Ironically, it is the UMNO Youth Chief and Youth Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin who has refuted the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s statement on Indonesian television yesterday that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit does not involve him, the Malaysian government or 1MDB directly.
Khairy Jamaluddin told the Sepang Puteri and UMNO Youth annual assembly last night that the US DOJ’s accusatory tone in its lawsuit made it as though the Malaysian Government was a guilty party in their forfeiture suit for over US$1billion 1MDB-linked assets.
He said the US press conference on July 20 on troubled state investment fund 1MDB was to present the findings of their year-long investigations, but the language used were as though Putrajaya had already been convicted.
“The way they announced (their findings) is as though it was a conviction, as though (those named) are already guilty and to be punished.
“The words used showed as though Malaysia and the government are guilty,” Khairy said at the Sepang Puteri and Umno Youth annual assembly last night.
He said this went against the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”.
Isn’t this precisely the reason why inaction by the Prime Minister and the Malaysian government for the past 17 days is untenable and not an option, especially as Malaysian Prime Minister and the nation’s reputation and good name had never been so besmirched and tarnished as by the DOJ’s largest single forfeiture action, making it the largest in the world, as a result of embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption of Malaysia’s national sovereign wealth fund and the country being named overnight as a global kleptocracy?
Unless the Prime Minister is going to deny that “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1”, mentioned 36 times in the DOJ complaint, does not refer to him, and that Malaysia’s reputation and good name have not been besmirched or stained by the DOJ action, how can Najib tell Indonesian television that the US DOJ lawful “does not involve him, the Malaysian government or 1MDB directly”.
The whole DOJ suit, laid out in the 136-page complaint, is about 1MDB.
Paragraph 6 of the DOJ complaint states:
“1MDB was ostensibly created to pursue investment and development projects for the economic benefit of Malaysia and its people, primarily relying on the issuance of various debt securities to fund these projects.
“However, over the course of an approximately four-year period, between approximately 2009 and at least 2013, multiple individuals, including public officials and their associates, conspired to fraudulently divert billions of dollars from 1MDB through various means, including by defrauding foreign banks and by sending foreign wire communications in furtherance of the scheme, and thereafter, to launder the proceeds of that criminal conduct, including in and through U.S. financial institutions.
“The funds diverted from 1MDB were used for the personal benefit of the co-conspirators and their relatives and associates, including to purchase luxury real estate in the United States, pay gambling expenses at Las Vegas casinos, acquire more than $200 million in artwork, invest in a major New York real estate development project, and fund the production of major Hollywood films. 1MDB maintained no interest in these assets and saw no returns on these investments.”
Paragraph 7 said the “criminal conduct” alleged in the complaint occurred in three phases, and Paragraphs 8 – 11 went on to specify these three phases: (i) The “Good Star” phase, from September 2009 to 2011, involving the “fraudulent diversion” of more than US$1 billion from 1MDB to Good Star; (ii) the “Aabar-BVI” phase in 2012 involving the misappropriation and fraudulent diversion of US$1.367 billion; and (iii) the “Tanore” phase in 2013 involving the diversion of more than US$1.26 billion of 1MDB funds.
Paragraph 12 states: “The proceeds of each of these three phases of criminal conduct were laundered through a complex series of transactions, including through banks accounts in Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the United States.”
At the end of the 136-page DOJ lawsuit, there is a sworn “verification” by the Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Robert B. Heuchling “under penalty of perjury” that “I have read the foregoing Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem and know the contents thereof, and that the matters contained in the Verified Complaint are true to the best of my knowledge and belief” and “The sources of my knowledge and information and the grounds of my belief are official files and records of the United States, publicly available files and historical information, information supplied to me by other law enforcement officers, experts and other witnesses, as well as my investigation in this case, together with others, as a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigations”.
As Khairy acknowledged, the US DOJ lawsuit is the outcome of the year-long investigations of the various US authorities into US$3.5 billion embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption of 1MDB funds.
Various Malaysian authorities have also conducted investigations into the 1MDB scandal – the Auditor-General; the Public Accounts Committee (PAC); the Special Task Force on 1MDB comprising four Tan Sris, namely Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail (Attorney-General), Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar (Bank Negara Governor), Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Commissioner) and Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar (Inspector-General of Police) until it was dissolved after the sacking of Gani Patail as Attorney-General on July 28, 2015; the Police, the MACC, Bank Negara, etc.
With the numerous inquiries by the various Malaysian authorities and the information and resources at its command, why is the Prime Minister and the Government unable to issue a White Paper or an official rebuttal to debunk the DOJ complaint about the litany of “criminal conduct”, and in the process clear Malaysia’s name and reputation as a top kleptocracy in the world?
Has the Public Accounts Committee met over the DOJ complaint and consider whether it should issue an updated or revised report on 1MDB to Parliament?