Archive for September, 2018

29
Sep
18

The inside story of how Jho Low and friends stole billions from Malaysia

Book Review: The inside story of how Jho Low and friends stole billions from Malaysia

THE title of the book is, perhaps, a little misleading.Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) — the pudgy son of a Penang millionaire, who himself is painted as dodgy in the book — may have fooled Wall Street, Hollywood and the world, but these parties and the Malaysian ruling class and institutions were also Jho Low’s enablers in the biggest heist the modern world has ever seen.

The authors of Billion Dollar Whale, Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, spent the last three years piecing together how Jho Low, who faces jail time in many jurisdictions, sweet-talked and capitalised on the greed of bulge bracket banks like Goldman Sachs and of his protector, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and his wife Rosmah Mansor, as well as influential and powerful individuals and banks from Singapore and Malaysia to Thailand, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Wall Street and Hollywood, to steal billions of dollars, the extent of which may only be known years down the road.

Reading this 376-page book, as Jho Low’s exploits are laid bare, one question keeps popping up: “How did he ever expect to get away it?” But he did get away with it for many years.

The authors’ note at the beginning of the book gives an insight into how he got away with it for so long until his house of cards came crashing down with the defeat of his mentor, Najib, in Malaysia’s 14th general election on May 9.

Wright and Hope wrote: “We set out to uncover Low’s true identity and what we found was astonishing … [Low] figured out how the world really works. He was everyone’s friend, but few truly knew him … [it] was not just a wild story involving Wall Street bankers, celebrities, and a silver-tongued con man.

“Low was the product of a society preoccupied with wealth and glamour.”

There are gaps in the narrative and one gets the feeling that the full story of 1MDB has yet to be told. Perhaps the details will come out during Najib’s trial, or when Jho Low and his cohorts are caught and brought to justice.

But, for the time being, Billion Dollar Whale is the most complete, readable and comprehensible account of the scandal that destroyed many individuals and institutions, largely in Malaysia.

It is a must-read, especially for Malaysians who want to understand how a country, once deemed an Emerging Tiger, teetered on financial collapse because of a young man, schooled in the best institutions such as Harrow and Wharton, and a complicit, maybe initially naïve, prime minister, who not only destroyed the legacy of the most prominent political dynasty in Malaysia — the Razaks — but also everyone closely associated with him.

It is a must-read for politicians from both sides of the divide because most of them still do not seem to understand how the heist took place, save for shouting out the headline-grabbing numbers. It is a must-read for civil servants, law enforcers and regulators, not only in Malaysia but also in Singapore, Australia, the US, China, the Middle East and Europe, who either turned a blind eye, as the book reveals, or pretended not to see because of politics, personal survival, negligence, lack of oversight or simply, lack of a moral compass.

…more
Book Review: The inside story of how Jho Low and friends stole billions from Malaysia
Kalimullah Hassan
The Edge Malaysia
September 28, 2018

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26
Sep
18

‘Save Malaysia’ the password to open encrypted files with explosive info on 1MDB scandal

For WSJ writers, ‘Save Malaysia’ was no mere opposition slogan

Sometime in 2015, Malaysian investigators had to pull the brakes on investigations against prime minister Najib Abdul Razak on the 1MDB scandal.

Eventually, investigators decided that their only option left was to leak the investigation documents to the press.

According to Bradley Hope and Tom Wright in their book The Billion Dollar Whale, Malaysian investigators turned to them after they (the American journalists) had published an article in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that detailed how Najib allegedly used 1MDB as a slush fund.

“That story caught the eye of an intermediary for the (Malaysian) task force. A few days later, a Malaysian source met Simon Clark, a reporter with WSJ in London, to confirm the veracity of the documents – which the intermediary handed over hours later. Sarawak Report also received them.

“The files, copies of wire transfer documents into Najib’s accounts as well as money-flow diagrams produced by the task force, were explosive,” the book states.

Interestingly, the Malaysian sources of Hope and Wright had passed them encrypted computer files that could only be unlocked with the password “SaveMalaysia”, a catchphrase that was used repeatedly by opposition parties in the run-up to the May 9 general election.

Najib ‘furious’ at British PM

The task force in question was initially conceived by former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail in 2014, as part of a special revenue recovery unit.

During the first half of 2015, the task force primarily focused on the 1MDB and allegations that its funds were being abused by Najib. By July that year, Najib dismantled the task force and purged a number of those in high office.

According to Hope and Wright, Gani and the task force were just days away from laying charges against Najib, but were thwarted when “the police chief, supposedly part of the task force, decided to switch sides at the last minute and informed Najib of his impending arrest”.

