Archive for May, 2016

31
May
16

PAC chairperson no longer trusted, MUST RESIGN!

PAC chief’s head must roll over Bank Negara’s letter

COMMENT | The Public Accounts Committee members were baffled as to why Hasan Arifin had unilaterally deleted sentences from the finalised PAC Report on 1MDB which quoted Bank Negara which disclosed that the “ultimate beneficiary of Good Star Limited is an individual not related to Petrosaudi International Limited”.

We were further stumped by Hasan’s failure to divulge to PAC members another letter from Bank Negara dated April 6, a day before the final PAC report was tabled in Parliament. When we discovered the existence of the letter via a ministerial reply in Parliament on May 17, we had confronted the PAC chairperson at our meeting the very next day.

All PAC opposition members were left speechless when Hasan refused to share the contents of the Bank Negara letter with us. We could not understand Hasan’s claims of confidentiality when PAC members were even authorised to review the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB which was classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). What could possibly be more confidential than OSA documents?

Hasan’s highly suspicious behaviour led us to believe that the Bank Negara letter responding to queries from the PAC must have contained some damning information on 1MDB. I had speculated two days ago that Bank Negara must have outed Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, as the sole beneficiary of Good Star Limited and demanded that the PAC chairperson confirm or deny my allegation. Hasan refused to respond to the press despite repeated queries.

Malaysians are ashamed because we have to depend on the foreign media, The Wall Street Journal in this case, to expose the truth contained in the said letter. The letter dated April 6 from Bank Negara to the PAC clearly stated that Good Star Limited is “beneficially owned by Low Taek Jho” and that there was never any change of ownership in the company.

This crucial piece of information opens up a whole Pandora’s Box and confirmed what critics like Sarawak Report, The Edge publications and opposition members of parliament have accused 1MDB all along – that out of the US$1.83 billion investment 1MDB carried out with Petrosaudi International Limited, at least US$1.03 billion have been directly misappropriated to Good Star Limited, owned by Jho Low.

Hasan has lied to PAC members

This incontrovertible evidence tears to shreds the pretence by Najib Razak and 1MDB’s top officials that Good Star Limited belongs to the Petrosaudi group, a claim which was not backed by any legally-admissible documentary evidence.

This vital evidence, if taken into consideration by the auditor-general and the PAC, would have made the already damning PAC report even more devastating. Fraud, while previously suspected, would have been confirmed.

In fact, had Hasan shared the Bank Negara letter with the PAC members, a whole new front of investigations would have been opened, including summoning Jho Low to testify before the PAC. Instead, he lied to the PAC members claiming that the Bank Negara letter was intended for his eyes only. This was despite the letter clearly making reference to the information being provided to the PAC for deliberations.

Hence it cannot be clearer that Hasan has been nominated by Najib and BN to hamper and cover up the investigations into 1MDB. The PAC chairperson has denigrated his parliamentary position to become a tool to help the crooks who stole billions of dollars of Malaysian taxpayers’ money.

He has lied to and acted against the decisions of the PAC. He has suppressed crucial evidence to cover up shenanigans multi-billion-ringgit fraud by the powers-that-be. He obstructed the parliamentary investigation into the single largest scandal in the history of Malaysia.

Hasan’s position as the PAC chairperson is no longer tenable because Malaysians can no longer trust him to carry out his role honestly, professionally and with integrity. We now call upon Hasan to resign as the chairperson of the PAC because he has brought disrepute to the committee and disgraced the Parliament.

…more
PAC chief’s head must roll over Bank Negara’s letter
28 May 2016 – malaysiakini

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30
May
16

Is there a conspiracy to cover-up info on real ownership of Good Star?

Kit Siang: Hasan caught lying again on 1MDB Report

Hasan Arifin has taken more than a month to think of an excuse to justify his “unilateral and arbitrary” deletion in the PAC Report on 1MDB.

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang wants to know whether Hasan Arifin, the chairman of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), was changing the story on why he had “unilaterally and arbitrarily tampered” with the PAC Report on 1MDB.

Lim, who is also Gelang Patah MP, noted in a statement that Hasan took more than a month to come up with a new excuse. “He now claims the information provided by Bank Negara was of ‘intelligence grade’, meaning presumably of low-quality credibility value.”

