Archive for category Financial Scandals

The U.S. Is Preparing to Charge Financier Jho Low in Malaysian 1MDB Scandal

By BRADLEY HOPE and TOM WRIGHT
Wall Street Journal
March 21, 2017

U.S. authorities intend to file criminal charges against Mr. Low, according to people familiar with the investigation, but haven’t disclosed potential timing

U.S. authorities intend to file criminal charges against a financier in connection with an international scandal rooted in Malaysia that they believe could be one of the largest financial frauds ever, according to people familiar with the matter.

The scandal involves a state fund called 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, and the focus of the criminal investigation is Jho Low, a flamboyant financier the U.S. Justice Department portrayed in civil asset-seizure lawsuits last July as central to an alleged plot to siphon billions of dollars from the fund.

The civil suits, which are proceeding separately from the criminal probe, seek more than $1 billion of assets, including van Gogh and Monet paintings and luxury real estate in New York and Los Angeles, allegedly bought with stolen money. The Justice Department is currently seeking to add recently discovered Low family property to the list of assets it is trying to seize, including a yacht Mr. Low controls, the $165 million, 300-foot, helipad-equipped Equanimity, people familiar with the U.S. investigation said.

In addition, Singapore has been building a potential criminal case against Mr. Low, said a person involved in the city-state’s investigation. A Justice Department team has just finished a visit to Singapore to conduct interviews related to Mr. Low and other aspects of the 1MDB matter, said two people familiar with the trip. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tony Pua has won 2-0 in the first round of “Open Letter War” with Johari Abdul Ghani – would the second Finance Minister dare to try to gain the upper hand in new rounds of “Open Letter War”?

I would adjudge DAP PJ MP for PJ Utara Tony Pua as having won 2-0 in the first round of “Open Letter War” with second Finance Minister, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani.

Would the second Finance Minister dare to try to gain the upper hand in new rounds of “Open Letter War” with Pua?

Johari made three critical mistakes in his opening salvo of the “Open Letter War” with Tony.

No patriotic Malaysian would endorse Johari’s call to Pua to give the 1MDB scandal “a rest”, allegedly on the ground that “the folks of Petaling Jaya Utara elected you (Pua) as their MP to do better things than just being obsessed with 1MDB”.

I believe the voters of PJ Utara, as well as patriotic Malaysians all over the country, want Pua and DAP leaders not to fly the white flag but to continue to demand accountability and good governance over the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal – or Malaysians must be resigned to the mockery, ridicule and odium of the world in living in a global kleptocracy.

I am prepared to organize a series of walkabouts in PJ Utara and accompany Johari and Pua to visit the people of PJ Utara to ascertain whether they want the 1MDB issue to given “a rest” on the ground that their MP should not be “obsessed” with 1MDB.

All that Johari needs to do is to give the signal that he is prepared to take part in such a 1MDB walkabout of PJ Utara, and I will arrange the rest. Read the rest of this entry »

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I do not endorse Kuan Yau’s language on his Facebook which is vulgar, vituperative and vitriolic but it is no crime and no basis to arrest him or to deploy scarce police resources against him

I was shocked to learn of “Superman” Hew Kuan Yau’s arrest by the police in Penang on my way from Parliament to Malim Nawar, on the basis of a police report by Johor Jaya MCA branch.

He will be brought down from Penang to Johor Baru by the police for investigations against him.

I visited Kuan Yau’s Facebook as it was the subject of Johor Jaya MCA police report report against Kuan Yaw.

I do not endorse Kuan Yaw’s language on his Facebook which is vulgar, vituperative and vitriotic but it is no crime, and definitely no basis to arrest him or to deploy scarce police resources against him.

On the way here, I read of the Open Letter by the second Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani to DAP MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua, calling for “ceasefire” on the 1MDB scandal and suggesting that everybody should give the 1MDB scandal a “rest”.

While I look forward to Tony Pua’s reply to Johari tomorrow, I do not think that national interests will be served by giving a “rest” to the 1MDB international money-laundering scandal when every day the 1MDB scandal is making waves and news headlines all over the world – as it is the largest kleptocratic scandal in the world in recent times. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia is deeply mired in a “kleptocratic culture” when a person removed as Minister for money politics and corruption could be appointed FELDA Chairman for five years

Malaysia is deeply mired in a “kleptocratic culture” when a person removed as a Minister for money politics and corruption could be appointed FELDA Chairman for five years. And he is still today the top man of a key FELDA conglomerate!

It is this kleptocratic culture, unknown in Malaysia under the first five Prime Ministers of the country, which has plunged the country into the infamy and ignominy of being regarded and ridiculed worldwide as a “global kleptocracy”.

