Archive for category Financial Scandals

The forthcoming 14GE will decide whether Najib can “outwit” 30 million Malaysians with the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal which has given Malaysia the infamy and ignominy of a “global kleptocracy”

The forthcoming 14th General Election will decide whether the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak can “outwit” 30 million Malaysians with the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal which has given Malaysia the infamy and ignominy of a “global kleptocracy”.

The spurious assertion by the Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak, yesterday that Najib was right in creating the “fake news” that the next general election is a choice between an UMNO-led government and a DAP-led government is one of the tactics and strategies which UMNO/BN leaders and propagandists are relying to “outwit” the Malaysian people that the 1MDB scandal and kleptocracy have nothing to do with 14GE.

Salleh’s blogpost yesterday is part and parcel of the insidious, divisive and disruptive “Great Design” to falsely portray the forthcoming 14th General Election as firstly a battle between Malays and the Chinese; and secondly, that it is a battle between Islam and the enemies of Islam. Read the rest of this entry »

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Singapore Convicts Fifth Person Involved in 1MDB-Related Cases

by Andrea Tan
Bloomberg
May 24, 2017

Kelvin Ang Wee Keng was fined S$9,000 ($6,477) after he admitted that he made a corrupt payment to an analyst in a Singapore case related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd investigations.

Ang, 35, was a broker with Kim Eng Securities Pte until 2015 and made about S$100,000 annually in commissions, prosecutor Vincent Ong said in a Singapore State Court on Wednesday. He was charged a year ago for what authorities said was corruptly giving S$3,000 to a research analyst to speed up the preparation of a favorable valuation report. Read the rest of this entry »

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UMNO’s 71st Anniversary “Superlative Achievement” – Turning Malaysia into a global kleptocracy!

Double felicitations are in order today.

Firstly, to UMNO for its 71st anniversary and its “superlative achievement” in its 71-year history – turning Malaysia into a “global kleptocracy” which no UMNO member or leader, past or present, including the previous six UMNO Presidents, Datuk Onn Jaafar, Tengku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein, Tun Mahathir or Tun Abdullah would have imagined possible in their wildest dreams or would have given their endorsement or approval.

In fact, I believe that the overwhelming majority of the current 3.5 million UMNO members would not have approved or tolerated Malaysia being known world-wide as a “global kleptocracy” if they fully understand the meaning of the term.

Secondly, to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for an unprecedented congratulatory message by the country’s anti-corruption agency to a political party, asking UMNO leaders to serve as role models to the public in the fight against corruption.

But the MACC message is noteworthy, not for what it said but what it did not mention – the elephant in the room, viz. the 1MDB scandal which has given Malaysia the epithet of a “global kleptocracy”! Read the rest of this entry »

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Isn’t Malaysia’s new-found infamy as “global kleptocracy” and MACC’s drive for corruption to be declared as country’s number one enemy a blatant contradiction in terms?

The Chief Commissioner of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad, who launched the “Anti-Corruption Revolution Movement” (GERAH) two days ago, has said in an exclusive interview that the MACC had set a three-year deadline for Malaysia to move high up the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

The question that immediately comes to mind is whether the MACC does not expect any improvement in the TI CPI until three years later in the 2020 TI CPI? Read the rest of this entry »

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Bandar Malaysia fallout: Two relieved of duties, say reports

Trinna Leong
Straits Times
10th May 2017

Minister and 1MDB president are said to be no longer in charge of key projects linked to state fund

The fallout continues over the aborted Bandar Malaysia property development deal, as reports emerged yesterday that key personnel tasked with negotiating the multibillion-dollar project have been relieved of their duties.

Malaysia’s Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani and troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) president Arul Kanda Kandasamy were part of the so-called Budiman committee, a government unit set up to manage restructuring and divestment of 1MDB assets. The Malaysian Insight (TMI) reported that both men and the committee are no longer spearheading 1MDB-linked prime developments in Kuala Lumpur, namely Tun Razak Exchange and Bandar Malaysia.

The news comes after the government’s sudden decision last Wednesday to abort a RM7.41 billion (S$2.4 billion) deal inked in 2015 to jointly develop Bandar Malaysia, the country’s biggest property project on the fringes of Kuala Lumpur, with private conglomerate Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) and China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC). Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib’s upbeat take on 1MDB called into question

Jeevan Vasagar in Singapore
Financial Times
7th May 2017

Property failure and Abu Dhabi deal leave taxpayer on the hook, says MP

In an ebullient New Year’s message, Najib Razak declared that 1MDB’s “major challenges” were behind it. But critics of the Malaysian prime minister have seized on two apparent reversals as evidence that efforts to clear the scandal-hit Malaysian state investment fund’s debts are in disarray.