Earlier, recalled the DAP veteran, the deletion from the PAC Report on 1MDB was attributed by Hasan to the information provided by the central bank being “confidential for the purpose of intelligence only and not for court usage or public consumption”.

Hasan, reiterated Lim, has taken more than a month to think of a new excuse to justify his unilateral and arbitrary deletion of the PAC Report on 1MDB “without the knowledge or consent of the PAC members on both sides of the divide”.

Nobody understands what Hasan means when he categorizes the Bank Negara information as “intelligence grade” and cannot be accepted as true unless “verified”, pointed out Lim.

He warned the PAC Chairman that it was his job to verify the truth of Bank Negara’s information by summoning relevant witnesses.

“Jho Low and the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, as chairman of the 1MDB Board of Advisers, should have been summoned.”

“Najib is the sole person, under Article 117 of the 1MDB Memorandum and Articles of Association, who must give written consent for any major 1MDB decision or transaction.”

Lim thinks that the taxpayers would not begrudge Hassan and the PAC flying out to Seychelles, the emerald-green archipelago in the Indian Ocean, to come back with a positive answer on the beneficial owner of Good Star Limited. “The company has played so central a role in the nation’s first global mega financial scandal.”

Lim was commenting on Hasan “unilaterally and arbitrarily” rejecting Bank Negara’s information from financial watchdogs of other countries that Good Star Limited did not belong to PetroSaudi-International. “He failed as PAC Chairman.”

Hasan’s latest denial, continued Lim, has only “fortified” the belief that there’s a high-level “cover up” conspiracy on 1MDB. “The Ministers are so prone to lie when it comes to the RM55 billion 1MDB Scandal.”

Hasan aside, alleged Lim, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said has also been caught red-handed “telling another lie” in Parliament on the 1MDB Scandal.

The DAP veteran wants to know whether Azalina was observing some sort of new “Ministerial standard” on contradictions. “Ministerial statements, speeches and assurances, under the circumstances, don’t command any credibility.”

In a written parliamentary reply to Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua on Wednesday, lamented Lim, Azalina “insisted” that Good Star Limited, the firm which received USD1.03 billion from 1MDB, belonged to PetroSaudi International and/or was owned by it at the time the payment was made.

Azalina’s untruthful reply was doubly inexcusable, said Lim.

Firstly, it flies in the face of the Bank Negara letter to Hasan on April 6 disclosing that the central bank “had been informed voluntarily by the authorities of that country — Seychelles — that Good Star Limited is a company owned by an individual that has no links to PetroSaudi Group”.

“It was Azalina who cited this when defending the unilateral and arbitrary deletion by Hasan of a line in the PAC Report on 1MDB, “pointed out Lim. “The deletion was on the grounds that this Bank Negara information was confidential and not meant for publication.”

Secondly, Azalina told Parliament earlier that Good Star Limited was not a company owned by PetroSaudi International. “The following week she blatantly lied that Good Star Limited was owned by PetroSaudi International,” reminded Lim. “This contradicts what she had said only a few days earlier.”

…more
Kit Siang: Hasan caught lying again on 1MDB Report
May 29, 2016 – FMT

29
May
16

Malaysia letters deepen mystery over fate of 1MDB cash – Financial Times

Malaysia letters deepen mystery over fate of 1MDB cash

The fate of more than $1bn paid out by Malaysia’s scandal-hit 1MDB state investment fund has come under a fresh spotlight after leaked central bank letters suggested it went to a mysterious offshore company controlled by a flamboyant young financier.

The company in question is the Seychelles-registered Good Star. It is owned, according to claims in one of the central bank letters, by Jho Low, a 34-year-old Malaysian dealmaker and socialite known for partying lavishly with celebrities such as Paris Hilton.

Mr Low has since emerged as a figure of increasing interest as international investigations on several continents gradually reveal more about a case that Swiss authorities say may involve the misappropriation of $4bn from Malaysian state companies.

US authorities are focusing on the Good Star cash flows, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Meanwhile, BSI, the Swiss private bank that counted both 1MDB and Mr Low as clients, is facing a criminal investigation in Switzerland and the shutdown of its Singapore operation over alleged serious money-laundering breaches in relation to the Malaysian fund.