…more
For WSJ writers, ‘Save Malaysia’ was no mere opposition slogan
21 Sept 2018 – Malaysiakini

22
Sep
18

Cross-border criminal and civil action on theft from 1MDB is moving forward smoothly

Cross-border 1MDB probe on track, AGC says after meet with US, Singapore, Switzerland

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 ― The Attorney-General’s Chambers announced today that the cross-border criminal and civil recovery action on the multi-billion dollar theft from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is moving forward smoothly.

In a statement, it disclosed that it hosted a meeting with the authorities from the US, Singapore and Switzerland, which had mounted their own investigations and taken court action on what has been touted as the world’s biggest kleptocracy.

“We are pleased to report a very successful meeting between prosecutors, civil recovery specialists and investigators from the United States, Singapore and Switzerland involved in the massive 1MDB fraud, hosted by this Chambers,” it said.

It said all participants in the meeting were “conscious of the importance and urgency of cross-border cooperation and collaboration” in order to curb the transnational fraud and crime caused by the theft of funds from the Malaysian sovereign investment company.

“All of us are confident that this meeting will be the harbinger of greater cooperation in the future,” it added in the brief statement, issued a day after Datuk Seri Najib Razak was slapped with 25 money laundering and corruption charges over some RM2.3 billion deposits into his personal bank account.

The former prime minister responsible for creating 1MDB claimed trial to all four corruption and 21 money laundering charges yesterday and even said he was “happy” that he would finally have the chance to clear his name in court over the deposits.

Najib who was also finance minster, chairman of the 1MDB advisory board and Umno president at the time the offences were allegedly said to have taken place had previously said the billions were a donation.

…more
Cross-border 1MDB probe on track, AGC says after meet with US, Singapore, Switzerland
21 September 2018 – MMO

21
Sep
18

Summary of the latest charges against Najib

(source: Bernama)

20
Sep
18

The 25 corruption and money-laundering charges against Najib

The 25 corruption and money-laundering charges against Najib Razak, former prime minister of Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — Below is Malay Mail’s translation of the four charges under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 [Act 694] and 21 charges under 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 [Act 613], against former prime minister and Pekan MP Datuk Seri Najib Razak in English.

They are in no way an official translation of the chargesheet, which was read out in Bahasa Malaysia.

Public Prosecutor vs Datuk Sri Najib bin Hj Abd Razak (IC Number: ******-**-5165)

Charges under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 [Act 694]

FIRST CHARGE

That you, between 24 February 2011 and 14 June 2011, at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Cawangan Jalan Raja Chulan, No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, as an officer of a public body, to wit, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Malaysia and the Chairman of the Advisory Board of 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), did use your position for a gratification for yourself totalling RM60,629,839.43, by taking the following action to wit:

i. On 1 April 2009, at the Cabinet Meeting Room, Level 4, Prime Minister’s Office, Federal Government Administrative Centre, in the Federal Territory of Putrajaya, by way of a Memorandum of the Ministry of Finance o. 216/2639/2009, you did obtain the consent of the Cabinet for the provision of a guarantee by the Government of Malaysia to Terengganu Investment Authority Berhad (TIA) to enable TIA to obtain domestic and foreign market loans of up to RM5 Billion by way of Islamic Medium Term Notes Programme;

ii. On 29 July 2009, at the Cabinet Meeting Room, Level 4, Prime Minister’s Office, Federal Government Administrative Centre, in the Federal Territory of Putrajaya, after being appointed Prime Minister on 3rd April 2009, you did approve the acquisition of TIA by the Government of Malaysia and further caused TIA’s name to be changed to 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a company in which you have a direct interest;

thereby, you have committed an offence under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 [Act 694], punishable under Section 24(1) of the same Act.

Punishment:

Section 24(1) of the MACC Act 2009 [Act 694]

Any person who commits an offence under section 23 shall on conviction be liable to —

(a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years; and

(b) a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the gratification which is the subject matter of the offence, where such gratification is capable of being valued or is of a pecuniary nature, or RM10,000, whichever is the higher.

SECOND CHARGE

That you, between 24 February 2011, 31 October 2012 and 20 November 2012 at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Cawangan Jalan Raja Chulan, No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, as an officer of a public body, to wit, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Malaysia and the Chairman of the Advisory Board of 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), did use your position for a gratification for yourself totalling RM90,899,927.28, by taking the following action to wit:

i. On 9 February 2012, at 1MDB Office, Level 8, Menara IMC, No. 8, Jalan Sultan Ismail, in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, you as the Minister of Finance did approve 1MDB in which you have a direct interest through its wholly-owned subsidiary 1MDB Energy Sdn. Bhd. to submit a binding bid offer for the proposed acquisition of Tanjong Energy Holdings Sdn. Bhd. a bid price of RM10,600,000,000.00 (RM10.6 Billion); and

ii.On 10 August 2012, at 1MDB Office, Level 8, Menara IMC, No. 8, Jalan Sultan Ismail, in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, you as the Minister of Finance did approve the acquisition of equity in Mastika Lagenda Sdn. Bhd. at an aggregate purchase price of up to RM2.75 Billion and further approved 1MDB in which you have a direct interest to undertake an issuance of US$1.75 Billion 10-year Structured Loan Notes.

