Former BSI banker caught up in Malaysian 1MDB scandal went on US$8.2m Gold Coast property splurge

Former BSI banker Yeo Jiawei caught up in Malaysian 1MDB scandal went on US$8.2m Gold Coast property splurge

Yeo Jiawei’s foray into Australian property began with a US$1.3 million luxury oceanfront apartment in Surfers Paradise in 2014

A former banker from Singapore accused of laundering money linked to Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal used a tax haven company as part of a US$8.2 million-plus splurge on Gold Coast property over little more than a year.

Yeo Jiawei’s foray into Australian property began with a US$1.3 million luxury oceanfront apartment in Surfers Paradise, which he bought in 2014 direct from a collapsed developer.

Guardian Australia can reveal that Yeo is a director of a Seychelles-registered company that then paid a further US$6.9 million for commercial properties in Broadbeach, the tourist town’s trendy dining precinct, a year later.

Australian federal police(AFP) are reportedly examining whether money illegally taken from Malaysia’s 1MDB state development fund has been parked locally. That investigation includes whether any Australian citizens, residents or companies breached proceeds-of-crime laws.

It is not known whether the AFP is examining the properties linked to Yeo, who was sentenced to 30 months in jail last month by Singapore’s district court for witness tampering during a Singaporean investigation into the alleged laundering.

The court in that case heard that Yeo had acquired US$6 million of Australian property while allegedly playing a central role in the illicit movement of S$23.9 million (US$22.6 million) of 1MDB funds when employed as a wealth manager at BSI Bank Singapore.

[Broadbeach, Goldcoast’s trendy dining precinct. Photo: Discoverqueensland.com]

Money-laundering charges against Yeo are due to be heard in April, with the 34-year-old having denied committing the offences.

Property records in Australia show that Yeo paid US$1.3 million in October 2014 for a fifth-floor apartment in the Soul building, the Gold Coast’s second-tallest highrise, which overlooks Main Beach at the heart of the Surfers Paradise tourist strip.

Two months later a Seychelles-registered company called Connect Capital Global Investments Limited, of which Yeo is a director, obtained an Australian business number. It also registered to pay goods and services tax, indicating a predicted annual income of US$75,000 or more.

Former BSI banker Yeo Jiawei caught up in Malaysian 1MDB scandal went on US$8.2m Gold Coast property splurge
13 January, 2017 – SCMP


Report: 1MDB will not be wound up just yet

Report: 1MDB will not be wound up just yet

Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani says there are still debts to settle and funds to collect from sale of assets.

KUALA LUMPUR: 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is not being wound up as it still has debts to settle and amounts due from the disposal of its assets, said Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani.

Speaking to Malaysiakini, Johari stressed that 1MDB has yet to enter the winding-up stage, dismissing a Singapore Straits Times report that Putrajaya was laying the groundwork to shut down the state-owned firm.

“It is not winding up but it is in run-off operation. We don’t conduct any new business.

“We can’t wind up the company until all the debts are settled and amounts due from disposal of assets are collected,” Johari told Malaysiakini in a text message.

According to the Singapore report, Budiman Committee, a high-level government unit chaired by Johari, planned to transfer 1MDB’s assets in the coming months to two companies which are owned by the Finance Ministry, called Piramid Pertama and Aroma Teraju.

The assets include the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), Bandar Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur and a 94.7-hectare plot of land in Ayer Itam, Penang.

It has been reported that over the past two years, the cash-strapped 1MDB has been disposing its assets.

Malaysiakini reported that this move was part of 1MDB’s effort to reduce its debts, which amounted to around RM50 billion at its peak. 1MDB’s current debt is estimated to be US$4.78 billion (RM21.3 billion).

Report: 1MDB will not be wound up just yet
January 14, 2017 – FMT


Jho Low’s alias revelation brings new twist to 1MDB saga

Jho Low’s alias revelation brings new twist to 1MDB saga

A significant twist has emerged with regard to the 1MDB saga where it was disclosed in a Singapore court that billionaire Jho Low had also used a different name in his financial dealings involving Malaysia’s troubled investment fund.

Though investigations into 1MDB transactions are being carried out in various countries, Singapore has been the swiftest, shutting down BSI Bank and Falcon Private Bank for facilitating the laundering of 1MDB-linked funds and charging former employees of these banks.

Earlier this week, the Singapore court heard that the often mentioned “Eric Tan Kim Loong” was in fact an alias for Low.

According to the Singapore case, Falcon Private Bank Singapore branch manager Jens Sturzeneggar had been in communication with the email address, erickimloong.tan@gmail.com, but later discovered that he was actually corresponding with Low.

When the two met, the Malaysian-born billionaire revealed that he used the name Eric Tan on some occasions for “security” purposes.

Tan, whose name had cropped up repeatedly as the owner of several companies to which 1MDB funds were allegedly diverted to, had been a mystery from the onset.

Unlike Low, who is known to be a close associate of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s family, Tan did not fit into the 1MDB puzzle apart from being described as a “business associate” of the billionaire.

The Singapore case established that four Falcon Private Bank accounts were held by companies controlled by Low using the alias “Eric Tan Kim Loong” and that Sturzeneggar had tried to conceal this fact.