Neither Swiss nor Singaporean authorities named Mr Low, who has not been accused of any offences. He has always denied any wrongdoing in connection with 1MDB.

The 1MDB payments to Good Star were $700m in late 2009 and $330m in May 2011, according to a Malaysian central bank letter dated March 23 and seen by the FT. The letter from deputy governor Nor Shamsiah Yunus to Hasan Arifin, chairman of the Malaysian parliament’s public accounts committee, relates to a committee investigation into 1MDB. Neither Ms Nor nor Mr Hasan responded to requests for comment.

In a second letter on April 6, Ms Nor said two unnamed foreign authorities had told the central bank that Mr Low seemed to be the beneficial owner of Good Star. The overseas agencies provided the information on condition their identities not be revealed, the letter added.

One of the foreign authorities said Mr Low appeared to be the ultimate controller of both Good Star and a bank account in the company’s name opened at RBS Coutts in Zurich in June 2009, the central bank letter said. Swiss authorities are currently investigating hundreds of millions of dollars of 1MDB payments into this account. The letter did not make clear whether the ownership of either Good Star or the bank account had changed since then.

Mr Low did not respond to a request for comment sent to Jynwel Capital, the Hong Kong-based Low family company where he is chief executive.

In the Seychelles, where Good Star is registered, details of shareholders and directors are not openly available from corporate registries. The archipelago’s financial intelligence unit said last month it was assisting international probes into 1MDB.

The central bank letters are prompting new questions about Good Star’s ownership and appear to be at odds with an account given earlier this week by Malaysia’s prime minister.

Najib Razak reportedly told parliament in a written answer that, according to 1MDB records, Good Star was owned by PetroSaudi International, a Saudi oil company, at the time of the fund transfers. Those transfers, he added, were related to a joint venture between 1MDB and PetroSaudi that lasted from 2009 to 2012.

…more
Malaysia letters deepen mystery over fate of 1MDB cash
Michael Peel, Jeevan Vasagar, Anjli Raval and Kara Scannell
May 27, 2016 – Financial Times

29
May
16

Swiss approve dissolution of bank linked to 1MDB scandal

Najib Razak 1MDB scandal: Swiss approve dissolution of scandal-hit bank

Swiss financial regulators have approved the dissolution of Lugano-based BSI Bank over its links to a corruption scandal engulfing Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Swiss supervisor FINMA accused BSI, a merchant bank, of “serious breaches” of money-laundering regulations in its dealings with the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, which is at the heart of the corruption allegations.

In the toughest punitive action yet announced in the affair, FINMA said it was approving the takeover of the merchant bank by Zurich-based private banking group EFG International on the condition that BSI is integrated “and thereafter dissolved” within 12 months.

It ordered the seizure of $US96 million of BSI’s “illegally generated” profits.

“In the case of 1MDB, the bank executed numerous large transactions with unclear purpose over a period of several years and, despite clearly suspicious indications, did not clarify the background to these transactions,” the Swiss regulator said.

FINMA also said it was investigating two former top managers to determine what they knew about the illegal activities, warning that it may launch further probes.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Swiss Attorney-General’s office said that it had opened criminal proceedings against parent firm BSI SA “based on information revealed by the criminal proceedings in the 1MDB case”.

In a statement noting the Swiss actions, 1MDB said “it has not been contacted by any foreign lawful authority on matters relating to the company”, and was prepared to cooperate with foreign investigators subject to guidance from Malaysia’s Government.

The fund’s investments had not been impacted by the Swiss announcements, the statement added.

On the same day, Singapore’s central bank said it was kicking out BSI, for “serious breaches of anti-money laundering requirements, poor management oversight of the bank’s operations, and gross misconduct by some of the bank’s staff”.

In a statement, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it had also asked state prosecutors to investigate six senior executives of BSI Bank Limited, including its former chief executive for possible criminal offences.

Two Singaporean executives of the bank already face charges in the city-state.

…more
Najib Razak 1MDB scandal: Swiss approve dissolution of scandal-hit bank
24 May 2016 – ABC News

28
May
16

How Malaysia’s 1MDB probe was flawed

How Malaysia’s 1MDB probe was flawed

Investigations ordered by Malaysia’s leader into graft allegations at a state-development fund have been undermined by political pressure and a lack of transparency, according to documents and interviews with people involved.