A crucial part of Mr Najib’s claim was a $1.7bn deal to sell a stake in a Kuala Lumpur property project to a China-backed consortium. That deal has now collapsed, with questions raised about China’s role in vetoing the agreement.

Meanwhile, 1MDB made an agreement earlier this month to pay Ipic, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, $1.2bn to settle an embarrassing dispute in which Ipic was claiming about $6.5bn.

The Malaysian fund is at the centre of multiple global investigations into alleged grand corruption. Swiss investigators allege that up to $4.8bn was diverted from companies linked to 1MDB,which was set up by the Malaysian premier.

“With the latest collapse of the proposed [property project] sale, the entire ‘rationalisation’ exercise . . . hailed by the prime minister and cabinet has been completely unravelled,” said Tony Pua, an MP with the Democratic Action party, Malaysia’s main opposition group. Read the rest of this entry »

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End to 1MDB saga still elusive after Bandar Malaysia setback

Shannon Teoh
Straits Times
8th May 2017

The chief of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Mr Arul Kanda, was last Tuesday personally overseeing the dry run for Prime Minister Najib Razak’s site visit the next day to the Bandar Malaysia development.

Over a year ago, Mr Arul brokered the deal to sell 60 per cent of the upcoming township by 1MDB for RM7.4 billion (S$2.4 billion), one of the main planks of the plan to retire the state firm’s whopping US$11 billion (S$15.5 billion) debt.

But the lavish party to be attended by Datuk Seri Najib and the top brass of the Malaysia-China consortium that bought the stake didn’t happen, as the deal was aborted last Wednesday.

More worryingly for the Malaysian government, another key plank to bury 1MDB’s controversial dealings – a settlement with an Abu Dhabi sovereign fund over a US$6.5 billion claim – still needs a great deal of work.

The past fortnight was supposed to help draw a line under 1MDB’s controversial dealings. It turned out to be two weeks of unfulfilled hopes. Read the rest of this entry »

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On 60th National Day Celebrations in 2017, Malaysians should ask why in the past few years, they feel shy when overseas to admit they are Malaysians, when they had never felt ashamed to do so for 52 years under the first five Prime Ministers?

Malaysia will be celebrating our 60th National Day anniversary in four months’ time.

On the 60th National Day Celebrations in 2017, Malaysians should ask why in the past few years, they feel shy when overseas to admit they are Malaysians, when they had never felt ashamed to do so for 52 years under the first five Prime Ministers?

World-wide, Malaysia is suffering the infamy and ignominy of a global kleptocracy because of the 1MDB international money-laundering scandal, which is the subject of criminal investigations and prosecutions in over half-a-dozen countries except in Malaysia.

In Malaysia, there is a great pretence involving the Prime Minister onwards, affecting the key financial and criminal government departments and agencies, even involving Parliament, that the 1MDB international money-laundering scandal which is making international news headlines almost very other day, does not exist. Read the rest of this entry »

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Broken Bandar Malaysia deal raises questions anew over 1MDB debt’s

Trinna Leong
Straits Times
5th May 2017

The financial troubles surrounding debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) were supposed to fade away quietly before Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called a general election, due by the middle of next year.

But the aborted plan involving the sale of a 60 per cent stake in the country’s largest property project, Bandar Malaysia, has put Malaysia’s public money woes in the news cycle again.

The upcoming 197ha township at the edge of downtown Kuala Lumpur has an estimated sales value of RM150 billion (S$48.5 billion) and will house the last station for the high-speed rail (HSR) line from Singapore. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia and Abu Dhabi strike a deal over 1MDB

Economist
Apr 27th 2017

A mammoth financial scandal is being brushed under the carpet

FOR the past year 1MDB — a Malaysian state investment firm at the heart of one of the world’s biggest financial scandals — has been locked in dispute with IPIC, a sovereign-wealth fund from the oil-rich emirate of Abu Dhabi, with which it was once chummy.

Terse statements released on April 24th suggest the pair are finally making up.

1MDB has agreed to pay IPIC $1.2bn, reportedly to settle a complaint that it reneged on the terms of a bail-out IPIC provided in 2015. The two companies have also agreed to enter into “good-faith discussions” about other disputed payments, which may total as much as $3.5bn. Read the rest of this entry »

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Key lesson of Bank Negara forex losses quarter of a century ago – failure of Ministers, top civil servants, MPs and the press to play their role to uphold the principles accountability and good governance

I am here in response to an invitation by the 1992/3 Bank Negara forex losses special task force for an interview “dengan pihak yang pernah terlibat atau mempunyai sebarang maklumat mengenai urus niaga mata wang asing yang dilakukan oleh BNM sekitar tahun 1990-an”.

