Is Abdul Rahman Dahlan trying to help or hurt Najib, especially on the 1MDB scandal?

Is the Barisan Nasional strategic communications director and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan trying to help or hurt the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, especially on the international 1MDB money-laundering scandal, which has landed the country with the appellation of a “global kleptocracy”?

Or is Abdul Rahman so obtuse or dense that he cannot understand that his way of helping Najib is in fact a most potent way to hurt him, furnishing a life testimony of the saying “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”.

Five days after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its third kleptocratic actions to forfeit a total of US$1.7 billion of 1MDB-linked assets out of US$4.5 billion 1MDB money-laundering, Abdul Rahman held a media conference to ask why the US DOJ implicated Najib’s wife, Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor when it had no plans to seize the 28 jewellery items, which included a pink diamond necklace valued at US$27.3 million?

Abdul Rahman said the insinuation of impropriety of the “wife of MO1”, implying that she had committed a wrongdoing, was unfair targeting of the Prime Minister’s wife – becoming the first person in Malaysia, in government or outside, to publicly to identify the “wife of MO1” as Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor – just as Abdul Rahman was the first person to publicly admit at a BBC interview last September that “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” (“MO1”) was none other than the Prime Minister, Najib himself.

One observation and one correction are in order.

Firstly, Abdul Rahman seems to enjoy falling into the trap of openly admitting that the “wife of MO1” is none other than Rosmah, just as he had openly admitted that “MO1” referred to in the US DOJ kleptocratic forfeitures is none other Najib himself.

Although Abdul Rahman said that “only an idiot doesn’t know who that person was”, no other Cabinet Minister had backed him back to identity “MO1” as Najib.

In fact, the Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein when asked cast doubts on Abdul Rahman’s admission, claiming that “MO1” could be anyone.

Was the Cabinet ever told that “MO1” is Najib and the “wife of MO1” Rosmah, or are these questions forbidden ones in Cabinet?

Apart from Hishammuddin, are all the other Cabinet Ministers, including those from the other Barisan Nasional parties – like the three MCA Ministers, Datuk Seri Liew Tiong Lai, Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan; Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong (Gerakan President) ; Datuk Dr. S. Subramaniam (MIC President); Datuk Fadillah Yusof (PBB Vice President); Datuk M J Ongkili (PBS Deputy President); Wilfred Madius Tangau (UPKO President); Richard Riot Anak Jaem (SUPP Deputy President); Joseph Kurup (President, PBRS); Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun (Deputy President, PRS) – agree with Abdul Rahman that “MO1” is Najib and “wife of MO1” is Rosmah? Dare they state so publicly?

Secondly, Abdul Rahman cannot be more wrong when he said the DOJ suits made an insinuation that 1MDB funds were stolen and money-laundered to purchase the US$27.3 million pink diamond necklace and other 27 pieces of jewellery for Rosmahl

Any reading of the DOJ kleptocratic suits would show that this is no “insinuation” but a bare statement of fact – made very clear, for instance, in the Paragraph 346 of the 958-Paragraph DOJ forfeiture kleptocratic action, viz:

“346. As discussed in Part VI.CC below, a portion of the $620 million that MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 “returned” to the Tanore Account was passed through various additional accounts controlled by TAN and LOW and was ultimately used to purchase a 22-carat pink diamond pendant and necklace for the wife of MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1. The necklace was commissioned in July 2013, after the jeweler met with LOW, HUSSEINY, and the wife of MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 in Monaco. The purchase price of $27,300,000 was paid on or about September 10, 2013, using funds traceable to the $620 million payment from MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 to Tanore.”

But Abdul Rahman pales into the shadow in his infantile defence of “MO1” and “wife of MO1” when compared with the “garbage” churned out by UMNO/BN websites and cybertroopers”, who unconscionably and ceaselessly polluted the public space with lies, falsehoods, fake news, false information, etc.

One such example is the BN Backbenchers Club (BNBBC), a portal representing all the Members of Parliament of the Barisan, which carried a commentary claiming that the US$27.3 million (RM116 million) pink diamond necklace allegedly acquired using stolen 1MDB funds and gifted to the “wife of MIO1”, does not exist in the DOJ kleptocratic suits and was solely concocted by Malaysiakini.

This would be easy to establish, and for the past 24 hours since Malaysiakini had exposed the blatant and brazen lies on the BNBBC website, this particular commentary had not been retracted and withdrawn.

Was the US$27.3 million pink diamond necklace episode a complete concoction of Malaysiakini when it had never been mentioned by the US DOJ in its kleptocratic actions to forfeit 1MDB-linked assets as alleged by BNBBC?

