Falcon Bank managers ignored 1MDB red flags

Falcon Bank managers ignored 1MDB red flags

Employees alerted top managers to suspicious transactions but two Falcon Bank board members insisted the transactions be pushed through, says Swiss regulator.

KUALA LUMPUR: Managers at Falcon Bank, against whom Singapore and Swiss financial regulators have taken action, were alerted by employees to possible shady activities but chose to ignore them.

According to Swiss regulator Finma, bank managers were under pressure from two board members with 1Malaysia Development Bhd ties to approve USD3.8 billion of asset transfers linked to the fund from 2012 to mid-2015.

“Although management’s attention was drawn to these matters, it repeatedly failed to properly investigate the business relationships, specifically those with politically exposed persons, and high-risk transactions,”Finma, said in a statement.

These latest developments in the 1MDB scandal shed further light on how international banks allegedly aided in the misuse of 1MDB funds meant for economic development, according to a Bloomberg report.

Finma said Zurich-based Falcon Private Bank’s managers were focused on making sure 1MDB’s transactions went smoothly and that they attached “great significance” to the accounts because two of the bank’s board members had initiated the 1MDB relationship.

Finma said both board members pursued their own “illegitimate purposes”. It added that they had since left the board and that there was no evidence other board members of Falcon were implicated.

The Bloomberg report said Falcon and its main shareholder, Aabar Investments PJS, welcomed the completion of investigations by Finma and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which also released results of an investigation into Falcon on Tuesday.

“Following a constructive dialogue, this completion finally resolves the 1MDB topic for the Bank with the regulators,” Falcon said, without disputing the regulators’ findings or indicating that the firm will challenge them, Bloomberg reported.

“Safeguarding the Bank’s reputation and the adherence to all laws, regulations and rules is of highest importance to Falcon Private Bank and its employees.”

1MDB has consistently denied wrongdoing and Malaysia’s Government has said it will cooperate with lawful investigations of local companies or its citizens in relation to the fund.

Bloomberg said 1MDB didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment on Tuesday.

Among the questionable Falcon dealings highlighted by Swiss authorities was a USD681 million “pass through” transaction in an unnamed Malaysian businessman’s accounts, Bloomberg reported.

“While the Swiss statement didn’t provide details on where the USD681 million ended up, the figure matches what Najib has acknowledged receiving in his own accounts before the country’s 2013 general election.

Falcon Bank managers ignored 1MDB red flags
October 12, 2016 – FMT


RM3.4million cash deposited into PM’s accounts in early 2015, alleges S’wak Report

RM3.4m cash deposited into PM’s accounts in early 2015, alleges S’wak Report

In a new allegation, Sarawak Report claimed that cash deposits totalling RM3.4 million were made into two Ambank accounts purportedly belonging to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in February and March 2015.

The accounts, it claimed citing leaks by investigators, was allegedly managed by SRC International Sdn Bhd former managing director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.

Nik Faisal was the signatory for the accounts, Sarawak Report alleged in an email.

This comes as the Swiss Attorney General’s Office said it is investigating alleged misappropriation of US$800 million involving the state-owned SRC International, which is a former subsidiary of 1MDB.

Sarawak Report, whose London-based editor Claire Rewcastle-Brown is accused of being part of a conspiracy to topple Najib from power, claimed that based on the prime minister’s bank statements, the large deposits were likely made in cash.

An unnamed banker consulted by Sarawak Report believes the cash was likely brought into the bank in bags and deposited directly, leaving no paper trail of the origin.

The largest single deposit was RM1.5 million, it said.

Sarawak Report also published copies of the bank statements, but Malaysiakini is unable to independently verify their authenticity or reproduce them as it would breach banking laws.

Malaysiakini has contacted the Prime Minister’s Office and Ambank over the matter. Najib’s aide Tengku Sharifuddin Tengku has also been contacted for comment.

Previously, it was reported that the SRC’s transaction to the prime minister’s accounts could total RM74 million.

Nik Faisal was the investment manager for 1MDB, before joining SRC International. He was also investment manager at UBG, linked to Jho Low.

According to a flow chart held up by attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali at a press conference in January, UBG owned firms which channeled SRC International funds into Najib’s Ambank accounts.

Apandi cleared Najib of any wrongdoing over the RM2.6 billion and RM42 million found in his accounts.

Apandi explained that Najib did not know that SRC International money had flowed into his accounts as he thought it was part of the US$681 million – which Najib said is a donation from a member of the Saudi royal family.

RM3.4m cash deposited into PM’s accounts in early 2015, alleges S’wak Report
10 Oct 2016 – malaysiakini


DiCaprio’s Role in Malaysia’s 1MDB Mess

DiCaprio’s Role in Malaysia’s 1MDB Mess

The Wolf of Wall Street star now finds himself embroiled in a sordid real life tale of financial scandal.

Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar in 2016 for portraying a man struggling to survive in the unforgiving wilderness. Little did he know his latest starring role would be stumbling through the unforgiving wilderness of Malaysian politics.