On Wednesday, Sturzeneggar pleaded guilty to this and five other charges and was slapped with a 28-week jail sentence and a S$128,000 fine.

Two of the Falcon accounts mentioned in the case were held by Granton Property Holdings Limited and Tanore Finance Corporation.

The latter was the origin of the US$681 million in Najib’s personal bank accounts.

Based on the revelation that the accounts were controlled by Low through an alias, there appears now to be a direct money trail link between the prime minister and Low.

Najib had maintained that the colossal sum was a donation from a member of the Saudi royal family and denied abusing public funds for personal gain.

Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali, who cleared Najib of any wrongdoing, also claimed that US$620 million of the money was returned to the donor.

According to US Department of Justice (DOJ), which has sought to seize US$1 billion of “stolen money” from 1MDB, the specific amount – US$620,010,715 – was returned to Tanore.

Bulk of funds held by Low

The latest Singapore revelation fuels more interest in Low as it suggests that the returned money went to the billionaire as he controlled Tanore through an alias.

The DOJ had alleged that US$835 million and US$430 million were diverted into Tanore and Granton respectively from a US$3 billion bond intended for the development of 1MDB’s Tun Razak Exchange.

Apart from the US$681 million for “Malaysian Official 1”, US$137 million from the Tanore account was used to purchase artwork.

Jho Low’s alias revelation brings new twist to 1MDB saga
14 Jan 2017 – malaysiakini


Johari must disclose how much 1MDB debts gov’t taking over

Johari must disclose how much 1MDB debts gov’t taking over

MP SPEAKS Before the Finance Ministry winds down 1MDB with the takeover of 1MDB’s assets, Johari Abdul Ghani must disclose how much of 1MDB debts is the ministry taking over.

In a series of announcements since the middle of 2016, the Finance Ministry has announced that it is slowly taking over all the real estate projects from debt-stricken and scandal-ridden 1MDB.

The Wall Street Journal has already reported in June last year that the Finance Ministry has signed a shareholder agreement that will see the ministry take over 1MDB’s stake in the Bandar Malaysia development project.

The agreement will see the ministry hold a 40 percent stake in Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd, the joint-venture company that will develop the 486-acre site of the former Sungai Besi Royal Malaysian Air Force base. The remainder of the 60 percent stake has been sold to a joint-venture between Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Bhd and China Railway Engineering Corp.

Last month, Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghari told The Malaysian Reserve that “Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) is now taken over by the Finance Ministry and we are going to complete the entire project. We will complete it. We will have to finish it. Otherwise, we will have to leave it to 1MDB and they will never be able to do it.”

Yesterday, the minister confirmed to Malaysiakini that 1MDB is winding down with the disposal or transfer of its assets to the ministry. “It is not winding up but it is in run-off operation. We don’t conduct any new business. We can’t wind up the company until all the debts are settled and amounts due from disposal of assets are collected,” Johari said.

On the surface, all appears well and good. However, the big question to ask is, how much of 1MDB’s liabilities is the ministry taking over? The government must not quietly mask a multi-billion ringgit bailout of 1MDB with the innocuous announcements that the the ministry is taking over 1MDB’s key assets in Bandar Malaysia and TRX.

Has the government taken over Bandar Malaysia’s RM2.4 billion of sukuk bonds, of which only less than RM800 million was used for the purposes of the project while the balance of the bond proceeds was used for purposes unrelated to Bandar Malaysia?

At the same time, has the government agreed to take over 1MDB’s RM800 million sukuk bonds borrowed from the Pension Fund (KWAP) which were meant for 1MDB’s real estate development but was instead used for other purposes?

The government should assume any of the borrowings taken by 1MDB which have not been spent on the development of the 2 real estate projects. Any amounts beyond that would tantamount to a backdoor multi-billion ringgit bailout of 1MDB which have lost billions from corruption and misappropriation.

What’s more, 1MDB has benefited from the sale of these two pieces of land after selling various parcels to third parties. For example, despite acquiring the TRX land from the Federal Government for only RM64 per square feet, 1MDB sold TRX land to Tabung Haji and Affin Bank for more than RM2,700 and RM4,000 per square feet. Similarly, 1MDB has sold 60 percent of Bandar Malaysia for a purported RM7.41 billion but acquired 100 percent of the land from the federal government for only RM1.6 billion.

Effectively, 1MDB gets to keep all of the multi-billion ringgit of astronomical profits from the sale of land it bought at bargain basement prices, while the government is forced to absorb all the loans and liabilities incurred by 1MDB.

It becomes a triple-whammy for the people of Malaysia where (i) tax-payers funded GLCs were forced to pay sky-high prices to acquire the 1MDB land, (ii) 1MDB gets to keep all the ridiculous profits to cover up its stolen billions with none returned to the Finance Ministry, while (iii) the rakyat has to foot the bill of the billions of ringgit of loans assumed by the ministry.

Johari Abdul Ghani must not hide the above matter from the public but instead provide full disclosure of the terms of the “take over” of the 1MDB assets and justify why and how much Malaysians will be forced to pay for the shenanigans which have taken place in 1MDB.