Apart from the above-mentioned Paragraph 346 of the DOJ action, which referred to the commissioning of the pink diamond necklace using money-laundered 1MDB funds for the “wife of MO1” in July 2013, there is a four-page 17-Paragraph section entitled “Low Arrange to Purchase a 22-carat Pink Diamond Necklace for the Wife of MO1 Using Diverted 2013 Bond Proceeds”, giving considerable detail of the purchase of the pink diamond necklace. The following six paragraphs from the DOJ suits are sufficient to show that it is BNBBC and not Malaysiakini which committed the cardinal sin of spreading lies, falsehoods, fake news and false information:

“847. Funds traceable to the diverted proceeds of the 2013 bond sale were used to purchase a 22-carat pink diamond, set in a diamond necklace, (“22-CARAT PINK DIAMOND NECKLACE”) for the wife of MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1. The stone and necklace were purchased from New York-based jeweler and jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz Inc., which specializes in high-end bespoke diamond jewelry. The total purchase price for the stone and necklace was $27,300,000.

“848. On or about June 2, 2013, LOW texted Lorraine Schwartz (“Schwartz”), the proprietor of Lorraine Schwartz, Inc.: “Need a 18 carrot pink heart diamond vivid or slightly short of vivid. On diamond necklace urgent.” By early July of 2013, Schwartz had identified a pink diamond available for purchase, and she discussed with LOW the logistics of making it available for viewing by him and others. Initially, LOW suggested that he would send HUSSEINY to pick up the diamond from Schwartz in New York. Ultimately, Schwartz agreed to show the diamond to LOW and to the “client” in Monaco. At this time, Schwartz did not know the identity of the “client.”

“849. On or about July 5, 2013, Schwartz traveled to Monaco and met LOW aboard the Topaz, one of the largest private yachts in the world. LOW and TAN had chartered the 147-meter yacht for seven days in early July 2013, and according to an invoice submitted to Falcon Bank, they paid €3.5 million for the rental, using proceeds of the 2013 bonds.

“850. Aboard the Topaz, Schwartz showed the pink diamond to a group of people that included LOW, HUSSEINY, the wife of MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1, and one of her friends (“Malaysian Friend”). The group discussed the design of the necklace to hold the 22-carat pink diamond, which itself would be made of smaller diamonds.

“851. On or about September 10, 2013, an email from TAN’s account, with the subject “22 CARAT PINK DIAMOND,” was sent to Schwartz Inc. advising: “pls ensure design, stone, etc. is ready for the VVIP Lorraine met (without stating names) as the VVIP will be in nyc on 23 sept.” An employee of Lorraine Schwartz Inc. responded that the necklace would not be ready by then but that Schwartz would like to “meet the client [to] insure [sic] correct measurement . . . and discuss any final touches needed” on the necklace.

“852. On or about September 28, 2013, Schwartz met again with LOW and the wife of MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 in a hotel suite in the Mandarin Time Warner in New York in order to show them the layout of the necklace that Schwartz had designed. Travel records confirm that the wife of MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 was in New York City at this time. Travel records show that on September 27, 2013, LOW flew from Las Vegas to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey on his jet. Other passengers on that flight included AZIZ, TAN and McFarland…..

“863. The finished 22-CARAT PINK DIAMOND NECKLACE, which included the 22-carat pink diamond as a pendant, was delivered to the Malaysian Friend in Hong Kong on or about March 7, 2014, so that she could deliver it to the wife of MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 in Kuala Lumpur. Records reflect that the Malaysian Friend accepted receipt of the necklace “[o]n behalf of” Blackrock.”

The DOJ kleptocratic suits for the forfeiture of 1MDB-linked assets are available on the Internet, such as the following:

Why were the US$27.3 million 22-carat pink diamond necklace and the other 27 different 18K gold necklaces and bracelets worth US$1.3 million procured with stolen 1MDB funds not on the US DOJ list of forfeitures?

Only US DOJ can give the answer, but may be DOJ needs to establish that the pink diamond necklace and the other 27 pieces of jewellery are in the possession of “wife of MO1”, and Abdul Rahman had been giving immense assistance to DOJ investigations with his admissions on behalf of “wife of MO1”.

American actor Leonardo DiCaprio has turned over an Oscar won by Marlon Brando to DOJ investigators and initiated the return of other, unidentified items that the actor said he accepted as gifts for a charity auction and which originated from 1MDB money-laundering.

This is proof that the DOJ kleptocratic actions to forfeit 1MDB-linked assets are not baseless litigations.

Will “MO1” and “wife of MO1” emulate Leonardo DiCaprio to return the stolen 1MDB funds and the acquisition of various properties from these stolen 1MDB funds to DOJ and eventual return to the people of Malaysia?

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