‘Umno, act now or be consigned to the dustbin of history’
The frantic attempts of both the press secretary of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and 1MDB to placate the mounting anger of the Malaysian citizenry is pathetic and frivolous.
Both have emphatically stressed that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the bi-partisan Public Account Committee (PAC) have found no crime was committed. But both have conveniently forgotten to note that the entire nation, nay the entire world, are aware of the damning expose of the plethora of alleged crimes committed, as per the leaked auditor-general’s report.
Now, most devastating is the fact that the attorney-general of the United States, Loretta Lynch, made it official yesterday that after over a year of thorough investigation, at least US$3.5 billion (RM14.16b) belonging to the Malaysian people has been stolen.
Inter alia, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Internal Revenue Service (the US tax revenue agency) have concluded that the Malaysian people were robbed.
They have conclusively arrived at their findings that the co-conspirators “laundered their stolen funds through a complex webs of opaque transactions and fraudulent shelf companies and bank accounts around the world including Switzerland, Singapore and the United States..” The word ‘stolen’ was repeated many times.
It is an open secret now that Prime Minister Najib, who created and led 1MDB, worked hand-in-glove with flamboyant businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low. The US Justice Department report listed three other 1MDB officials who were involved in this alleged fraud and the ‘Malaysia Official No 1′, irrespective of who the person is.
In a strange and weird move, when all avenues of imploring authorities including the attorney-general, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Bank Negara Malaysia, the police and finally the Council of Rulers, l have no qualms to implore the supreme council of Umno (majlis tertinggi Umno), their Members of Parliament and the entire Umno fraternity, to act in unison to save the party they claimed to love and more importantly, to save the nation and the rakyat of Malaysia.
If you disappoint and fail the nation again, rest assured that you will be assigned to the dustbin of history as the alleged ‘Traitors of the Nation’ – Pengkhianat Negara.
After all efforts of debunking and unseating the PM have failed, the supreme council is the last bastion as to get rid of Najib, the man who allegedly single-handedly usurped all powers and is allegedly responsible for bringing this failing nation into a tail-spin and the abyss of self-destruction.
The nation and its leaders from both sides of the political divide must patriotically be committed to an immediate comprehensive reform agenda and turn around the nation to become both a vibrant and functional democracy.
Time to rise above partisan and self-interest, and be counted as the true patriots, regardless of our ideoligical conviction and political persuasion.
‘Umno, act now or be consigned to the dustbin of history’
21 July 2016
COMMENT The attorney general of the United States, Loretta Lynch, made it official yesterday. She said it very clearly. At least US$3.5 billion belonging to the Malaysian people has been stolen.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Internal Revenue Service (the US tax revenue agency) have led a very thorough investigation for over one year.
They have concluded that the Malaysian people were robbed. The people’s money was diverted – stolen – from the government’s 1MDB fund through fraud and money laundering.
What was going on in 1MDB throughout this time? Who stole the money? Where did it go? Who was responsible for letting this theft happen?
These are the questions that the US Justice Department has investigated.
We all know that it was Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak who created and led 1MDB, and allegedly worked behind the scenes with flamboyant tycoon Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.
The US Justice Department report listed three other 1MDB officials who were involved in this fraud. While their names were not mentioned, their titles (CEO, etc) and their terms of service were listed.
So it is easy to figure out who these other officials were.
In her press conference, Lynch and her associates used the word “stolen” over and over again.
Lynch and her colleagues also said that “corrupt Malaysian officials and their associates” engaged in money laundering, an international crime.
She and her colleagues also mentioned the name “Aziz” many times. They said that “Aziz” was one of the people involved in this theft from the Malaysian people and the diversion of funds from 1MDB.
They detailed how “Aziz” used the money gained through illegal money laundering for his own purposes – to buy real estate in New York, London, and Los Angeles – and even make Hollywood movies.
Based on the Justice Department’s filings with the court, we know clearly that “Aziz” is the stepson of Najib. They mentioned Aziz by his full name, Riza Aziz.
The department’s filing also referred to Riza Aziz as a relative of ‘Malaysia Official 1’, who is also implicated in this scandal.