We’ve long known that the Hollywood heartthrob’s “Wolf of Wall Street” project rubbed up against some unsavory elements in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s nation. What we didn’t until Tuesday is that DiCaprio has been cooperating with the U.S. Justice Department since July amid investigations into artwork, luxury real estate and other assets bought with stolen money from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd. state fund. Implicated is financier Jho Low, DiCaprio’s friend, “Wolf of Wall Street” co-producer and associate of Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson.

My point here isn’t to impugn DiCaprio, who may merely be guilty by association. It’s to point out that Najib’s efforts to suppress and stage-manage Malaysia’s worst scandal in decades are being stymied aboard. Like a global game of Whack-a-Mole, new investigations into 1MDB, and by extension Najib, seem to pop up overseas each time Putrajaya manages to beat down a domestic whistleblower, press report or courageous opposition leader. Bottom line, Najib’s crisis isn’t going away and that’s bad news for Malaysia’s economy.

Leonardo DiCaprio accepts the Critics’ Choice award for Best Actor in a Comedy for “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When Najib took the reins his father held decades earlier, Malaysia was endeavoring toward developed-nation status by 2020. Emphasis on “endeavoring,” of course. But Najib’s fecklessness and scandals have amounted to a lost period for reforms to increase competitiveness, productivity and foreign investment. As Najib doubled down on affirmative action policies that enrich the Malay majority and repel multinational companies, censored the media and silenced critics, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam moved up the economic food chain. As his ministers circled the wagons, Malaysia’s 2020 dream is being delayed further and further.

Embarrassing international headlines are leading to some unexpected feedback effects back home. Take the shocking bromance between Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s prime minister and finance minister during the height of the 1997-1998 Asian crisis. A very public falling out over Mahathir’s capital controls and anti-Semitic tirades against speculators – to which Anwar strongly objected – led to Anwar being fired and jailed on sodomy and corruption charges human right watchers never quite bought.

Mahathir and Anwar recently buried the hatchet to join forces against Najib’s refusal to resign and restore honor to Putrajaya. As political wags wonder what it all means, my thoughts trail back to those dueling Hong Kong ballrooms in 1997 where Mahathir accused George Soros and his ilk of attacking poor Malaysia, the billionaire retorting Mahathir was a “menace” to his nation and Anwar trying to pick up the pieces. Things have gone full circle enough for these fiercest of enemies to find common ground against Najib.

DiCaprio’s Role in Malaysia’s 1MDB Mess
By William Pesek
October 21, 2016 – Barrons


“Sad, shocking and most embarrassing” that there is not a word about 1MDB scandal

Kit Siang: Budget speech shows Najib’s denial syndrome

DAP supremo laments that there is not a word about the fight against corruption in the Budget speech despite Malaysia’s ‘infamy as a global kleptocracy’.

PETALING JAYA: The DAP’s Lim Kit Siang has decried the lack of reference to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal when Prime Minister Najib Razak delivered the budget estimates for 2017 on Friday.

In a media statement today, the DAP adviser said it was “sad, shocking and most embarrassing” that there is not a word about the 1MDB scandal.

“This is Najib’s denial syndrome at its worst”, he said.

He rebutted Najib’s description of an opposition demonstration in Parliament yesterday as an embarrassment, saying that it was Najib who had embarrassed himself with his budget speech, which had “not a word of refutation” about Malaysia’s infamy as a result of US Justice Department suits under its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative in July.

“In fact, there is not a word about Malaysia’s fight against corruption in the 2017 Budget despite the backdrop of Malaysia’s newly-acquired international infamy as a global kleptocracy,” Lim said.

He said Parliament must bear part responsibility if Malaysia fell in ranking on the Transparency International corruption perception index for 2016 to be published in December, for pretending that the 1MDB problem does not exist.

Kit Siang: Budget speech shows Najib’s denial syndrome
October 22, 2016 – FMT


Budget 2017: Public universities suffer almost 20pc spending cut

Budget 2017: Public universities suffer almost 20pc spending cut

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 – Public universities will see their combined operating budgets for 2017 slashed by about 19 per cent, or RM1.5 billion, a bigger cut than this year’s budget.

Out of the 20 public universities in Malaysia, 10 of them will be facing massive cuts ranging from over 10 per cent to over 31 per cent – including many top-ranking institutions – under Budget 2017 announced yesterday.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) suffers the biggest reduction in operating expenditure in terms of percentage with a 31.16 per cent drop from 2016 allocations, but Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) will be losing the most in terms of value with RM563 million wiped out from its operating budget.

Five other universities in the list are expected to have more marginal cuts of between RM93,500 (-0.06 per cent) to RM10.56 million (-4.74 per cent), while the remaining five will have marginal increases in the operating budget of between RM3.83 million (1.88 per cent) and RM13.61 million (8.85 per cent).

Taken as a whole, the budget for 20 universities’ combined operating expenditure in 2017 will be RM6.12 billion, which is a cut of RM1.46 billion or 19.23 per cent from the allocation of RM7.57 billion in 2016.