Johari must disclose how much 1MDB debts gov’t taking over
Tony Pua
14 Jan 2017 – malaysiakini


Rafizi: Why, how did Felda get RM1b loan from S’pore firm?

Rafizi: Why, how did Felda get RM1b loan from S’pore firm?

PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli has questioned Felda’s move to secure private funding of RM1 billion for a settlers housing project from a Singaporean firm.

He wanted to know how Felda managed to obtain the loan from Singapore’s Putra Star Investment Holdings Pte Ltd.

“Even if I was one of the richest companies in the world, I wouldn’t give RM1 billion without collateral.

“What did Felda put up as collateral to get the funding?” he asked during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

The Pandan MP also wanted to know the terms of the loan agreement.

Felda and Putra Star signed a deal to fund the Felda New Generation Housing programme on Sept 6 last year.

A Bernama report on the signing cited then-Felda chairperson Isa Samad as saying the nationwide programme with a gross development value of RM1 billion experienced delays due to a financing mechanism problem.

“However, the issue was resolved as we opted for a private funding initiative via Putra Star,” he had said.

No track record

Meanwhile, Rafizi also questioned the choice of Putra Star.

Citing the company’s profile retrieved from Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, he said Putra Star was just a general wholesale trade company that did not appear to have any experience with financing.

“If you get funding from firms like, World Bank, at least you get some confidence that this is a responsible institution with strong finances,” he said.

Even if it was a renowned institution, the opposition leader said there is still the question of why Felda is making its settlers indebted to foreigners.

Rafizi also highlighted how Putra Star only had a paid up capital of US$1 million.

Rafizi: Why, how did Felda get RM1b loan from S’pore firm?
11 Jan 2017 – malaysiakini


Australian police say they are helping with 1MDB investigations

Australian police say they are helping with 1MDB investigations

SYDNEY (Jan 10): The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said on Tuesday they are working with international law enforcement agencies to investigate companies associated with Malaysia’s scandal-hit sovereign wealth fund.

1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), founded by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, is the subject of money laundering investigations in at least six other countries, including Switzerland, Singapore and the United States.

Civil lawsuits filed by the US Department of Justice allege more than US$3.5 billion ($5 billion) was misappropriated from 1MDB. The lawsuits seek to seize US$1 billion in assets allegedly siphoned off from 1MDB and diverted into luxury real estate in New York, Beverly Hills and London, valuable paintings, and a private jet.

Mr Najib, who also chaired 1MDB’s advisory board, has denied wrongdoing and said Malaysia would cooperate with international investigations. 1MDB has also denied wrongdoing.

The AFP is responsible for investigating breaches of proceeds of crime laws by Australian companies, citizens and residents.

“The AFP is aware of allegations relating to companies associated with 1MDB and have assisted our foreign law enforcement partners with their investigations in relation to a number of these matters,” the AFP said in an emailed statement.

“As the AFP continues to evaluate these allegations it would not be appropriate to provide any further comment at this time,” it said.

The AFP did not respond to Reuters’ questions about reports they were investigating whether any financial gains from the scandal were in Australia or with which international agencies it was working.

Singaporean authorities have frozen the assets of Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, commonly known as Jho Low, who has not been charged with any offence related to 1MDB but has been identified as a person of interest in related investigations.

Australian police say they are helping with 1MDB investigations
By Reuters
January 10, 2017 – theedgemarkets.com.sg


Bersatu manifesto to ‘chase down every penny’ from 1MDB

Bersatu manifesto to ‘chase down every penny’ from 1MDB

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad has outlined the party’s manifesto for the next general election.

It includes recovering every penny that has allegedly been ever “stolen” from 1MDB and the government if they win, he said.

“We will investigate very thoroughly the 1MDB money which has been misappropriated.

“We will chase down every penny from 1MDB and the government which was (allegedly ) stolen, which we know are in the hands of certain individuals,” he said, to great applause from the 5,000-strong crowd at the party’s official launch in Shah Alam last night.

Earlier, when Mahathir asked rhetorically what their new government would do if they were to win the 14th general election and form a government, the attentive crowd immediately started chanting, “Tangkap Najib” (Arrest Najib).

At the launch, Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin also said they would ensure stolen money from 1MDB is returned to Malaysia, claiming this is something BN has failed to do until today.

He added if they are given the mandate to rule, he would like to form a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to investigate 1MDB and to bring those involved to justice.

‘GST to go’

Muhyiddin also said the rakyat’s main concern now is the economy, he said, so they would reexamine the country’s economic policies to try to control the rising costs of living and focus on fixing the country’s economy.

Mahathir, meanwhile, said that they will get rid of the GST in stages to be eventually replaced with a sales tax, which received loud cheers and applause from the crowd.

They would try to fix the value of the Malaysian ringgit in a more effective manner without further burdening the rakyat, he said.

Mahathir also spoke out against certain foreign investments in Malaysia, saying that they would scrutinise massive land deals involving foreigners with the intention of placing their countrymen there.

Bersatu manifesto to ‘chase down every penny’ from 1MDB
15 Jan 2017 – malaysiakini

Felda - A picture is worth a thousand words
How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?