There had been problems of good governance and democracy in the relationship between the Felda settlers and the Felda bureaucracy in the early years of Felda, and I had spoken on these Felda ssues in Parliament in the very first year that I entered Parliament 45 years ago in 1972, but Felda problems and grievances never reached the kleptocratic level as in the past several years.

This is clear and evident when we see Felda brought low by a sea of problems, not only with many important Felda officials arrested and charged for corruption by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (which is probably only the tip of the iceberg of the problem of kleptocracy in Felda) but the slew of FELDA problems besetting Felda settlers, whether concerning Felda Global Ventures (FGV), Perumahan Generasi Kedua, GSA, education, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB Dormant Amid Global Probe

finews.com
16 March 2017

1MDB: The Year of Reckoning

As the international investigation into the billion-dollar graft scandal at 1MBD deepens, the Malaysian fund itself is remarkably calm. The country’s political opposition faces an uphill battle to change that.

1MDB, which is ultimately under the purview of Prime Minister Najib Razak, has been an island of calm amid a sprawling investigation which has shuttered two banks in Singapore, jailed and barred bankers, and revealed an asset haul including a now-grounded private jet and financing for a Hollywood blockbuster co-produced by the PM’s stepson.

The fund’s board hasn’t met in nearly one year, nor validated any profit-and-loss accounts for a whopping five years, Tony Pua, a spokesman for Malaysia’s opposition, said in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, according to «Sarawak Report».

Razak and Malaysia have insisted that 1MDB didn’t suffer any damages, a view that is echoed among legally-minded bankers in Singapore. This view is difficult to reconcile with the depth, scale and detail of the U.S. probe, the largest kleptocracy investigation in the country’s history. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let Najib show Malaysians the money trail of RM2.6 billion “donation” into his personal banking account – where the monies came from and where they have gone to – during Ministers’ Winding up in Parliament next week

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Parliament yesterday that Saudi Arabian King Salman’s visit to Malaysia had put to rest lies about Malaysia.

I do not know what Najib was referring to, but there is no doubt that to the 31 million Malaysians, the most important question which King Salman could have cleared up and “put to rest” and which he failed to do, is about the RM2.6 billion “donation” deposited into Najib’s personal banking accounts before the 13th General Election in March 2013.

The Prime Minister had said that the extraordinary amount of RM2.6 billion was a “donation” from the Saudi Arab royal family, although this is doubted not only by informed opinion in Malaysia but the whole wide world as well.

When I spoke in Parliament yesterday in the royal address, I said that UMNO Ministers and leaders have been trying to exploit the four-day visit of King Salman of Saudi Arabia to Malaysia as proof that there was nothing hanky-panky about the RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal banking account in 2013, and even claiming that Salman’s silence could only mean confirmation that the RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal banking account had come from Saudi Arab royal circles.

I had in Parliament described such claims are “nonsensical and preposterous”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on all Malaysian youths, regardless of race or religion, to lead a “Malaysia Reset” national movement on the 60th Merdeka celebrations to make the country a world-class nation

This year Malaysians celebrate the 60th National Day anniversary to mark the historic day on August 31, 1957 when Malaya achieved Independence and set out as an independent and sovereign nation in the international community, leading to the formation of Malaysia 57 years ago on Sept. 16, 1963.

Malaysia was second after Asia in terms of prosperity and income when we achieved independence in 1957. Had we built on our advantages, assets, resources and talents in the last sixty years?

Malaysia achieved global prominence on the occasion of our 60th National Day anniversary – when we achieved the infamy of becoming a global kleptocracy.

In the November meeting of Parliament, I asked Barisan Nasional MPs whether they know the meaning of “kleptocracy”. I said “kleptocracy” is a government of 3Ps – Pencuri, Perompak and Penyamun.

Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said there is a fourth P – Penyangak.

What is most shocking is that the Najib Government has put up a great pretence – becoming a “Great Pretender” – that the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal does not exist although almost every other day, it is making waves and world headlines in other parts of the world with new developments and angles of the largest kleptocratic money-laundering in recent times.

As I said in Parliament yesterday, just google “1MDB” on any browser on the Internet, and you will get millions of results on the seacrh for “1MDB” within seconds. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why must every Minister in Najib’s Cabinet end up making dumb and asinine statement like the one by second Finance Minister Johari on Mahathir-Nazri debate on 1MDB scandal?

One question which has been bugging today is why every Minister in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Cabinet must end up making dumb and asinine statements like the one by the second Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani on the Mahathir-Nazri debate on the 1MDB scandal.

