Archive for June, 2017

30
Jun
17

‘Why is AG complaining about US suit when he ignored Swiss plea for help?’

‘Why is AG complaining about US suit when he ignored Swiss plea for help?’

OPPOSITION leaders have slammed Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali over his claim that the US Department of Justice’s latest civil suit to seize assets bought with money allegedly misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) was politically motivated because his office was not consulted by US authorities.

They say the procedure to recover the assets doesn’t require information from the scandal-ridden state investment fund.

DAP lawmaker Tony Pua said Apandi should not have complained about the civil suits as Malaysia had previously rejected the Swiss attorney-general’s request for mutual legal assistance (MLA).

“Previously, Swiss AG requested assistance from Malaysia and he rejected it.

“So what is he talking about when he didn’t provide any assistance to the Swiss AG?” he said at a press conference at Parliament today.

Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) strategy director Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said DoJ was making a judgment in rem to investigate how the money was plundered and brought into the US.

“So they are using their kleptocracy (asset recovery initiative) procedure to get back all the money stolen and spent in the US.

“In other words, there is no need to for them to refer to 1MDB, this is different to judgment in personam, which they will refer to 1MDB,” he added.

Judgment in rem is a legal principle that entails making a judgment on the status of an object or subject without taking into account the owners or persons who might have an interest in the matter. In contrast, a judgement in personam involves legal action against a person.

Apandi told the national news agency yesterday that the US DoJ never officially requested the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) for information or clarification.

Hei also said that the US DoJ civil suits were politically motivated.

“If they had asked, it is our responsibility to assist them. Therefore, I have come to a conclusion that it is politically motivated,” said Apandi, who cleared Prime Minister Najib Razak of any wrongdoing in 1MDB after reviewing the investigation papers in January last year.

Apandi, notably, had said last year that the US$681 million (RM2.6 billion) that Najib received in his bank account was a personal donation from the Saudi royal family. – June 28, 2017.

…more
‘Why is AG complaining about US suit when he ignored Swiss plea for help?’
28 Jun 2017 – Malaysian Insight

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29
Jun
17

Apandi Ali has exceeded powers as Attorney General, says DAP’s Kit Siang

Apandi Ali has exceeded powers as Attorney General, says DAP’s Kit Siang

Media Statement by DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Gelang Patah Lim Kit Siang in Gelang Patah on Wednesday, 28th June 2017:

Apandi has exceeded his powers and jurisdiction as Attorney General and usurped the powers of the Cabinet, in particular the Foreign Minister, when he pronounced the US DOJ kleptocratic action as “politically motivated”

Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, has exceeded his powers and jurisdiction as Attorney-General and usurped the powers of the Cabinet and in particular the Foreign Minister when he pronounced in Kota Bahru yesterday that the US Department of Justice (DOJ)’s largest kleptocratic actions to forfeit US$1.7 billon 1MDB-linked assets out of US$4.5 billion 1MDB money-laundering activities through American banks and financial system as “politically motivated”.

The decision whether the United States, or any other country, had been “politically motivated” in taking action, whether legal or of otherwise, which are prejudicial to the national interests should be made by the Cabinet and not by the Attorney-General.

It is for the Attorney-General to submit such a case to the Cabinet but it is for the Cabinet to decide and act on whether the US DOJ action is “politically motivated”.

Otherwise we have “the tail wagging the dog” phenomenon, with the Attorney-General yesterday setting and announcing the agenda that the US DOJ action is “politically motivated”, which is to be endorsed and acted upon by the Cabinet at its meeting today.

In our system of government, it is the AG who is answerable to the Cabinet and not the Cabinet which is answerable and beholden to the AG!

Of course, everybody knows that the AG would not unilaterally act in this fashion to usurp the powers of the Cabinet if he did not have the “green light” from the Prime Minister himself, but this does not in any way justify the AG usurping the powers and functions of the Cabinet.

Apandi is behaving as the most “political” Attorney-General in the nation’s history, even more “political” than Tan Sir Kadir Yusuf who as the Attorney-General in the early Merdeka years, was a member of the Cabinet.