Malaysia Official 1’s role in this scandal is outlined in the Justice Department filings. The Justice Department said that Malaysia Official 1, who is not named in its documents, played a central role in directing 1MDB’s activities, which led to the disappearance of at least US$3.5 billion. There are 32 references to Malaysia Official 1 in the Justice Department report.
It is an easy conclusion who Malaysia Official 1 is. Based on its description, the US Justice Department is talking about Najib.
Where did the stolen money go?
The money that was stolen from 1MDB – or as Lynch said, stolen from the Malaysian people – was used to buy private homes in New York, London, and Beverly Hills, three of which are occupied by Riza.
According to the US Justice Department, some of the stolen money was used to pay off gambling debts in Las Vegas and hold lavish parties. (They did not say whose debts they were.)
It also financed Hollywood movies and bought a stake in EMI Music Publishing. It paid for a US$35 million Bombardier jet plane and a Claude Monet painting.
The Justice Department filings also said that a lot of the money went to Malaysia Official 1, who received hundreds of millions of 1MDB dollars in his private bank account. The US government traced the path of that money. It went through many “cut-outs” to a Saudi prince, who then sent the money to Najib.
Perhaps that will explain the Malaysian government’s claim that the money came from a Saudi prince. In the end, yes, that is true. He was a prince, one of many thousands of princes in Saudi Arabia.
But according to the US Justice Department, the money – the stolen funds that Malaysia Official 1 received in his private bank account from that prince – originally came from 1MDB.
This is what the US government – the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Internal Revenue Service – concluded. And it is what they had the courage to say in public, no matter what the impact on US-Malaysia relations.
This is not the end. The US government is continuing its criminal investigations into money-laundering, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice.
I am sure that there will be criminal indictments in the future against specific individuals, starting with “Aziz” and “Jho Low.”
For certain, “Malaysia Official 1” will be named an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the future. But once he leaves office, he might be indicted in a US court.
The other foreign governments around the world that are investigating the 1MDB corruption will now feel “invigorated” and will step up their own investigations. More charges, in more countries, are to come.
As for Najib, he is now facing the full force of the FBI and the US Department of Justice. They cannot be intimidated. They cannot be arrested. They cannot be charged with sedition. They cannot be bullied.
How will Najib respond?
It’s official – the 1MDB money was stolen
John R Malott
21 July 2016 – malaysiakini
Call for Malaysia PM to step down over 1MDB scandal
US officials allege $1bn siphoned from Malaysia state fund and used as “personal bank account” to buy luxury assets.
A Malaysian opposition party leader has called on Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down following the lawsuit filed by the US Justice Department to seize $1bn in assets linked to the country’s scandal-plagued 1MDB state investment fund.
The Justice Department said on Wednesday that the assets were “associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated” from 1MDB, and included lavish real estate in Beverly Hills and New York, artwork by Monet and Van Gogh, and a business jet.
“I believe the Malaysian people want Dato’ Sri Najib to go on leave as prime minister so as not to create the perception of abuse of power or process to halt or hinder a full and transparent investigation on this very serious issue,” Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, president of the People’s Justice Party (PKR), said in a statement on Thursday.
Malaysia’s government should allow an independent commission investigate corruption claims outlined by the Justice Department, said Wan Azizah, who is the wife of jailed Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
The lawsuit alleges a complex money laundering scheme that the Justice Department said was intended to enrich top-level officials of 1MDB.
In a press conference in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the 1MDB funds were used as a “personal bank account”.
Swiss say $4bn may be missing from Malaysia state fund
The fund is owned by the Malaysian government, but none of the lawsuits named Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
However, the case named Riza Aziz, the prime minister’s step-son, as a “relevant individual” in the case.
The lawsuits also named Najib’s friend, Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, and Abu Dhabi government officials Khadem al-Qubaisi and Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny.
Al Jazeera’s correspondent Sohail Rahman, speaking from Kuala Lumpur, said the prime minister’s office issued a statement overnight in response to the allegations.