Firstly, how can Johari claim that the Mahathir-Nazri debate on the 1MDB scandal has “nothing to do” with the government?

It is precisely because of the 1MDB scandal which has caused Malaysia to be ridiculed world-wide as a global kleptocracy, making Malaysians ashamed when abroad to declare that they are Malaysians as other questions like, who is MO1 and why the Malaysian government is doing nothing about the international 1MDB money-laundering scandal, will follow suit.

Secondly, how can Johari say that that the 1MDB scandal had been “debated extensively in Parliament” when MPs are not even allowed to ask questions about the 1MDB scandal, when almost every other day, the 1MDB scandal is continuing to make headlines in other countries almost every other day?

For the record, Parliament has never conducted any debate on the 1MDB scandal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pro-BN Swiss PR guy fired by University arm in Geneva

The Independent
Singapore
March 11, 2017

Nicolas Giannakopoulos got fired, said Swiss newspaper Le Temps, which also said the former deputy director of the University Security Observatory in Geneva (OUS) is being investigated for his role in a pro-1MDB seminar held in Geneva.

The focus of the enquiry is the origin of the funds he invested in a seminar on Malaysia’s scandal rigged 1MDB, which is considered the biggest financial scandal of the decade.

Giannakopoulos, who is also the President of the Observatory of Organized Crime (OCO), claimed to Sarawak Report that he organised the event to discuss the real issues behind the 1MDB and that he is working for the Office of the Swiss Attorney General (OAG).

In an email response to The Independent a couple of days ago, the OAG said it does not deal with individuals who are irrelevant to the 1MDB or to any other investigation it is engaged in. Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB issues not discussed with irrelevant parties: Swiss AG

The Independent
Singapore
March 10, 2017

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) denied that it discussed confidential matters regarding the 1MDB scandal with any individuals.

The response from the OAG is in reply to The Independent’s request for clarification on a Swiss citizen claiming to have had such discussions with the Swiss AG.

The Independent carried a report yesterday on claims by Sarawak Report that it was duped into taking part in a pro-Malaysian government seminar on 1MDB. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sarawak Report tricked into BN’s ‘Black Ops’ PR stint?

The Independent
Singapore
March 9, 2017

Sarawak Report, the blog that officially broke the scandalous 1MDB story said yesterday that it might have been the victim of a Malaysian government’s ‘Black Ops’ in England.

Along with the blog’s editor Claire Rewcastle Brown, the major opposition parties in Malaysia was also conned believing an event held in Switzerland was an open forum to discuss critical issues related to 1MDB and its harmful impacts.

In a lengthy detail of the what it called the ‘undercover ops’ headed by a PR firm close to the Barisan Nasional (BN) government in Malaysia, the Sarawak Report editor narrates the facts and pins the blame on Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Read the rest of this entry »

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The ousting of South Korean President by Parliament and an unanimous decision by eight judges is sober reminder to Malaysians of the need to restore rule of law and separation of powers where we can also impeach the Prime Minister if he runs afoul of the law and the Constitution

The biggest news today is not North Korea but South Korea, the unanimous decision by eight judges of South Korea’s Constitutional Court endorsing the decision of the South Korean Parliament to impeach and remove President Park Geun-hye from office over a graft scandal involving the country’s conglomerates.

Park becomes South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office, capping months of paralysis and turmoil over the corruption scandal that also landed the head of the Samsung conglomerate in detention and on trial.

As Lee Tae-ho, who leads a movement to oust Park that has held mostly peaceful rallies in downtown involving millions, told a large gathering in Seoul earlier today: “We did it. We the citizens, the sovereign of this country, opened a new chapter in history.”

Park was stripped of her powers after parliament voted to impeach her but has remained in the president’s official compound.
The court’s acting chief judge, Lee Jung-mi, said Park had violated the constitution and law “throughout her term”, and despite the objections of parliament and the media, she had concealed the truth and cracked down on critics.

South Korea’s Constitutional Court ruling to uphold parliament’s Dec. 9 vote to impeach her marks a dramatic fall from grace of South Korea’s first woman president.

She no longer has immunity and could now face criminal charges over bribery, extortion and abuse of power in connection with allegations of conspiring with her friend, Choi Soon-sil.

What is significant and remarkable is that the Seoul market’s benchmark KOSPI index .KS11 and the South Korean won currency rose after the ruling by the Constitutional Court.

As a senior economist and analyst explained it, “the hope is that this will allow the country to have a new leader that can address long-standing challenges such as labor market reforms and escalated geopolitical tensions.”

