Archive for September 2nd, 2016

What’s a few missing billions among friends: Why Malaysia 1MDB scandal might not dent US ties

Leslie Shaffer

A sweeping U.S. investigation into assets allegedly looted from a state fund in Malaysia has raised the heat on Prime Minister Najib Razik, but it wasn’t entirely clear that would dent the two countries’ ties.

Malaysia’s status as a moderate Muslim-majority nation in Southeast Asia has helped the country develop a solid relationship with the U.S., offering a bulwark against extremism. Indeed, last year, during a visit to Malaysia, U.S. President Barak Obama called the country’s voice “critical” on counter-terrorism efforts.

But the long-running scandal over billions of dollars missing from the Malaysia state fund 1MDB came to roost in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »

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MALAYSIA’S 1MDB SCANDAL – How $1 Billion Made Its Way to the Prime Minister

By Bradley Hope, Tyler Paige, Will Welch, Maryanne Murray and Chris Canipe
Wall Street Journal
Sept. 1, 2016

Investigators say at least $3.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB. Here’s how they believe $1 billion ended up in the bank accounts of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Every time Malaysian government investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MDB, borrowed money, large amounts of the cash were quickly misappropriated, according to investigators. The money followed a circuitous path among private banks, offshore companies and funds, bank records show, and roughly $1 billion landed in the private bank accounts of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

That cash is part of $3.5 billion that was embezzled from 1MDB, according to a U.S. Justice department complaint. Investigators from seven countries are trying to figure out what happened to the money and the U.S. moved to seize $1 billion in property in July, including luxury real estate in New York and Beverly Hills, a private jet and art allegedly purchased with 1MDB money. Singapore has charged a banker with money laundering in relation to 1MDB and Abu Dhabi has arrested and frozen the assets of a top official who was deeply involved with the fund. The banker and the official haven’t commented.

This interactive graphic tracks the route that investigators believe the money took from the time it was raised by 1MDB until it landed in the private bank accounts of Mr. Najib at AmBank Bhd., a Malaysian bank, between 2011 and 2015.

The money was raised on three separate occasions and took three separate paths, sometimes flowing directly, while in other cases it split and took different routes, only to be reunited in the AmBank accounts according to the Justice Department complaint. The cash flowed through Singapore, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, the Seychelles, the British Virgin Islands and Curaçao. Other funds disappear, often into accounts controlled by other players in the scandal, the complaint said.

This description is based on bank-transfer documents, investigative files from two countries, people familiar with transactions and the 136-page Justice Department complaint, which is seeking to seize assets bought with funds misappropriated from 1MDB. Read the rest of this entry »


Now that the government has finally admitted “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” is Najib, what next to protect the good name and reputation of the country and Prime Minister?

Was the admission by the Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Director and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan in his interview with BBC that “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” referred to in the US Department of Justice (DOJ)’s biggest kleptocratic action against 1MDB and Malaysia was Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak a deliberate and intentional act, made with the knowledge, authority and approval of Najib himself and the Cabinet Ministers, or was it unauthorized, unintended and a sheer act of “hubris” infecting government leaders that they have become “untouchable” and could do no wrong or even if they are wrong, they enjoy immunity and impunity as there is nothing the Malaysian people could do about them?

The very fact that Abdul Rahman had to come out with an explanatory statement last evening on his BBC interview would indicate that his admission that “MO1” is none other than Najib had caught the government leadership and the Cabinet, by surprise – although there is no way to ascertain whether Abdul Rahman’s admission had caught Prime Minister himself by surprise.

This is one of the rare occasions where a Minister’s interview through the electronic media had to be followed by a written explanatory statement.

While hewing to the line and admission that the “MO1” is none other than Najib and that “only an idiot doesn’t know who that person was” (how many “idiots” are there in the Cabinet and was Datuk Paul Low, the Minister for “integrity” one of the “idiots”), Abdul Rahman was forced to proclaim his loyalty and fealty to Najib by declaring that “the difference between being named as the subject of a civil lawsuit and merely being referred to in an investigation, is black and white”.

Abdul Rahman cannot be wrong in claiming that the difference between being named as the subject of a civil lawsuit and merely being referred to an investigation is “black and white”, when the difference is more mundane – between a civil action “in rem” from an action “in personam”. Read the rest of this entry »

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