As the prime minister holds the financial portfolio under which 1MDB operates, and many of his critics say he should have known what was going on “and many actually accuse him of being involved in this whole scenario,” Rahman said.
Ordinary Malaysians will likely be shocked by this US investigation, as the Malaysian government’s own probe of 1MDB has already ended, he said.
“The case in theory has been closed since October when the attorney general here in Malaysia said that there was no wrongdoing, and ordered the Malaysian anti-corruption commission to close the case.”
“However, this re-opens it from, certainly, across the Pacific, where the US now will go forward to try and investigate how these assets were bought,” Rahman said.
Call for Malaysia PM to step down over 1MDB scandal
21 July 2016 – aljazeera
BERSIH 2.0 congratulates the US Office of the Attorney General brave statement on “United States Seeks to Recover More Than $1 Billion Obtained from Corruption Involving Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund”. The conclusion of their findings are extremely damning and they have stated exactly what civil society and many Malaysians have been saying about the grand scale kleptocracy that is happening in our country.
The actions of the US Department of Justice (US DOJ) are not alone as there are six other international investigations made on money laundering and corruption that are related to the 1MDB scandal. This law suit confirms the intricate web of money laundering and corruption linked to 1MDB.
The US DOJ findings show money that was intended to help the Malaysian people was instead used for personal enrichment of Prime Minister Najib Razak, his stepson Riza Aziz, Jho Low and other cronies around the world. The rakyat’s money, intended for development projects, was spent on satisfying the greed of a few, including paying off gambling debts, purchasing a private jet, and funding a Hollywood film. Bear in mind that the government-linked 1MDB came under the Ministry of Finance when Najib was the Minister of Finance and the Chair of Board of Advisers of the debt-ridden company.
To cover up these crimes, Malaysia’s institutions have been twisted and perverted to suit the whims of Najib and those benefiting from the misuse of the rakyat’s money. The investigations in Malaysia by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Royal Malaysian Police Force (PDRM) and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) have been shrouded in secrecy and their detailed findings hidden behind the cloak of the Official Secrets Act.
The Attorney General Apandi Ali and the Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar must now answer for their failure to act against the largest corruption scandal in Malaysia’s history.
Not only have our institutions been compromised, in his desparation to avoid justice, Najib, along with the IGP and the Attorney General, have harassed hundreds of critics through a slew of draconian laws, including the Sedition Act, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, the Official Secrets Act and the Peaceful Assembly Act. The recent National Security Council Act has now given wide powers to Najib, under the guise of safeguarding national security. This has all been done to boost Najib’s personal impunity from criminal prosecution and crackdown on those who speak up against his crimes.
Najib’s attempts to cover up and suppress the truth are over. It is time for this nation to end the plague of kleptocracy with impunity, the silencing of critics and the subversion of clean and fair elections. Such deplorable actions have totally destroyed people’s confidence and undermined the reputation of the country.
The nation has to move forward to restore the public’s confidence and reclaim the fabric of democracy and fair elections. Without comprehensive institutional reforms as demanded by hundreds of thousands of Malaysians in BERSIH 4, the flickering light of democracy in Malaysia will be extinguished.
In view of the severity of the situation, BERSIH 2.0 urgently calls for the following actions:
a) Najib to immediately resign as the Prime Minister and allow for independent investigations to be held so as to ensure no executive interference and violators are brought to justice.
b) The Attorney General to immediately resign for his role in attempting to clear Najib’s name in relation to the 1MDB corruption scandal.
c) An interim government to be set up to implement the institutional reforms demanded at the BERSIH 4 rally, as well as to ensure free and fair elections at the next General Election.
d) Given the overwhelming public interest in this case, all information relating to the investigations into 1MDB must be declassified and released to the public.
The BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee
MEDIA STATEMENT: Resign or face the rakyat
21 July 2016 – BERSIH 2.0
The Malaysia fund is at the center of several international investigations into alleged corruption and money laundering by public officials. Prosecutors in at least four countries — Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the U.S. — are looking into money flows from the investment vehicle, which was established for national development.
The suspected fraud occurred in three phases in which money was laundered through bank accounts in Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the U.S., prosecutors said.