What happened in South Korea – the ousting of South Korean President by Parliament and an unanimous decision by eight judges – is a sober reminder to Malaysians of the need to restore rule of law and separation of powers in Malaysia where we can also impeach the Prime Minister if he runs afoul of the law and the Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on all patriotic Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or politics to unite in 14 GE to “Write History, Create Miracle” to “Save Malaysia” from kleptocracy and hurtling towards a failed and rogue state

Tonight’s good crowd at the Bersatu Pribumi Ceramah Perdana is a good beginning for a nation-wide movement to “Save Malaysia” from now to the next General Election expected to be held this year, probably in September.

I call on all patriotic Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or even politics, to unite in the 14GE to “Write History, Create Miracle” to “Save Malaysia” from kleptocracy and hurtling towards a failed and rogue state.

I said in Parliament in November that kleptoracy is a government of 3Ps – Pencuri, Perompak and Penyamun.

I do not think any patriotic Malaysian, regardless of race, religion, region or even politics, want Malaysia to become a kleptocracy and they become citizens of 3P kleptocracy.

I had put a question at the current meeting of Parliament asking the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, as to what steps the government has taken to cleanse and restore the good name and reputation on Malaysia from being regarded as a global kleptocracy.

Unfortunately, instead of answering one of the most important questions confronting Malaysians today, my question was rejected by the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia as violating Standing Order 23(1)© which states that “a question shall not contain any argument, interference, opinion, imputation, epithet or misleading, ironical or offensive expression nor shall a question be frivolous or asked seeking information on trivial matters”. Read the rest of this entry »

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King Salman could not say RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal banking account was his donation because Saudi Arabian king knows that the US DOJ legal suit to confiscate US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets had traced the “to and fro” money trail of the RM2.6 billion

UMNO Ministers and leaders have been trying to exploit the four-day visit of King Salman of Saudi Arabia to Malaysia as proof that there was nothing hanky-panky about the RM2.6 billion in the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal banking account in 2013, and even claiming that Salman’s silence could only mean confirmation that the RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal banking account had come from Saudi Arab royal circles.

These claims are of course nonsensical and preposterous, and as I said in Johor Baru four days ago, the most significant thing about King Salman’s visit to Malaysia was not what was said or done by the Saudis, including the signing of the US$7 billion (RM31 billion) agreement by Saudi Aramco to take a 50 per cent stake in Petronas’ Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project in Pengerang but what was not said about the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal bank accounts.

I am not surprised that an UMNO leader said that this was my most “dungu” (idiotic) remark to date, for what intellectual capability can one expect from the UMNO leadership when an UMNO Minister could tell ten lies in a short five-paragraph statement while the UMNO Information leader could tell more than eight lies in another short statement, and both of them dared not accept my challenge to a joint media conference for me to point out their lies one by one?

UMNO leaders who claim the Saudi Arabia’s King Salman’s visit to Malaysia is a sort of vindication of Najib’s innocence in the RM2.6 billion donation scandal have too low an opinion of both King Salman and the Malaysian public.

There is no way that Salman is unaware of Najib’s RM2.6 billion donation and RM52 billion 1MDB scandal is Najib’s greatest Achilles’ heel. Just google-search “1MDB” and you will get 3.7 million results in 2.8 seconds.

The reason why Salman could not say RM2.6 billion in Najib’s personal banking account was his donation is very simple – the Saudi Arabian king knows that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal suit to confiscate US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets, is a public document in black and white, and it had traced in detail the “to and fro” “money trail” of the so-called RM2.6 billion “donation”, establishing beyond a shadow of doubt that they could not be a donation from Saudi Arabian royal circles. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jho Low, Victim of His Own Success?

finews.asia
Friday, 3 March 2017

Malaysian financier Jho Low is alleged to be the mastermind behind the convoluted labyrinth of offshore vehicles involved in pilfering billions from 1MBD. Has he done too good a job at hiding the assets?

U.S. prosecutors allege that billions were pilfered from Malaysia’s 1MDB. Instead of financing the country’s development, prosecutors allege that millions were spent on luxury hotels like the Park Lane in New York, fine art by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, a recording catalogue and even financing for the Hollywood blockbuster «The Wolf of Wall Street».

The scandal has engulfed Swiss banks, many of whom acted as a pass-through in Singapore for money to move elsewhere, though the scandal has also reached Zurich itself.

The fate of hundreds millions in luxury assets is currently being duked out in a Los Angeles courtroom, where Jho Low and his family are trying to stop assets being seized by U.S. officials. Read the rest of this entry »

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Most significant thing about King Salman of Saudi Arabia’s four-day visit is not what was said or done by the Saudis, but what was not said about the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal bank accounts

King Salman of Saudi Arabia’s four-day visit to Malaysia has ended.