This comes as the Ministry of Higher Education’s total allocation for next year went down further to RM12.13 billion from RM13.38 billion for 2016, even as Putrajaya increased its overall budget to RM260.8 billion for 2017. The government also expects to reduce the fiscal deficit to 3 per cent of the GDP next year.

Even in the Budget 2016 tabled last year, the ministry’s total allocation fell by RM2.4 billion from 2015’s RM15.78 billion, resulting in public universities’ spending allocation for 2016 cut by RM1.4 billion or 16.5 per cent.

There was public uproar over the 2016 drop that saw 19 out of 20 universities’ budgets cut, with some losing over 20 per cent from their previous allocation, such as Universiti Malaya (UM) which then had a 27.3 per cent or RM175 million cut.

Budget 2017: Public universities suffer almost 20pc spending cut
October 22, 2016 – MMO


Ex-Federal Court judge rubbishes Pandikar’s sub judice cloak

Ex-Federal Court judge rubbishes Pandikar’s sub judice cloak

Former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram said speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia’s argument, that raising the 1MDB scandal in Parliament would be sub judice, is legally incorrect.

“With respect, I do not think that makes the matter sub judice.

“In any event, the minister’s answer will be hearsay evidence in the DOJ suit and will therefore be inadmissible unless the minister gives evidence in the suit.

“So with respect, I do not think that what is attributed to the honourable speaker is correct in law,” he told Malaysiakini.

Yesterday, Pandikar claimed it was sub judice to discuss the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) suit to seize 1MDB assets in the country, because the Hansard could then purportedly be cited by the DOJ in its hearing.

“What the minister said here can be quoted in the American trial. In my opinion, this can influence the trial,” he said.

On Tuesday, former Court of Appeal judge Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus also concurred, telling Malaysiakini the question of sub judice does not arise at all.

Fear of summons?

Meanwhile, a lawyer speculated Pandikar’s move to bar discussion of the 1MDB scandal may stem from fears that ministers who are forced to cover-up the 1MDB scandal in Parliament could be summoned by the US.

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s lawyer Mohd Haniff Khatri Abdulla alleged this is the reason the speaker ruled that questions related to 1MDB cannot be raised.

“What is there to hide? Tell the truth, even if it is bitter,” he told Malaysiakini.

“That is what people want to hear from elected representatives especially ministers. This is especially so in Parliament, where they are expected to tell the truth.

“If Pandikar is looking at the possibility of the Hansard being used to influence the DOJ case… then it only shows the speaker’s fear that ministers might be asked not to tell the truth and as a result of this, they could be summoned,” he said.

However, Haniff pointed out elected representatives have immunity with regard to what is said in Parliament.

Therefore, he pointed out that even if the DOJ subpoenaed them, they could apply to set it aside in Malaysia.

“So what is the fear in telling the truth? I am sure the DOJ will have their own evidence (and not merely rely on Malaysia’s Hansard).

“What is needed are true answers, which everyone, including Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, is evading,” he added.

Ex-Federal Court judge rubbishes Pandikar’s sub judice cloak
21 Oct 2016 – malaysiakini


Muhyiddin attacks Najib’s silence on Red Shirts

Muhyiddin attacks Najib’s silence on Red Shirts

He says Umno president giving tacit support to Jamal’s ‘racist and rude’ group and hurting race relations.

PETALING JAYA: Umno president Najib Razak was accused today of giving tacit support to the controversial Red Shirt movement with his lack of criticism of their activities.

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Muhyiddin Yassin said Najib’s silence on the “racist and rude Red Shirts” had contributed to the seemingly increasingly strained race relations in Malaysia.

“I would like to state that up till today, Najib Razak has never condemned the Red Shirts,” said Muhyiddin in a press statement today.

Muhyiddin criticised recent remarks by Najib who placed former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and ex-opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim at the centre of fraying racial relations.

“(It) is a wild accusation, one that is totally baseless and highly hypocritical,” said Muhyiddin, a former Umno deputy president and former deputy prime minister.

“Does Najib not realise that the seemingly increasingly strained racial relations in this country is due to his tacit support for the racist and rude Red Shirts? In fact, Jamal himself has confessed to the media that most members of the Red Shirts are members of Umno,” Muhyiddin said.

Muhyiddin said that the consistently aggressive and racist approach of the Red Shirts went against traditional Malay etiquette and culture, especially given the group’s claim to defend Malay rights.

He said Najib should have ordered Jamal and the Red Shirts to stop provoking and attacking supporters of the Bersih reform group who, he said, were committed to making the Malaysian electoral system more transparent and fair.

On Saturday, some members of a group of about 20 anti-Bersih protesters on motorcycles harrassed and manhandled three reporters and a videographer covering a Bersih road convoy in the Kuala Selangor area.

The anti-Bersih protesters were dressed in red. However, it was not known if they were members of Jamal’s movement.

Previous Bersih convoys in other areas have come under harassment from the pro-Umno Red Shirts and Jamal has said he would organise a counter-demonstration in Kuala Lumpur if the Bersih 5 street rally is held on Nov 19.

Muhyiddin attacks Najib’s silence on Red Shirts
October 16, 2016 – FMT

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?