Evidence possibly central to the probes was placed off limits or ignored, The Wall Street Journal found. Potentially crucial clues weren’t scrutinised. And at least one key figure, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak himself, wasn’t interviewed by investigators.

The promise of a thorough and transparent accounting of what happened at the fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MDB, has helped Mr Najib fend off domestic criticism. Now, though, with six foreign countries investigating allegations of corruption at 1MDB, pressure is rising at home for greater transparency.

Mr Najib in March 2015 pledged an independent probe into 1MDB, which he founded to spur economic development. He ordered the auditor general, an investigative agency whose findings are typically public, to compile a report on the fund’s activities. And he ordered the contents to be reviewed and debated by the Public Accounts Committee, a parliamentary body.

But the auditor general’s report into 1MDB, completed in March, was classified under Malaysia’s Officials Secrets Act, shielding it from public view.

The auditor general separately provided some information in a presentation to the Public Accounts Committee, said people who were present. Tony Pua, an opposition lawmaker who sits on the committee, said in a statement this month that the auditor general “has specifically confirmed that $US7 billion of 1MDB assets and transactions overseas cannot be verified or traced.”

The committee, however, made no mention of the $US7 billion estimate when it published its report on 1MDB in April and said only that an unspecified amount of money was unaccounted for.

“The issues are of such public importance that there cannot be any excuse for making the auditor general’s report an official secret,” said Razaleigh Hamzah, a senior politician with the United Malays National Organization, Mr Najib’s ruling party.

Hasan Arifin, a ruling-party politician who heads the committee, didn’t call Mr Najib to testify even though Mr Najib was chairman of 1MDB’s board of advisers and also is Malaysia’s finance minister, giving him ultimate oversight over the fund. Other participants in the inquiry repeatedly asked him to seek Mr Najib’s testimony, said Mr Pua and two current and former ruling-party politicians on the committee.

The auditor general didn’t respond to requests for comment.

When asked by Malaysian journalists why Mr Najib had not been called as a witness, Mr Hasan said, “I have to earn a living.” He later said the remark was a joke. Mr Hasan didn’t respond to requests for comment for this article.

Mr Hasan also didn’t inform the Parliamentary committee of evidence from a senior central bank official — transmitted in an April 6 letter to Mr Hasan — that $US1 billion in 1MDB funds had been transferred to an offshore company owned by a close associate of Mr Najib, said Mr Pua and the current ruling-party member. They said Mr Hasan never shared with the committee any of the contents of the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by the Journal.

…more
How Malaysia’s 1MDB probe was flawed
May 27, 2016 – The Australian

27
May
16

Malaysia 1MDB investigations didn’t examine key evidence, interview Najib: WSJ

Malaysia 1MDB investigations didn’t examine key evidence, interview Najib: WSJ

Malaysia’s investigations into troubled state-development fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) didn’t examine key evidence or interview Prime Minister Najib Razak, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Najib, who was chairman of 1MDB’s board of advisors as well as Malaysia’s finance minister, had ordered the auditor general to produce a report on 1MDB that was to be reviewed by a parliamentary committee, but that report was declared “classified” under Malaysia’s Officials Secrets Act, which meant it could not be revealed to the public, the WSJ reported.

The auditor general’s report said that $7 billion of 1MDB assets were unaccounted for, but the parliamentary committee didn’t mention this in its published report, nor did the committee’s head, Hasan Arifin, tell the committee about a letter he received from a senior central bank official that $1 billion of 1MDB funds were transferred to an offshore company owned by a close associate of Najib, the WSJ reported.

Najib has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB.

When Malaysian journalists asked why Najib wasn’t called to testify, Hasan said “I have to earn a living,” although he later said the remark was a joke, the Wall Street Journal reported, adding that Hasan did not comment for its story.

Najib’s office, 1MDB and Hasan didn’t immediately return emails from CNBC seeking comment.