THIRD CHARGE

That you, between 22 March 2013 and 10 April 2013 at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Cawangan Jalan Raja Chulan, No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, as an officer of a public body, to wit, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Malaysia and the Chairman of the Advisory Board of 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), did use your position for a gratification for yourself totalling RM2,081,476,926.00 by taking the following action to wit:

i. On 25 February 2013, at 1MDB Office, Level 8, Menara IMC, No. 8, Jalan Sultan Ismail, in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, you as the Minister of Finance did approve 1MDB in which you have a direct interest to enter into a Joint Venture Agreement with Aabar Investment PJS; and

ii. On 14 March 2013, at 1MDB Office, Level 8, Menara IMC, No. 8, Jalan Sultan Ismail, in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, you as the Minister of Finance did approve a Letter of Support to 1MDB Global Investment Limited for the purpose of supporting bond issues amounting to US$3,000,000,000.00 (US$3 Billion) on behalf of 1MDB in which you have a direct interest, thereby, you have committed an offence under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 [Act 694], punishable under Section 24(1) of the same Act.

Punishment:

Section 24(1) of the MACC Act 2009 [Act 694]

Any person who commits an offence under section 23 shall on conviction be liable to —

(a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years; and

(b) a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the gratification which is the subject matter of the offence, where such gratification is capable of being valued or is of a pecuniary nature, or RM10,000, whichever is the higher.

FOURTH CHARGE

That you, between 23 June 2014 and 19 December 2014 at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Cawangan Jalan Raja Chulan, No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, as an officer of a public body, to wit, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Malaysia and the Chairman of the Advisory Board of 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), did use your position for a gratification for yourself amounting to RM49,930,985.70 by taking the following action to wit, on 20th August 2014, at 1MDB Office, Level 8, Menara IMC, No. 8, Jalan Sultan Ismail, in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, you as the Chairman of 1MDB Advisory Board, directed 1MDB’s Board of Directors to approve 1MDB Energy Holdings Limited to obtain a loan through Term Loan Facility up to US$975,000,000.00 from Deutsche Bank AG for the purpose of 1MDB Energy Group IPO, in which you have direct interest, thereby you have committed an offence under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 [Act 694], punishable under Section 24(1) of the same Act.

Punishment:

Section 24(1) of the MACC Act 2009 [Act 694]

Any person who commits an offence under section 23 shall on conviction be liable to —

(a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years; and

(b) a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the gratification which is the subject matter of the offence, where such gratification is capable of being valued or is of a pecuniary nature, or RM10,000, whichever is the higher.

Charges under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 [Act 613]

FIRST CHARGE

That you, on 22 March 2013 at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Cawangan Jalan Raja Chulan, No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, did engage in money laundering, to wit, by receiving proceeds of unlawful activity totalling RM155,000,000.00 from account number 8550299001 belonging to Tanore Finance Corporation in Falcon Private Bank, Singapore, into AmIslamic Bank Berhad account number 2112022009694 belonging to you, thereby you have committed an offence under paragraph 4(1)(a)of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 [Act 613], punishable under subsection 4(1) of the same Act.

Penalty:

Shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding RM5 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both.

…more
The 25 corruption and money-laundering charges against Najib Razak, former prime minister of Malaysia
20 September 2018 – MMO

19
Sep
18

Najib arrested, to be charged over RM2.6 billion tomorrow

Najib arrested, to be charged over RM2.6b tomorrow

Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak was today detained by the MACC and is expected to be charged tomorrow with alleged abuse of power.

According to MACC, the Pekan MP was taken into custody at 4.13pm at its headquarters in Putrajaya.

Officers are now recording his statement in regard to 700 cheques linked to the 1MDB affair.

Najib is expected to face several charges under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act 2009 for alleged abuse of power when he was in office.

This pertaining to the RM2.6 billion found in his personal bank account.

Investigators said the money had come from beleaguered sovereign fund 1MDB while Najib has maintained that the amount was a donation from Saudi Arabian sources.

The anti-graft body said the latest round of charges come following a green light from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

“Najib will be taken to the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on Sept 20, 2018, (Thursday), at 3pm to face the charges.