Apandi is under intense pressure recently as a result of various developments, starting with the updated US DOJ kleptocratic suits on June 15; the interview of the former Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Zeti Aktar Aziz who clearly appointed an accusing finger at Apandi; the handing over to the US DOJ investigators by American actor Leonardo diCaprio and Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr of their multi-million US dollar gifts from Jho Low purchased from stolen 1MDB funds; and the charging of the Brazilian President Michel Temer for corruption by the Brazilian Attorney-General Rodrigo Janot, becoming the first Brazilian sitting head of state to be formally charged with a crime.

But these extraordinary pressures cannot be reasons or excuses for Apandi to usurp the powers and functions of the Cabinet.

Apandi should heed the advice and views of his longest-serving predecessor Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, who served as Attorney-General from 1980 to 1993, on the law on the DOJ anti-money laundering actions.

Abu Talib said the US DOJ need not consult Malaysian authorities about the 1MDB case as investigations are confined to its jurisdiction.

He said the US was concerned about the use of its financial system to purchase assets allegedly using laundered money.

“The question of getting in touch with the Malaysian attorney-general does not arise,” Abu Talib said in response to Apandi’s complaint that the DOJ did not refer to his office about the 1MDB case.

Abu Talib said the DOJ was not investigating individuals or activities in Malaysia but their action only concerns using their financial system to acquire assets from funds which were deemed to be illegally acquired.

Is this exposition of the law of anti-money-laundering by the former Attorney-General too difficult and too deep for the present Attorney-General to understand or to grasp?

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Apandi Ali has exceeded powers as Attorney General, says DAP’s Kit Siang
June 28, 2017 – theedgemarkets.com

28
Jun
17

Ex-AG: DoJ action independent, no need to consult Malaysia

Ex-AG: DoJ action independent, no need to consult Malaysia

Former attorney-general Abu Talib Othman says DoJ’s investigation only concerns the use of its financial system to acquire assets from funds illegally acquired.

PETALING JAYA: The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) need not consult Malaysian authorities about the 1MDB case as investigations are confined to its jurisdiction, former attorney-general Abu Talib Othman said.

He said the US was concerned about the use of its financial system to purchase assets allegedly using laundered money.

“The question of getting in touch with the Malaysian attorney-general does not arise,” Abu Talib said in response to current AG Mohamed Apandi Ali’s complaint that the DoJ did not refer to his office about the 1MDB case.

Abu Talib, who served as AG from 1980 to 1993, said the DoJ also did not make any allegation against Prime Minister Najib Razak, and that its actions were confined to activities in the US.

“The DoJ is not investigating individuals or activities in Malaysia but their action only concerns using their financial system to acquire assets from funds which were deemed to be illegally acquired,” he said.

Apandi yesterday dismissed the latest suit by US authorities over 1MDB but said Malaysia would welcome any request in line with “our commitment to international cooperation and the fight against money laundering”.

Apandi added that no Malaysian or international authority investigating 1MDB had furnished any evidence of misappropriated funds.

“The same goes for investigations carried out by the DoJ, which had failed to provide any evidence that funds were misappropriated from 1MDB,” Apandi had said in a statement following news reports on the latest DoJ action.

“We would like to express strong concerns at the insinuations that have been made against the prime minister of criminal wrongdoing,” the AG said, adding that no charges had been brought against Najib, who until last year was the chairman of 1MDB’s advisory board.

Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing in connection with 1MDB and was cleared by Apandi on Jan 26, last year.

In its latest court filings in California, the DoJ is seeking to seize US$540 million (RM2.3 billion) in assets including art works, jewellery and film rights purchased with funds allegedly embezzled from 1MDB.

The assets named in the applications included the film rights to two comedies, “Dumb and Dumber To” starring Jim Carrey and “Daddy’s Home” with Will Ferrell. Both productions were allegedly financed with millions of dollars from the state-owned investment fund.

Last July’s civil forfeiture suit sought to recover all the assets including but not limited to the Park Lane hotel in New York, a luxury hotel in Beverly Hills, condominiums in New York, a private jet, expensive works of art, as well as the financing of Martin Scorsese’s movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio.

With the recent court filings, the total value of the assets sought by the DoJ increases to US$1.8 billion (RM7.7 billion).

The DoJ charged that from 2009 through 2015, more than US$4.5 billion (RM19 billion) belonging to 1MDB had been diverted by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.

Abu Talib said in any event, the DoJ has to prove its case in court to seize all the assets.

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Ex-AG: DoJ action independent, no need to consult Malaysia
June 18, 2017 – FMT

27
Jun
17

Miranda Kerr Hands Over $8.1 Million in Jewelry to Justice Department – WSJ

WSJ

Miranda Kerr Hands Over $8.1 Million in Jewelry to Justice Department

Australian model Miranda Kerr has handed over $8.1 million worth of jewelry to the U.S. Justice Department a week after lawsuits said it was purchased for her by Malaysian financier Jho Low with allegedly misappropriated funds, according to her spokesman.

Ms. Kerr transferred the gifts Friday to government agents from her safe-deposit box in Los Angeles, the spokesman said.

“From the start of the inquiry, Miranda Kerr cooperated fully and pledged to turn over the gifts of jewelry to the government,” he said. “Ms. Kerr will continue to assist with the inquiry in any way she can.”

Ms. Kerr isn’t a defendant in the lawsuits.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

The department filed civil-forfeiture lawsuits this year and last year seeking assets it alleges were bought with money misappropriated from a Malaysian sovereign-wealth fund called 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MDB.

The jewelry is among more than $1.7 billion worth of assets the Justice Department seeks; the assets also include a $250 million yacht, stakes in companies and luxury real estate in London, New York and Los Angeles.

1MDB has denied any wrongdoing and said it has found no evidence any of its money was misappropriated. The fund has pledged to cooperate with any lawful investigation. Malaysia has closed all but one of its domestic investigations into 1MDB with no wrongdoing found.

Mr. Low, who hasn’t been accused of a crime, said in a statement after the latest asset forfeiture cases were filed that the U.S. government’s “latest move continues its inappropriate efforts to seize assets despite not having proven that any improprieties have occurred.” He has pledged to fight the lawsuits.

Ms. Kerr dated Mr. Low for about a year in 2014, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Justice Department says that during that time he gave her four gifts of jewelry. Ms. Kerr was married last month to Snap Inc. co-founder Evan Spiegel.

Mr. Low bought one of the pieces, a 11.72 carat, heart-shaped diamond pendant, as a Valentine’s Day gift for Ms. Kerr from the well-known jeweler Lorraine Schwartz, the civil forfeiture complaint says.

On Jan. 29, 2014, he texted Ms. Schwartz to ask about a heart-shaped necklace, adding that he had a budget of $1 million to $2 million and that “[s]ize matters,” the complaint says. The final cost was $1.29 million, it said.

He also gave her an 8.88-carat diamond pendant worth $3.8 million, the complaint says.

Earlier this month, a spokesman for actor Leonardo DiCaprio said Mr. DiCaprio had turned over artwork gifted to him by Mr. Low, alleged gifts described in one of the Justice Department lawsuits.

…more
Miranda Kerr Hands Over $8.1 Million in Jewelry to Justice Department
By Bradley Hope
June 26, 2017 – WSJ

26
Jun
17

1MDB – The sound of silence

The sound of silence

COMMENT | 1MDB is a four letter word that is extremely vulgar, not only to the ears of the people and the opposition, but to the government. Many in the government are sick of it. Thus when investigations related to 1MDB emerge time and again, many resort to burying their proverbial heads in the sand.

As the saying goes: “Siapa makan cili akan merasa pedasnya” (Those who consume the chillies will feel the heat).

Thus, who stood up to defend Malaysia? Oddly enough, no one. At least no one of any importance. The MO1, who Abdul Rahman Dahlan, an Umno Supreme Council member and now a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, had identified as Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak sometime in September last year, had decided to say nothing detailed.

Granted that the latest revelation of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is another reputational hit on the good name of Malaysia, why has the PM (using Rahman Dahlan’s official declaration of MO1 as the PM) been silent? He needs to take it head-on to check the disrepute that is being associated with Malaysia due to 1MDB.

In law, ignorance cannot be used as an excuse. Well, the same goes for silence. Silence cannot be equated with freedom from guilt. Thus MO1’s quiescent approach to the DOJ revelations is quaint, to the say the least.

As a public official, indeed, an elected member of parliament from Pekan, it goes without saying that the PM should be the first to respond. After all, the good name of the country is being put under scrutiny.

Yet, it was left to Mohd Puad Zarkashi to deny the allegations. Does anyone even know Puad Zakarshi at all, let alone the fact that he is a member of the Umno Supreme Council?

With due respect, if anyone should defend the PM at all, that responsibility should go to Deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

But, then again, where was Zahid Hamidi when he was badly needed to defend both the PM and the good name of Malaysia? Again, the deputy PM was silent.

Therein lies the rub: both could be ignoring the national interest of Malaysia, which goes to the heart of the reputation of the country, which in turn could affect the rating of Malaysia in the international financial system, as decided by Moody’s or Standard and Poor’s, affecting the costs of capital through increased interest rates. Or, the PM and deputy PM have taken to conceding that it is pointless to defend the indefensible.

Thus, the job of defending Malaysia on 1MDB went to the third tier of wannabes.

Those old hacks who still wanted to climb the slippery pole of public office, with the goal of being made a senator, potentially a Dato Seri or Tan Sri, were the ones who continued to fend for the PM.

Thus one sees the likes of Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim and black propagandists like Lim Sian See and Raja Petra Kamarudin taking to the public gallery to support the PM.

When the attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali himself does not take any legal action, one wonders why other jurisdictions internationally have all found the sordid dealings of 1MDB to be incriminating. Some have been charged, found guilty and sentenced. Some banks were closed or fined. In Malaysia, nothing, zilch. All kosher!

Quiet as a mouse

Now, beyond the usual suspects from Umno spinmasters and the Attorney-General’s Chambers who still support MO1 – this despite the truths that have surfaced – there are others who have chosen to defend MO1 by not defending him at all!

Instead of reviving the Public Accounts Commissions (PAC), neither the backbenchers nor the ‘cari-makan’ chairperson of the PAC have called for more investigations.

…more
The sound of silence
Rais Hussin
24 June 2917 – malaysiakini

25
Jun
17

Probe Grave Allegations by the US Department of Justice Exhaustively and Without Delay – Malaysian Bar

Probe Grave Allegations by the US Department of Justice Exhaustively and Without Delay

The Malaysian Bar is deeply concerned about the serious allegations set out in the civil suit filed by the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) on 15 June 2017, which seeks “the forfeiture and recovery of approximately [USD]540 million in assets associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund”.

According to the DOJ, this case — together with the civil forfeiture complaints filed by the DOJ on 20 July 2016 seeking more than USD1 billion, and on 7 June 2017 seeking approximately USD100 million in assets — represents the largest action ever brought under its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. The assets now subject to forfeiture total almost USD1.7 billion.

The allegations contained in the DOJ’s court filings implicate officials of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB”), their family members and other associates — including an individual described as “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1”, who has since been acknowledged to be the Prime Minister — of wrongdoing. In view of the gravity of the claims, the manner in which the civil suits have been downplayed, dismissed, and even denounced by Malaysian authorities, without addressing the substance of the allegations made, is troubling and unacceptable.

Although the allegations are not proven until judgment is awarded in favour of the United States of America, it is critical that they be investigated by the Malaysian Government comprehensively and objectively based on evidence, in the interest of transparency, accountability and good governance. Without having done so, it is premature for the Government to disregard these allegations, or exonerate any individual or company of any wrongdoing.

Local news coverage of these civil suits has appeared muted, which is troubling, given the severity of the allegations. The integrity and credibility of our financial institutions and regulatory bodies, in the eyes of the nation as well as the global audience, rest on the Malaysian Government’s response.

We are heartened by the statement in April 2017 by the Attorney General of Malaysia, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Haji Mohamed Apandi Haji Ali, that he had never ordered that the investigation into 1MDB be stopped, and that “no files are closed permanently when we say NFA (no further action), even the 1MDB file”. In light of the new information disclosed by the DOJ’s latest civil suit, the Attorney General must, as the prudent and necessary next step, direct the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to resume its investigations into 1MDB.

The Malaysian Bar further urges the Attorney General to seek, without delay, assistance from the DOJ to provide all information relevant for investigations into the matter. The same should be done in respect of the relevant authorities in numerous other jurisdictions where there have been investigations, measures imposed, criminal prosecutions and convictions, or proceedings for forfeiture of assets, against individuals or financial institutions.

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Press Release | Probe Grave Allegations by the US Department of Justice Exhaustively and Without Delay
23 June 2017 – Malaysian Bar

24
Jun
17

Here’s why Isa Samad should not be SPAD chief

Here’s why Isa Samad should not be SPAD chief

Can we entrust the welfare of millions of Malaysians who use public transport to a man, who has proven to be incompetent and inexperienced with questionable integrity?

COMMENT

On June 19, when Isa Samad resigned as Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV) chairman, Prime Minister Najib Razak appointed him as the acting chairman of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) with immediate effect “in appreciation of Isa’s role” in FGV.

This is an absolutely ridiculous appointment. No one will believe that Isa is the best candidate to fill the post left vacant with the retirement of Syed Hamid Albar.

Here are three main reasons why Isa Samad should not be the chief of SPAD.

First, he is undoubtedly incompetent. Under his chairmanship, FGV went from glory to sorry.

In 2012, when FGV went for its US$3.1 billion initial public offering (IPO), it was the world’s second largest IPO of the year, after only Facebook Inc’s US$16 billion IPO.

In five years, FGV’s market capitalisation dropped more than 60% from around RM19 billion to only around RM6 billion, meaning RM13 billion had evaporated from the original value of the company.

The share price went from RM4.641on June 29, 2012 to only RM1.75 as of close of trading on June 23, 2017.

In addition, FGV started with a cash surplus of RM5.09 billion in December 2012 but four years later in December 2016, it is RM1.97 billion in debt. FGV’s current sorry state of affairs didn’t happen overnight, it was a result of a series of missteps, all of which were made under the watch of Isa.

Second, Isa has little, if any, experience in public transport. He made no significant contribution in public transport either during his over 20 years as Negeri Sembilan menteri besar or during his one year stint as Federal Territories minister.

Even as an MP, there is no traceable record of him raising public transport issues.

The chairman of SPAD should be someone with experience in the public transport industry and passionate about public transport in Malaysia.

I am sure there are more suitable candidates from within the public transport sector or relevant industries in Malaysia or within SPAD and other relevant government agencies for the position.

So, why did Najib choose Isa over others?

Third and most importantly, Isa has a highly-questionable integrity track record.

He was found guilty of money politics by Umno over the contest for the Umno vice-presidency in the party polls in 2004, and was suspended by the party for three years from 2005.

The now suspended CEO of FGV, Datuk Zakaria Arshad, was quoted by The Edge that there were instances of direct negotiations and direct contracts in FGV, which he attempted to stop but was overruled by the board of directors, led by Isa as non-executive chairman.

As pointed out by my colleague Liew Chin Tong (Kluang MP), SPAD is directly or indirectly responsible for the RM55 billion East Cost Rail Link, RM60 billion KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail, MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line (RM28 billion) and MRT Circle Line (more than RM20 billion).

Therefore, how can a person with such a questionable track record like Isa be the chief of SPAD?

…more
Here’s why Isa Samad should not be SPAD chief
By Yeo Bee Yin
June 24, 2017 – FMT




Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1) (Part 2)
BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
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?

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