…more
Malaysia 1MDB investigations didn’t examine key evidence, interview Najib: WSJ
27 May 2016 – CNBC

26
May
16

1MDB scandal starting to unravel in foreign legal jurisdictions

1MBD Starts to Come Apart

MAS probe probably will be followed by charges in other global jurisdictions

The decision on May 24 by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to force the closure of BSI Bank Ltd – the first merchant bank to be closed in Singapore in 32 years – means that after months of last-ditch defense in Malaysia, the scandal over the state-backed 1Malaysia Development Bhd is finally starting to unravel in legal jurisdictions across the world.

The implications may well go beyond 1MDB, according to sources in Kuala Lumpur, who say businessmen and politicians have been rattled by the charges. In addition to 1MDB, they say, BSI also handled a large volume of banking business for other Malaysian VIPs wanting access to a Swiss account.

The MAS also fined the bank S$13.3 million for 41 cases of breaches of money laundering and other laws. MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon called BSI Bank “the worst case of control lapses and gross misconduct that we have seen in the Singapore financial sector.”

The monetary authority also said it is investigating “several other financial institutions and bank accounts through which suspicious and unusual transactions have taken place.”

They are likely to include a variety of institutions connected to the flamboyant Malaysian Chinese financial Jho Taek Low including an entity called Good Star Ltd and other Swiss institutions such as Falcon Bank, which was involved in transactions around a mysterious US$681 million “donation” to Najib’s personal accounts. The money was deposited in Najib’s Ambank account in in Kuala Lumpur in March 2013 and just as mysteriously transferred out a few months later to a Swiss intermediary in Singapore before it simply disappeared.

Seven countries probing irregularities

The MAS action takes place against the backdrop of investigations into 1MDB’s affairs by seven jurisdictions including the United States, Abu Dhabi, Luxembourg and Hong Kong. On the same day of the Singapore action, the office of the Swiss Attorney General announced it would open criminal proceedings against the parent BSI SA over what authorities called “links to corruption allegations against Malaysia’s 1MDB fund.”

The Swiss attorney general’s office said it had information suggesting “the offences of money laundering and bribery of foreign public officials currently under investigation in the context of the 1MDB case could have been prevented” by BSI.

In a separate statement, BSI Switzerland, which has since been sold to EFG International, a bank authorized by FINMA and headquartered in Switzerland, said it would cooperate with the investigation and described the case as involving “legacy issues and removing uncertainty for clients and staff in relation to 1MDB.” BSI Singapore’s assets and liabilities are to be transferred to the Singapore branch of EFG.

The Swiss authorities also said they would seize SFR95 million from BSI SA and begin enforcement procedures against two former BSI staff. BSI group chief executive Stefano Coduri has quit.

Six members of senior management and staff in Singapore have been referred to the public prosecutor for possible prosecution. They are Hans Peter Brunner, former CEO, Raj Sriram, the former Deputy CEO, Kevin Michael Swampillai, Head of Wealth Management Services, Yak Yew Chee, former Senior Private Banker, Yeo Jiawei, former Wealth Planner; and Seah Yew Foong Yvonne, former Senior Private Banker. Swampillai has been suspended by the bank and Yeo Jiawei has already been arrested.

Numerous acts of gross misconduct

The deeply-detailed 1,032-word statement by the MAS accuses the bank of “widespread control failures which led to numerous serious breaches of various anti-money laundering regulations, poor and ineffective oversight by the senior management of BSI Bank, an unacceptable risk culture, with blatant disregard for compliance and control requirements as well as MAS’ regulations and numerous acts of gross misconduct by certain staff.”

But what is never mentioned in the statement is that BSI, the Singapore unit of the Swiss parent BSI Bank, was inextricably involved with 1MBD’s operations. 1MBD’s chief economic adviser and the man tasked with signing off all major financial decisions was Prime Minister Najib Razak. 1MDB is now being wound up, with its assets being sold off in the midst of unfunded liabilities estimated to be as high as RM42 billion. It is arguably the biggest financial scandal in Malaysian history.

Despite that, the story got scant treatment in Malaysia, with the New Straits Times carrying a Reuters story that didn’t mention 1MDB. The Star story only mentioned a “Malaysian state fund” without naming 1MDB. Only the online news portal Malaysiakini gave the story full treatment.

…more
1MBD Starts to Come Apart
May 25, 2016 – Asia Sentinel




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BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
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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?

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