“The MACC will also liaise with the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) to record Najib’s statement before he is taken to the court tomorrow to facilitate police investigations under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA),” said the agency.

Tomorrow will be Najib’s third time in the court to face charges.

Previously, on two different occasions, he had been slapped with a total of seven charges in connection with SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former subsidiary of 1MDB.

…more
Najib arrested, to be charged over RM2.6b tomorrow
19 Sept 2018 – Malaysiakini

18
Sep
18

The Billion-Dollar Mystery Man and the Wildest Party Vegas Ever Saw – WSJ

The Billion-Dollar Mystery Man and the Wildest Party Vegas Ever Saw

Armed with a seemingly bottomless supply of cash, an unassuming Malaysian named Jho Low staged the ultimate extravaganza

Around 6 p.m. on a warm, cloudless November night, Pras Michél, a former member of the ‘90s hip-hop trio the Fugees, approached one of the Chairman Suites on the fifth floor of the Palazzo hotel. He knocked and the door opened, revealing a rotund man, dressed in a black tuxedo, who flashed a warm smile. The man, glowing slightly with perspiration, was known to his friends as Jho Low, and he spoke in the soft-voiced lilt common to Malaysians. “Here’s my boy,” Mr. Low said, embracing the rapper.

The Chairman Suites, at $25,000 per night, were the most opulent the Palazzo had to offer, with a pool terrace overlooking the Strip. But the host didn’t plan to spend much time in the room that night; Mr. Low had a much grander celebration in store for his 31st birthday. This was just the preparty for his inner circle, who had jetted in from across the globe. Guzzling champagne, the guests, an eclectic mix of celebrities and hangers-on, buzzed around Mr. Low as more people arrived. Swizz Beatz, the hip-hop producer and husband of Alicia Keys, conversed animatedly with Mr. Low. At one point, Leonardo DiCaprio arrived alongside Benicio Del Toro to talk to Mr. Low about some film ideas.

Adapted from “Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood and the World” by Wall Street Journal reporters Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, to be published Tuesday in the U.S. by Hachette Books.

What did the guests make of their host? To many at the gathering, Mr. Low cut a mysterious figure. Hailing from Malaysia, a small Southeast Asian country, Mr. Low had a round face that was still boyish, with glasses, red cheeks, and barely a hint of facial hair. His unremarkable appearance was matched by an awkwardness and lack of ease in conversation, which the beautiful women around Mr. Low took to be shyness. Polite and courteous, he never seemed fully in the moment, often cutting short a conversation to take a call on one of his half a dozen cellphones.

But despite Mr. Low’s unassuming appearance, word was that he was loaded—maybe a billionaire. Guests murmured to each other that he was the money behind Mr. DiCaprio’s latest movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which was still filming. Mr. Low’s bashful manners belied a hard core of ambition the like of which the world rarely sees. Look more closely, and Mr. Low wasn’t so much timid as quietly calculating, as if computing every human interaction, sizing up what he could provide for someone and what they, in turn, could do for him. Despite his age, Mr. Low had a weird gravitas, allowing him to hold his own in a room of grizzled Wall Street bankers or pampered Hollywood types. For years, he had methodically cultivated the wealthiest and most powerful people on the planet. The bold strategy had placed him in their orbit and landed him a seat here in the Palazzo. Now, he was the one doling out favors.

The night at the Palazzo marked the apex of Mr. Low’s ascendancy. The guest list for his birthday included Hollywood stars, top bankers from Goldman Sachs , and powerful figures from the Middle East. In the aftermath of the U.S. financial crisis, they all wanted a piece of Mr. Low. Pras Michél had lost his place in the limelight since the Fugees disbanded, but was hoping to reinvent himself as a private-equity investor, and Mr. Low held out the promise of funding. Some celebrities had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in appearance fees from Mr. Low just to turn up at his events, and they were keen to keep him happy.

But even those stars couldn’t really claim to know Mr. Low’s story. If you entered “Jho Low” into Google, very little came up. Some people said he was an Asian arms dealer. Others claimed he was close to the prime minister of Malaysia. Or maybe he inherited billions from his Chinese grandfather. Casino operators and nightclubs refer to their highest rollers as “whales,” and one thing was certain about Mr. Low: He was the most extravagant whale that Vegas, New York, and St. Tropez had seen in a long time—maybe ever.

…more
The Billion-Dollar Mystery Man and the Wildest Party Vegas Ever Saw
By Tom Wright and
Bradley Hope
Sept. 15, 2018 – WSJ




Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

The dawn of A Better Malaysia!
Rafidah Aziz, Hannah Yeoh, Ambiga at TTDI ceramah

 

Mahathir in Putrajaya ceramah

 

What happened to 1MDB’s money? – CNBC Video
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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