In 2009, after 1MDB was set up to pursue development projects, officials of 1MDB and others, under the pretense of investing in a joint venture between 1MDB and a Saudi oil company, transferred more than $1 billion to a Swiss bank account, according to the Justice Department.
In 2012, 1MDB officials and others diverted proceeds raised through two separate bond offerings arranged by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to the Justice Department. More than 40 percent of the proceeds, or $1.4 billion, were transferred to a Swiss bank account belonging to a British Virgin Islands entity. More than $1 billion was diverted from another bond offering arranged by Goldman Sachs in 2013.
Goldman Sachs, which enjoyed a lucrative relationship with 1MDB, did the bidding for fund officials even as many Goldman employees questioned whether Low was involved, prosecutors said. The bank also circulated misleading offering statements when raising money for 1MDB, though the complaint doesn’t indicate that Goldman employees were aware of whether the statements were misleading.
Goldman Sachs said in a statement: “We helped raise money for a sovereign wealth fund that was designed to invest in Malaysia. We had no visibility into whether some of those funds may have been subsequently diverted to other purposes.”
E-mails and recorded phone calls between 1MDB and several banks show how billions of dollars were siphoned out of 1MDB accounts under false pretenses, according to the complaints, underscoring the weaknesses of bank compliance systems.
A handful of global banks were used to shift money improperly without confirming who the recipients were, other than information provided by 1MDB, according to the complaint. At times, when compliance officers raised questions, they were brushed aside and the transfers were eventually approved.
In one phone call cited in the documents, prosecutors say a 1MDB employee pressed a Deutsche Bank supervisor to approve transfers into Swiss accounts, complaining he was “under tremendous pressure” to get the deal done.
“Let me must convince my compliance person,” the Deutsche Bank employee said, according to prosecutors. ”It’s a little bit sticky with this.”
”They cannot wait for this, you know,” the 1MDB official added. ”If they’re going to overkill on the compliance thing, uh, they have to be responsible, you know.”
The transaction went through.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment as did JPMorgan, which was also mentioned in the documents. Standard Chartered said it is cooperating with all relevant investigations and declined to comment further.
Low or his associates used some of the misappropriated funds to buy artworks, the complaint alleges. Low then used part of his collection — which he valued at more than $300 million, according to an e-mail cited in the complaint — as collateral for a loan from Sotheby’s Financial Services, a unit of Sotheby’s.
He used 17 pieces, including the two Monets and the Van Gogh, to secure a loan of $107 million loan that went to a company owned by Low, according to the complaint.
By May 2016, Sotheby’s had recovered enough from the sale of several works pledged as collateral to cover the outstanding balance of the loan, according to the complaint. Then Sotheby’s released its security interest in the artwork, it said. As of June 7, Sotheby’s still had the three works in its possession, according to the complaint.
Sotheby spokeswoman Lauren Gioia said the company always cooperates with government investigations. “As set forth in the complaint, Sotheby’s has no continuing security interest or relationship to the three works that are the subject of the action, and is not in a position to comment on any potential seizure,” she said.
Low and Riza were also at the center of a gambling spree in Las Vegas in July 2012, using money that had come through 1MDB, according to prosecutors. A few weeks after Riza wired $41 million from a Red Granite account to one controlled by an associate, Eric Tan, the two of them went to Vegas, where over several days they wired $13 million into an account maintained by Las Vegas Sands Corp., the parent of the Venetian Casino.
Sands, which hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing, declined to comment.
The two of them — joined by Low and a producer of the “Wolf of Wall Street” — gambled at the Venetian for three days. They were joined on July 15 by what the complaint identifies as a lead actor in the film, who it noted ultimately won a Golden Globe award for his performance.
That actor is DiCaprio, who isn’t accused of wrongdoing. His publicist, Shawn Sachs, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The case is U.S. v. “Wolf of Wall Street,” 16-05362, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
U.S. Maps 1MDB Fraud Trail From Kuala Lumpur to Hollywood
Greg Farrell, Andrew M Harris, Keri Geiger, David McLaughlin
July 20, 2016 – Bloomberg