Archive for December 3rd, 2016

Why is 1MDB scandal which made Malaysia a “global kleptocracy” allowed to be the “elephant in the room” throughout the five-day UMNO Assemblies, causing Najib and UMNO to lose all political credibility and moral authority as Malaysian Prime Minister and leading political party respectively?

Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s UMNO Presidential speech has been shocker. But the five-day UMNO General Assemblies are a greater shocker.

I fully agree with the head of the Pakatan Harapan Secretariat and former Deputy Higher Education Minister, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah that Najib has made a grave error in using racial connotations at the UMNO General Assembly as it has disastrous racial implications.

Saifuddin is spot-on when he said firstly, that Najib had made baseless accusations against DAP as though DAP is anti-Malay and anti-Islam party; and secondly, Najib has compounded his error as DAP does not dictate matters in Pakatan Harapan, which is led collectively by the three component parties, DAP, PKR and Amanah.

The Pahang State Assembly Opposition Leader and DAP Pahang Assemblyman for Mentakab, Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, has responded to Najib’s speech at the UMNO General Assembly declaring that he would have left DAP long ago if DAP had been anti-Malay or anti-Islam.

In actual fact, Tengku Zulpuri said Najib’s accusation was completely baseless as the DAP-led Penang State Government had brought many benefits to the Malays and promoted Islam in Penang State.

Tengku Zulpuri’s view has been endorsed by the former Penang Deputy Chief Minister and former Agriculture Deputy Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Sharif Omar who said that the Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng “lebih banyak menjaga kebajikan rakyat Pulau Pinang, termasuk kaum Melayu di negeri itu berbanding pemimpin sebelum ini” and “tidak ada satu pun tindakan DAP yang menunjukkan parti tersebut anti-Melayu sepanjang Pakatan Harapan memimpin Pulau Pinang sejak tahun 2008”. Read the rest of this entry »


End the Corporate Shell Games

Leslie Caldwell
NOV 30, 2016

Leaders from around the globe will converge Thursday in Panama City to discuss the next steps in the international fight against corruption.

That meeting will highlight for the world — and for our newly elected president and Congress — that the U.S. is in danger of falling behind our global partners in preventing the flow of illicit money through our financial markets. We have failed to enact legislation that would require the disclosure of the people behind legal entities — legislation that would assist law enforcement in stopping those who corrupt the U.S. and international financial systems.

It is no secret that the U.S. financial system is an attractive playground: We have the deepest, most liquid and most stable markets, and criminals seek to use the tools of our financial and banking systems to serve their illicit purposes. For an illegal enterprise to succeed, criminals must be able to hide, move and get access to their proceeds without detection. And when they are successful, their actions serve as a dual threat: Their criminal conduct itself can threaten the safety and security of all citizens, and their use of the financial and banking systems to hide their gains — or to fund additional criminal conduct — undermines the integrity of those systems.

One prominent example is a case the Justice Department filed seeking to forfeit and recover more than $1.2 billion in assets that were involved in, or traceable to, an international conspiracy to launder funds stolen from the people of Malaysia. The government of Malaysia wholly owns 1Malaysia Development Bhd., a strategic investment and development fund. As alleged in the complaint, over a six-year period, 1MDB associates took more than $3.5 billion from the development fund to purchase luxury condominiums, a $35 million jet, expensive works of art and a motion picture company that used the money to finance, among other things, the production of “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Read the rest of this entry »

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UMNO General Assembly: Worst Display of Political Extremism and Bodek-ism

Koon Yew Yin
December 3, 2016

Every year when the UMNO General Assembly takes place, we can be sure that there will be speakers looking for cheap publicity who will use the occasion to make stupid and ridiculous charges against the so-called enemies of the race – meaning enemies of UMNO.

We have seen again and again this same spectacle of the leading political party in the country show to Malaysians and the rest of the world how deep the cancer of racial and religious hatred is within the party.

This year’s GA was no exception or as a Malay friend said to me in describing the proceedings:
“SOS” – “Same Old S__t”.

But in fact there were two important differences from earlier years.

