politics. Former prime minister Mahathir Mohammad and his jailed former deputy Anwar Ibrahim have joined hands in a seemingly impossible alliance to unseat Prime Minister Najib Razak. Never before in Malaysian history have such sworn enemies buried their hatchets for a common cause.

By launching his rainbow ‘core group’ of concerned citizens of various political stripes and leanings to ‘Save Malaysia’, Mahathir has once again thrust himself into the eye of the political storm. With Anwar still in jail, the disparate forces that opposed Najib over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) investment fund scandal have finally found someone of stature to rally around in a marriage of convenience. It is ironic that the man who crushed the opposition while in power has reinvented himself in retirement as the de facto leader of what in essence is a citizens’ revolt.

Mahathir himself described this as a ‘very strange group of people’, brought together by a common goal of ousting the scandal-hit prime minister. By calling it a ‘core group’, Mahathir is indicating that this is only the beginning of more moves to come. What could emerge down the road is still hazy. But it is safe to say that a new era in Malaysian politics is unfolding with the key players jostling for a place in the shifting ground. Read the rest of this entry »

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