13
Sep
16

1MDB SCANDAL – How $1 Billion Made Its Way to the Prime Minister

How $1 Billion Made Its Way to the Prime Minister

Investigators say at least $3.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB. Here’s how they believe $1 billion ended up in the bank accounts of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Every time Malaysian government investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MDB, borrowed money, large amounts of the cash were quickly misappropriated, according to investigators. The money followed a circuitous path among private banks, offshore companies and funds, bank records show, and roughly $1 billion landed in the private bank accounts of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

That cash is part of $3.5 billion that was embezzled from 1MDB, according to a U.S. Justice department complaint. Investigators from seven countries are trying to figure out what happened to the money and the U.S. moved to seize $1 billion in property in July, including luxury real estate in New York and Beverly Hills, a private jet and art allegedly purchased with 1MDB money. Singapore has charged a banker with money laundering in relation to 1MDB and Abu Dhabi has arrested and frozen the assets of a top official who was deeply involved with the fund. The banker and the official haven’t commented.

This interactive graphic tracks the route that investigators believe the money took from the time it was raised by 1MDB until it landed in the private bank accounts of Mr. Najib at AmBank Bhd., a Malaysian bank, between 2011 and 2015.

The money was raised on three separate occasions and took three separate paths, sometimes flowing directly, while in other cases it split and took different routes, only to be reunited in the AmBank accounts according to the Justice Department complaint. The cash flowed through Singapore, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, the Seychelles, the British Virgin Islands and Curaçao. Other funds disappear, often into accounts controlled by other players in the scandal, the complaint said.

This description is based on bank-transfer documents, investigative files from two countries, people familiar with transactions and the 136-page Justice Department complaint, which is seeking to seize assets bought with funds misappropriated from 1MDB.

Mr. Najib hasn’t acknowledged all of the transfers into his accounts, but he said that $681 million was a legal donation from the royal family of Saudi Arabia and the Malaysian attorney general agreed with that explanation, clearing him of any wrongdoing. Mr. Najib said he returned most of the funds to the Saudi Arabian donor. 1MDB has denied wrongdoing and said it would cooperate with any lawful international investigation.

According to the Justice Department, the money went back to the offshore company that originally sent it to Mr. Najib’s accounts, and from there it was used to fuel other investments and spending by a Malaysian financier allegedly at the center of the scheme named Jho Low. A lawyer for Mr. Low declined to comment.

A portion of the money from 1MDB passed through Saudi Arabia on its way to Mr. Najib’s accounts and $80 million appears to have been transferred by the Ministry of Finance in Saudi Arabia. The origin of the rest of the Saudi money is still under investigation.

TRANSACTION 1
THE SAUDI ARABIAN OIL-VENTURE MONEY

HOW THE MONEY WAS RAISED

1MDB borrowed about $1.8 billion for a joint venture with Saudi oil company PetroSaudi International Ltd.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MONEY

About $1 billion of the cash went to a Seychelles company called Good Star Ltd.

HOW THE MONEY GOT TO MR. NAJIB’S BANK ACCOUNTS

A co-founder of PetroSaudi, Prince Turki bin Abdullah, received $24.5 million from Good Star before transferring $20 million to Mr. Najib via an intermediary, according to the Justice Department and a person familiar with the U.S. investigation into 1MDB. The same intermediary sent other funds into Mr. Najib’s accounts, bank transfer documents show, but the origin of the funds is still under investigation. PetroSaudi, Prince Turki and Prince Faisal did not respond to requests for comment.

TRANSACTION 2
THE POWER-PLANT MONEY

HOW THE MONEY WAS RAISED

Two bonds worth a total of $3.5 billion were sold for 1MDB by Goldman Sachs to fund the purchase of power plants.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MONEY

After paying a substantial fee to Goldman, 1MDB was supposed to pay money for a guarantee on the bonds to a unit of Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company called Aabar Investments PJS. Instead, the funds went to the similarly named Aabar Investments PJS Ltd., a British Virgin Islands registered company that IPIC says isn’t part of its corporate structure, which received billions of dollars from 1MDB entities over the years. The money was then distributed to beneficiaries of the alleged fraud, according to the Justice Department.

HOW THE MONEY GOT TO MR. NAJIB’S ACCOUNTS

From Aabar BVI, about $637 million went to a company called Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners in the British Virgin Islands, where it was pooled with other funds. Blackstone has no connection to the Blackstone Group, the New York private-equity firm.

Another $463 million went from Aabar BVI to two mutual funds in the Caribbean island of Curaçao and then onto Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners, which transferred a total of $170 million to Mr. Najib’s bank accounts in multiple transactions during 2012, bank transfer documents show.

TRANSACTION 3
THE ABU DHABI REAL-ESTATE MONEY

HOW THE MONEY WAS RAISED

1MDB sold $3 billion in bonds via Goldman Sachs to fund a real-estate joint venture with Abu Dhabi.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MONEY

Immediately after paying Goldman Sachs its substantial fees, 1MDB transferred nearly half of the cash to a series of funds, shell companies and other intermediaries located in the British Virgin Islands and Curaçao. Eventually $1.27 billion ended up in a British Virgin Islands company called Tanore Finance Corp.

HOW THE MONEY GOT TO MR. NAJIB’S ACCOUNTS

Tanore transferred $680 million to Mr. Najib’s accounts. A few months later, $620 million was returned to Tanore before disappearing back into a maze of offshore companies, according to the Justice Department and investigative documents reviewed by the Journal.

THE LAST STEP
THE FOUR PATHS INTO THE PRIME MINISTER’S BANK ACCOUNTS

HOW IT GOT TO MR. NAJIB’S ACCOUNTS

Of the $1.05 billion Mr. Najib received in his accounts, only $80 million appears to clearly originate with Saudi Arabia, via its Finance Ministry, though the details of that transfer are still unknown. Another $120 million that came via an intermediary based in Saudi Arabia are still under investigation, according to a person familiar with the U.S. investigation. At least $20 million of that $120 million has been traced clearly back to 1MDB by investigators. The remaining $850 million came via Tanore Finance and Blackstone Asia, and has been traced back to 1MDB by investigators, according to people familiar with the probe.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MONEY

Mr. Najib used the money in his AmBank accounts for personal and political spending, according to investigative documents reviewed by the Journal that detail more than 500 transactions. He wrote checks to politicians in his political party and also paid millions of dollars for personal expenses, including $130,625 at a Chanel store in Hawaii and €750,000 at a jewelry store in Switzerland.

…more
How $1 Billion Made Its Way to the Prime Minister
By Bradley Hope, Tyler Paige, Will Welch, Maryanne Murray and Chris Canipe
Wall Street Journal
Sept. 1, 2016


0 Responses to “1MDB SCANDAL – How $1 Billion Made Its Way to the Prime Minister”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


REJECT such a leader!
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?

Archives


%d bloggers like this: