Archive for June, 2017

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.

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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.

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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.

…more
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?

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

23
Jun
17

DOJ just doing its job, but is AG doing his?

DOJ just doing its job, but is AG doing his?

YOURSAY | ‘A civilised government would not allow money to be laundered on their soil.’

Not an attempt to topple Malaysian gov’t, says US embassy

Peacemaker: The American diplomatic corps must be laughing at the bunch of idiotic ministers Malaysians have appointed.

Ministers who spuriously accuse Washington of trying to bring down the Malaysian government when all that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is doing is its duty.

If Putrajaya feels so offended by the DOJ’s suits, they should apply to intervene in the judicial process there.

Headhunter: A civilised government would not allow money to be laundered on their soil, particularly if it is stolen by foreign heads of states from their own people. That’s good governance.

And why are we still arguing who Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) is? Due to diplomatic niceties, the DOJ is not naming names, but it is obvious who they are pointing their finger at.

And that’s the reason some BN leaders are trying to defend the indefensible, making fools of themselves in the process.

The Fog of Life: It would appear that Umno leaders still do not (or don’t want to) understand that the DOJ is fully satisfied that US$4.5 billion has been allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB.

Furthermore, Umno leaders need to understand that the DOJ is committed to the rule of law and are holding people to account for their alleged criminal acts.

Theft and money laundering are serious offences, and the US won’t sit back and allow their financial system to be used by criminals.

To suggest the DOJ’s actions are about toppling the Malaysian government is childish at best. Umno is no match for the DOJ’s values and commitment to do the right thing. Rhetoric from Umno will not change anything.

How about Umno sending their brightest boys and girls to the DOJ to clarify the issues? Common sense, right? The fact that Umno has not done so has resulted, justifiably, in its conviction in the court of public opinion.

Anonymous 2439101477311390: Yes, the DOJ and the US government is right to arrest money laundering in their own country. Malaysian Official 1 (MO1), ministers Abdul Rahman Dahlan and Umno information chief Annuar Musa, what do you have to say now?

Perhaps you can ask attorney-general (AG) Mohamed Apandi Ali and lawyer cum prosecutor Muhammad Shafee Abdullah to challenge the DOJ and the US government.

Anonymous #70881335: Malaysia, 1MDB and MO1 are making news all over the world for the wrong reasons. And here, you’ve got half-witted persons trying to deny everything.

We, the rakyat, just want our money back, and justice to be done. Is that so difficult to understand?

Legit: The DOJ is a fiercely independent institution, and they don’t even bow to the whims and fancies of their own president. Malaysians can only envy the independence of such institutions, as our local institutions are completely the opposite.

It is an absolute shame that Malaysian ‘leaders’ hide behind their religion and race to justify their allegedly criminal and uncouth behaviour and blame other countries for trying to topple a Muslim government.

Malaysians and the world community at large know by now that it is not in the genes of these so-called ‘leaders’ to behave like adults and speak like respected statesmen. Shameful!

Mosquitobrain: The coffin has been nailed from day one when the DOJ reported 1MDB’s mega money laundering and MO1.

Since then, Umno’s warlords have been scurrying all over trying hard to defend their master. The writing is all over the wall. How are they to defend the indefensible?

Anonymous_1419577444: “The (US Embassy) spokesperson stressed that the DOJ suits were part of an initiative to protect US markets and financial systems from money launderers.”

Wow! This is an outright insinuation that MOI, his wife, tycoon Jho Low and others are “money launderers” who took advantage of the US markets and financial systems, i.e. the markets and financial systems of another country.

The Malaysian government should lodge the strongest protest ever against the US, including asking the US ambassador to go home. Umno should launch a mass rally outside the US Embassy against this insult of the country’s top official and his wife.

Anonymous 1034721438846003: Najib, whether you like it or not, it looks like you have been framed.

Now is the opportunity to rise up like Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe or Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Go against Western imperialism, condemn their ideology, which is destroying Islamic values.

In the meantime, please go Riyadh to protest Saudi Arabia’s intention to purchase battle-grade military weapons worth US$300 billion from the US. Also, question why your RM2.6 billion Saudi donor is working with them.

Spinnot: According to the website of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), China’s anti-corruption authorities have recently published the foreign addresses of 22 of its “most wanted” graft suspects, who are living around the world in plain sight.

Ten of the suspects live in the US, five in Canada, four in New Zealand, and one each in Australia, the UK, and the small Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis.

How nice it would be if the DOJ and the law enforcement agencies of the countries where the suspects are now residing, seize their assets too.

Anonymous 2362021442199789: US President Donald Trump is too busy putting out fires that threaten to engulf his young presidency. He has no time nor interest to get himself into further trouble to try to save some irrelevant kleptocrat and wife.

In any case, the justice system in the US is still relatively independent as Trump is discovering to his dismay. He tried to get rid of the FBI director James Comey and what did he get? Special counsel Robert Mueller instead.

So, the kleptocrat’s sycophants and apologists should stop wasting time trying to get the US to drop further investigations and actions on 1MDB-related matters. It is futile and embarrassing.

Ian2003: “Pro-government supporters have accused the opposition of having a hand in the DOJ suits, which the opposition has denied.”

But even if the opposition did have a hand in DOJ suits, it is irrelevant.

The relevant question is: are these the facts and the truth? If they are, why would you still support someone who is allegedly stealing from you?

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DOJ just doing its job, but is AG doing his?
23 June 2017 – malaysiakini

22
Jun
17

DOJ suit: Ministers must stop treating M’sians as brainless

DOJ suit: Ministers must stop treating M’sians as brainless

COMMENT | Over the past six days, so much has been said and so much has been written, and reported, on the latest filing by the Department of Justice (DoJ) of the United States. Opinions on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) – some unsolicited and others prompted – have clouded the space and airtime in both the print and electronic media.

So many people have said so many things – some bird-brained theories, some wayward questions and many incomprehensible statements. But above all, Malaysians can take consolation that they were a handful of intelligent analysis and positive examination of the issues.

However, the statements of two ministers leave the intrepid reader, listener, and viewer wondering: “what is going on?” At least two newspapers reported their response without telling readers what they were talking about.

It was akin to telling people “don’t listen to the lies perpetrated by Nadeswaran” without telling them what were the lies I had concocted or spread. But reading all sides of the story, there is this inherent duty as a journalist to explain why certain things are done in certain ways without resorting to lies as avowed by certain parties.

Let’s examine their assertions: Communications and Multimedia minister Salleh Said Keruak argued that the pronouncement by the DoJ is a form of interference, as their claim is not confirmed to the subject matter: which is about an alleged crime committed on US soil.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Abdul Rahman Dahlan demanded to know the names of the complainants which led to the DoJ’s investigations.

To put the matter in the right context, let us look at each of these assertions.
“A large part of the DOJ statement talks about what is happening internally in Malaysia, and an even larger part has no relevance to the subject of whether a crime has been committed on US soil as alleged,” Salleh said in a statement.

But what he does not understand is that the filings are part of its civil forfeiture action to seize assets it claims were bought using funds siphoned from 1MDB. No one is accusing the recipients of any wrongdoing although they may or may not have known the source of funds.

The more pertinent point is that foreign banks, in this case, US financial institutions, were used to launder the money stolen from 1MDB. But Salleh must agree that what is good for the goose must also be good for the gander.

When Singapore carried out discreet investigations over two years and acted against individuals and investigations into the laundering of money from 1MDB accounts, there was hardly a whimper. Some of the money was traced to 1MDB and other companies in which Malaysians were in control.

What was at stake was not where the money came from. It could have come from Timbuktu or from personal coffers of Mugabe or 1MDB. Did anyone ask the Monetary Authority of Singapore to identify the complainants?

It acted on its own volition and what mattered most was the island republic’s reputation as an international financial hub. It acted to penalise those who had acted to use its systems and instruments to launder money.

At the end of it all, it slapped S$29.1 (about RM100 million) in penalties on eight wayward banks and convicted five bankers. Three of the five have been banned for life or a minimum of 15 years from Singapore’s securities while another was banned for 10 years. Three more face bans from three to six years.

Singapore authorities, according to the Straits Times, stressed the scale of the probe had been unprecedented, spanning hundreds of thousands of transactions involving many shell firms and people operating in the US, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, and Malaysia.

Every sovereign nation has a right to defend itself and its institutions from being used for illegal activities, especially money laundering. The US and jurisdictions in other countries are just doing that or have done that.

…more
DOJ suit: Ministers must stop treating M’sians as brainless
R Nadeswaran
19 June 2017




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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