The first is that the prize for extremism and making baseless political allegations and instigating racial and religious fear must go to UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself. It did not from any ordinary ambitious wannabe jaguh kampung.

There is a saying both in China and medieval Europe that “the fish rots from the head down”. How true this is from this year’s UMNO GA.

Personally I never thought I would live to see the day when a top political leader in Barisan would stoop so low to warn his members that “If UMNO falls, we have all sinned”, as one newspaper headlined his speech to the assembly. Read the rest of this entry »

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Abu Dhabi SWF gets entangled in 1MDB scandal

By Bradley Hope and Nicolas Parasie
The Wall Street Journal
02 December 2016

When Barclays needed to raise capital in 2008, the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, known as IPIC, invested more than $5 billion in the UK bank. Through a subsidiary, IPIC acquired holdings in German auto maker Daimler and Swiss commodities powerhouse Glencore. It helped finance the ultraluxury New York skyscraper One57, nicknamed the Billionaire Building.

Driving IPIC was Khadem Al Qubaisi, a nightclub aficionado with slicked-back hair, a taste for the good life and close ties to princes who rule the emirate.

In June, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince abruptly ordered an end to the 32-year-old sovereign wealth fund’s existence as a standalone firm, saying it would be merged with another state entity.

Al Qubaisi? He now sits in an Abu Dhabi jail, fired and under investigation for money laundering, corruption and other possible offenses, according to people familiar with his situation.

Among the deals Al Qubaisi engineered at IPIC was one with 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MDB, the embattled Malaysian state fund from which billions of dollars are missing, at least $800 million of which some investigators have said flowed into personal accounts of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Read the rest of this entry »

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Singapore slaps penalties on StanChart, Coutts in 1MDB-related probe

by Anshuman Daga and Marius Zaharia | SINGAPORE
Dec 2, 2016

Singapore’s central bank imposed penalties on the local units of U.K.-based Standard Chartered (STAN.L) and private bank Coutts for money laundering breaches related to Malaysia’s scandal-tainted 1MDB fund and said it was nearing the end of its probes.

The penalties – of S$5.2 million ($3.65 million) and S$2.4 million, respectively – were the latest punitive measures taken by the central bank in its crackdown on money laundering, having ordered the closure earlier this year of the local units of Swiss banks BSI and Falcon.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is also in the process of issuing a prohibition order against Tim Leissner, Goldman Sachs’ former Southeast Asia chairman.

“These actions send a strong signal that we will not tolerate the abuse of Singapore’s financial system for illicit purposes,” said Ravi Menon, the managing director of MAS.

“The supervisory investigations into the intricate web of international fund flows have been a learning experience for financial institutions as well as for MAS,” he said.

The inspection at Standard Chartered “revealed significant lapses in the bank’s customer due diligence measures and controls for ongoing monitoring,” MAS said.

While the 28 breaches were “serious”, the central bank did not find “wilful misconduct.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Singapore to Ban Former Goldman Banker in Connection With 1MDB Scandal

Wall Street Journal
Dec. 2, 2016

Executive allegedly wrote unauthorized reference letter for Malaysian U.S. authorities say is at the center of fraud at state investment fund

Singapore’s probe into a multibillion-dollar financial scandal touched Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for the first time on Friday as its central bank said it was planning to ban the Wall Street firm’s former top executive in Southeast Asia from operating in the city-state’s financial system for 10 years.

The executive, Tim Leissner, was Goldman’s point man on deals involving Malaysian state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB. The Monetary Authority of Singapore, the central bank, announced the proposed ban on Mr. Leissner after it found he had written a recommendation letter for a Malaysian financier, Jho Low, in June 2015. In it, Mr. Leissner claimed that Goldman had performed due diligence on Mr. Low.

“These statements were untrue and were made by Mr. Leissner without Goldman Sachs’ knowledge or consent,” the MAS statement said.

Goldman Sachs said in a statement Friday that it had discovered the matter in January 2016 and reported it to Singapore authorities. Mr. Leissner left Goldman in February after Goldman put him on leave. Read the rest of this entry »

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