Archive for July 29th, 2016

1MDB: The inside story of the world’s biggest financial scandal

by Randeep Ramesh
Thursday 28 July 2016

How a jailed former banker and a lone British journalist broke a story that shook the world

On 22 June 2015, Xavier Justo, a 48-year-old retired Swiss banker, walked towards the front door of his brand new boutique hotel on Koh Samui, a tropical Thai island. He had spent the past three years building the luxurious white-stone complex of chalets and apartments overlooking the shimmering sea and was almost ready to open for business. All he needed was a licence.

Justo had arrived in Thailand four years earlier, having fled the drab world of finance in London. In 2011, he and his girlfriend Laura toured the country on a motorbike and, two years later, they got married on a secluded beach. The couple eventually settled down in Koh Samui, a tourist hotspot, just an hour’s flight south of Bangkok. After trying out a couple of entrepreneurial ventures, Justo eventually decided that he would go into the hotel business. He bought a plot with an imposing house and began building: adding a gym, villas and a tennis court.

That June afternoon, he was expecting a visit from the tourism authorities to sign off on the paperwork. Instead, a squad of armed Thai police burst through the unlocked door, bundling Justo to the ground. The officers tied their plastic cuffs so tightly around Justo’s wrists that he bled on the dark tiled floor. The police quickly moved into his office, ripping out the computers and emptying the filing cabinets. Read the rest of this entry »


Will Najib deny he is “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” or will he admit he is being referred to in DOJ legal suits and sue the US Attorney-General Loretta for defamation?

The identity of “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” in the 136-page US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal suits for the forfeiture of over US$1 billion of assets in United States stolen, embezzled or defrauded from 1MDB and the people of Malaysia still await official confirmation.

Although the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has not been named personally in the DOJ legal suits, it is no exaggeration to say that the identity of “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” has received remarkable concurrence whether locally or internationally – that it could only refer to Najib and nobody else.

Will Najib deny he is “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” or will he admit he is being referred to in DOJ legal suits and sue the US Attorney-General Loretta for defamation? Read the rest of this entry »


US Lawsuit Against Malaysia’s 1MDB: Who is ‘Official 1’?

By Mong Palatino
The Diplomat
July 29, 2016

The clues point to only one person.

The United States Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against some individuals accused of using an investment firm owned by the Malaysian government to steal more than $1 billion.

The lawsuit also mentioned a certain “Malaysian Official 1,” prompting many to ask if it refers to Prime Minister Najib Razak since he has control over the 1Malaysian Development Berhad (1MDB) investment firm and his stepson is one of the accused.

The lawsuit aims to recover some 17 assets in the United States, which have been allegedly acquired through 1MDB funds.

U.S. officials said the lawsuit is the “largest single action ever brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.” They vowed to return the funds to the Malaysian people. Read the rest of this entry »


The Guardian view on Malaysian politics: a scandal meriting the world’s attention

28 July 2016

Investigations into the 1MDB development fund and a new security law are both cause for concern

Malaysia’s new security law, due to come into force on Monday, would be alarming at any time. Its sweeping powers permit authorities to declare national security areas which are off-limits to protests, where individuals and premises can be searched without a warrant, and where killings by security forces need not result in formal inquests. Changes to the country’s criminal code, undermining the rights of suspects, are similarly concerning. Human rights groups warn that existing laws, including the colonial-era Sedition Act – which Prime Minister Najib Razak once vowed to repeal – have been used to detain and muzzle critics. The country’s police chief recently warned that protests by electoral reform group Bersih would be permitted only if participants avoided calling for Mr Najib’s resignation.

The government says the National Security Council Act is needed to protect the public from a mounting global terrorism threat. It is striking, however, that it becomes law as the prime minister faces growing pressure and planned protests over the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB development fund scandal, which has snowballed since emerging a year ago. Even his erstwhile patron, former premier Mahathir Mohamad, has joined forces with the opposition in an attempt to oust him. Read the rest of this entry »