I was never terlibat in the Bank Negara forward forex trading and what I knew about the Bank Negara forward forex trading in the early 1990s are public information in my speeches in Parliament on the subject in 1993 and 1994.

Let me state that I stand by my speech in Parliament in April 1994 calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the colossal Bank Negara forex losses, with the following tasks:

• to ascertain Bank Negara’s forex losses since 1992, and whether they could exceed RM30 billion;

• to ascertain whether there had been any financial malpractices and abuses; and

• to establish as to how the Bank Negara could incur such colossal losses.

The Cabinet set up the special task force set up to probe the foreign exchange losses incurred by Bank Negara more than two decades ago but is it really concerned about accountability and good governance principles? Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB-linked Bandar Malaysia property deal falls through

Reme Ahmad
South-east Asia Editor
Straits Times
4th May 2017

Bandar Malaysia, the country’s biggest real estate project, is looking for a new master developer after the government made a surprise announcement last night to cancel a deal with a Malaysia-China consortium, saying the buyers failed to meet payment obligations.

In late 2015, Malaysia’s Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) and China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) jointly secured rights as the master developer with a RM7.41 billion (S$2.4 billion) winning bid to buy a 60 per cent stake in the project.

The Malaysian government, through a unit of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), was to hold the remaining 40 per cent stake, which has a projected sales value of RM150 billion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spinning 1MDB’s lopsided settlement

P Gunasegaram
Malaysiakini
2 May 2017

A QUESTION OF BUSINESS Desperation causes stupidity to rise to the fore.

Take 1MDB and the way it spins its so-called settlement with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), the parent company of Aabar Investments PJS. There was a dispute and it was settled, but there was no renegotiation. 1MDB capitulated to all IPIC demands.

But this has been spun to give the false impression that all matters have been settled between the two. Ministers rushed to make statements about how the eventual settlement will be in favour of 1MDB and how it indicates that no money went into Najib Abdul Razak’s accounts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s $1.7 billion property deal to cut 1MDB debt falls through

Wed May 3, 2017
Reuters

A $1.7 billion property deal that was expected to ease the debt burden of Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fell through on Wednesday, complicating Prime Minister Najib Razak’s efforts to move on from a financial scandal surrounding the fund.

TRX City Sdn Berhad, a former 1MDB division now owned by the Malaysian finance ministry, said the deal had lapsed to sell 60 percent of Bandar Malaysia, a major property development project on the site of the former Sungai Besi air force base in Kuala Lumpur, because the buyers “failed to meet the payment obligations”.

In December 2015 Iskandar Waterfront Holdings, owned by Malaysian tycoon Lim Kang Hoo, and China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) had said they would buy a 60 percent stake in Bandar Malaysia from 1MDB for 7.41 billion ringgit ($1.7 billion). Read the rest of this entry »

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Federal Court bans investment fund managers for 10 years

BEN BUTLER, Melbourne and AMANDA HODGE South East Asia correspondent
The Australian
April 27, 2017

Two Gold Coast men involved in a funds management business linked to Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal are to be banned from corporate life for a decade over their mismanagement of Australian investors’ money.

Federal Court judge Jonathan Beach yesterday said he would make orders banning Paul Rowles and Clayton Dempsey from running companies or offering financial services when he hands down a full judgment at a later date.

Mr Rowles is listed in court documents as a director of a mysterious Cayman Islands entity at the centre of the 1MDB scandal, Bridge Global Absolute Return Fund.

1MDB, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, previously claimed $US2.3 billion of promissory notes connected to its investment in an oil joint venture, PetroSaudi, were stashed with BGARF. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mauritius next in line in DOJ 1MDB probe?

Independent
Singapore
April 30, 2017

With reports that the US Department of Justice (DOJ)- which is looking into the role of Goldman Sachs Group’s in raising almost US$6 billion (S$8.3 billion) for Malaysia’s 1MDB investment fund – is asking questions about money flowing through accounts linked to Tim Leissner, a surprise might be in store.

That is to say, the DOJ is seriously looking into the money trail that moved in between accounts held by Tim Leissner, the husband of Kimora Lee Leissner, also known as Kimora Lee Simmons.

The money trail, said a source, may lead to an incognito banking institution in the most unsuspecting offshore financial services centre in Africa. Read the rest of this entry »

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I will appear next week before the special task force investigating the Bank Negara forex losses in 1990s

I will appear next week before the special task force investigating the Bank Negara forex losses between 1991 and 1993.

The seven-member task force, headed by Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, who is former chief secretary to the government, also comprise Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission deputy chief commissioner Datuk Azam Baki, Police Commercial Crimes Department director Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, Securities Commission Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh, Retirement Fund Inc chief executive officer Datuk Wan Kamaruzaman Wan Ahmad, Pemudah co-chairman Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon, and lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos.