The most significant thing about King Salman’s visit to Malaysia is not what was said or done by the Saudis, including the signing of the US$7 billion (RM31 billion) agreement by Saudi Aramco to take a 50 per cent stake in Petronas’ Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project in Pengerang but what was not said about the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal bank accounts.

Three days ago, a “kangkong” professor said that the Saudi King’s visit vindicated the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the RM2.6 billion donation in his personal bank accounts.

He said: “Previously, there was a leader who said that even a mad Arab would not give such a colossal sum. But the presence of King Salman is sufficient to prove Najib was telling the truth that the RM2.6 billion was a donation from the Saudi royal family.”

It is fortunate that this “kangkong” professor did not end up as a judge, as no sane or rational person could understand his “perverse illogic”.

The argument that King Salman would not have set foot in Malaysia if Najib had “slandered” the Saudi royal family does not hold water, for how can King Salman omit an OIC country like Malaysia in a month-long Asian tour, covering six other countries, viz Indonesia, Brunei, Japan, China, Maldives and Jordan – four of which are members of the Organisation of Islamic States (OIC)?

What was most conspicuous in Salman’s visit is the Saudi Arabian silence and refusal to confirm that the RM2.6 billion in Najib’s private banking accounts came from the Saudi royal family. Read the rest of this entry »

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An important note for 60th National Day celebrations – Najib has achieved in eight years what none of the five previous Prime Ministers had done in 52 years

Malaysia will be celebrating our 60th National Day celebrations on August 31, 2017.

It will be an important note for our 60th National Day celebrations that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has achieved in eight years what none of the five previous five Prime Ministers – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah – had done in 52 years.

Firstly, Malaysia has become a global kleptocracy since Najib became Prime Minister in April 2009.

Although Najib and his Cabinet keep up a pretence and a façade that the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal does not exist, the “ghost” of the 1MDB scandal would not go away, for almost every other day, there would be new developments resulting in 1MDB world headlines in some part of the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Danger of Najibizing Malaysia’s Foreign Policy

By Prashanth Parameswaran
The Diplomat
February 15, 2017

Recent controversies over the country’s foreign policy decisions are the product of a broader problem.

On February 2, Malaysia revived a decades-old dispute with neighboring Singapore over the islet of Pedra Branca/Batu Puteh, complicating a historically rocky bilateral relationship that has been stable of late. Though Malaysia claimed that the application to revise the 2008 International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgement that was in Singapore’s favor is grounded in its discovery of newly unearthed documents, some dismissed the move as posturing by the government led by Prime Minister Najib Razak ahead of Malaysia’s upcoming elections.

While Malaysian officials have rejected claims that the decision was politically motivated, the truth matters less than the doubts being raised. The reemergence of the dispute is just the latest example the reveals a more fundamental problem: that the perception Najib is acting in his own personal interest rather than the national interest is increasingly undermining the execution of Malaysia’s foreign policy. Though this perceived “Najibization” of Malaysia’s foreign policy may benefit certain groups, it also poses greater dangers for the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB Roils Opaque Fine Art Market

finews.asia
22 February 2017

Scandal-engulfed 1MDB has roiled the opaque market for fine art, an $64 billion industry where deals of several hundred thousand dollars can be clinched with no questions asked.

Jho Low allegedly spent millions on a Hollywood film, penthouses, luxury hotels, a recording company – and fine art. Last year, Monet’s «Water Lilies with Reflections of Tall Grass» was seized in a Swiss freeport as part of an investigation into alleged graft at 1MDB.

Freeports, one of the last remaining vestiges of Swiss private banking secrecy, have come under increased scrutiny – as now has the art world. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nor Mohd Yakcop should resign or be sacked or suspended as Khazanah Nasional Deputy Chairman if the Cabinet is serious about probe into Bank Negara forex losses in the 1990s

Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop should resign or be sacked or suspended as Khazanah Nasional Bhd Deputy Chairman if the Cabinet is serious about probe into Bank Negara foreign exchange (forex) losses in the 1990s.

This is because Nor Mohamed Yakcop was the chief operator of Bank Negara’s forex speculation which resulted in colossal losses which could total some RM30 billion.

Former Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said when he appeared in court yesterday that Nor Mohamaed Yakcop was complicit in the Bank Negara forex losses in early 1990s when the latter was then a senior Bank Negara official.

He made a revelation when he said that as Finance Minister at the time, he had asked for Nor’s resignation but this was not allowed. Read the rest of this entry »

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