The task force, which was set up by the Cabinet in mid-February, is living proof of the negligence and irresponsibility of the first degree of the Cabinet Ministers when they could set up a special task force (STF) to conduct a probe into Bank Negara forex losses more than two decades ago but dare not breathe a word on the monstrous 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal.

For instance, was the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is directly implicated in the 1MDB kleptocratic scandal, the final authority in approving the 1MDB-IPIC “arbitration settlement” and who overruled the Finance Minister, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani who was convinced and confident that 1MDB would win the arbitration case in the London International Arbitration Court based on documentary and legal grounds?

Did any of the Cabinet Minister suggest that the Prime Minister should recuse and should not be involved in any further decision-making making process about the 1MDB scandal, as the Prime Minister is directly implicated in the 1MDB scandal?
Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB settlement a high price for Malaysia

IFR Asia 989
April 29, 2017

The 1MDB saga reached a predictable and sickening milestone last Monday when the Malaysian investment fund said it had reached an out-of-court settlement with the Middle Eastern guarantor of two US dollar bonds totalling US$3.5bn.

1MDB’s agreement with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company was predictable, inasmuch as the Malaysian taxpayer will ultimately be on the hook for the fund’s debts, and sickening inasmuch as it left billions of dollars still unaccounted for.

1MDB maintains that it paid US$3.5bn to an IPIC unit, Aabar Investments PJS Limited, in return for IPIC acting as guarantor on the US dollar bonds. IPIC claims that money went to an unconnected company registered in the British Virgin Islands with an uncannily similar name.

IPIC denied last week that Aabar (BVI) was its subsidiary. But Malaysia’s second finance minister Johari Abdul Ghani last week in somewhat desperate fashion, proffered a letter from the Registrar of Corporate Affairs of the British Virgin Islands confirming that it is (or was).

Can the world of international high finance be reduced to something as utterly farcical and absurd? And when it comes to playing the “Whose Baby?” game, I think I would trust the parent to know, rather than a third-party “verifier” from a faraway land of which the main players in this farce probably know very little. Read the rest of this entry »

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As “MO1”, Prime Minister Najib should recuse himself from being the final authority in approval of the 1MDB-IPIC “arbitration settlement”, and a special Parliament convened to decide on the issue

Although Finance Minister II Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani was appointed with the specific task to complete the rationalization and resolution of the 1MDB scandal, he is on public record that he was not involved in the arbitration settlement negotiations and had not been briefed before the “settlement” was concluded.

He said that although he was involved in the decision to take the case to London arbitration as he was confident that 1MDB would win the case because of its strong legal position, the Prime Minister made the decision for the country looking at the “bigger picture”, in terms of relationship between Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.

This is not only completely unacceptable but downright unethical and most unfair to Abu Dhabi, suggesting that the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) is so dishonest and unIslamic as to demand double payments for its US$3.5 billion bond guarantee!

It is most improper for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, as the “M01” cited in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) largest kleptocratic litigation (as admitted by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan) to be in a conflict-of-interest position to be involved in the 1MDB-IPIC settlement, especially as it involved the Ministry of Finance (Incorporated) Malaysia (MoF Inc) as a party of the IMDB-IPIC “arbitration settlement” guaranteeing that 1MDB would make the payments under the “arbitration settlement” – which is as good as undertaking that the Malaysian taxpayers will finally foot the bill for the 1MDB-IPIC “arbitration settlement”. Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB Prosecutors Said to Eye Ex-Goldman Banker’s Money Moves

by Greg Farrell , Andrea Tan , and Keri Geiger
Bloomberg
April 28, 2017

U.S. prosecutors investigating Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s role in raising almost $6 billion for Malaysia’s 1MDB investment fund are asking questions about money flowing through accounts linked to Tim Leissner, the lead banker behind the transactions, according to people familiar with the matter.

Officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department have been interviewing bankers familiar with 1Malaysia Development Bhd. about Leissner’s network of relationships with politically connected Malaysians, said the people, who asked not to be named because the queries aren’t public.

In interviews as recent as last month, the people said, the U.S. officials asked about the association between Leissner, who left Goldman Sachs in February 2016, and Low Taek Jho, who the Justice Department said in July was at the center of a scheme that siphoned more than $3 billion dollars from 1MDB. U.S. investigators are asking in particular whether money was sent from a Leissner-linked account to an entity controlled by someone tied to the Malaysian government, one of the people said. Leissner’s attorney, Marc Harris, declined to comment. An official who answered the phone at Low’s Hong Kong-based company Jynwel Capital said he wasn’t available. Read the rest of this entry »

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