Archive for the 'Judiciary' Category


Malaysia Steps Up $4.5 Billion Corruption Inquiry – NY Times

Malaysia Steps Up $4.5 Billion Corruption Inquiry

SINGAPORE — Malaysia’s new leader is moving aggressively to investigate the apparent theft of billions of dollars from a state investment fund under the previous government, including seeking the arrest of a key figure in the scandal, the financier Jho Low.

The United States Department of Justice estimates that $4.5 billion went missing from the fund, 1 Malaysia Development Berhad, known as 1MDB, which was established and overseen by the former prime minister Najib Razak — including $731 million that it says was deposited into Mr. Najib’s own bank accounts.

Mr. Najib, who denies any wrongdoing, suffered a surprise election defeat last month at the hands of Mahathir Mohamad, 92, who had previously served more than two decades as prime minister before retiring at 78.

Back in office, Mr. Mahathir has made investigating the scandal and recovering the money a top priority.

Mr. Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, have been barred from leaving the country while investigations continue. Authorities raided residences associated with the couple nine days after the election and confiscated more than 350 boxes and pieces of luggage containing luxury handbags, jewelry, watches and $28.6 million in cash.

Mr. Mahathir told reporters on Friday that the authorities were now seeking Mr. Low over activities related to the fund. Mr. Low, a Malaysian, helped set up 1MDB after its founding in 2009 and, though he never held an official position at the fund, has been described by authorities in the United States as a key figure in moving money out of it.

“We are trying to arrest Jho Low,” the prime minister told reporters. “He is not in the country and we don’t have extradition rights in the country where he is staying.”

When asked what country that was, he said, “many countries.”

Mr. Low was a friend of Mr. Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz, whose production company, Red Granite Pictures, later used money said to be from 1MDB to produce Hollywood movies, including “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Mr. Low, who spent millions of dollars on gifts to celebrities such as the actor Leonardo DiCaprio and the model Miranda Kerr, has been sighted in various parts of Asia in recent years.

The United States Department of Justice estimates that $4.5 billion went missing from the state investment fund, 1 Malaysia Development Berhad, under the former prime minster Najib Razak, center.CreditSadiq Asyraf/Associated Press

In February, the United States asked Indonesia to seize a 300-foot megayacht, the Equanimity, that it said Mr. Low had bought with $250 million from 1MDB. But an Indonesian judge later ordered the vessel released, saying that the authorities had not followed proper procedures.

Mr. Mahathir’s new attorney general, Tommy Thomas, said on Wednesday on taking office that 1MDB would be the government’s “first and immediate priority.”

“We shall institute criminal and civil proceedings in our courts against the alleged wrongdoers,” he told reporters. “All are equal before the law and no one will be spared. There will be no cover-up.”

He said Malaysia would cooperate with the United States, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Singapore and other countries that had been investigating the use of their financial systems to hide the missing money.

Malaysia Steps Up $4.5 Billion Corruption Inquiry
By Richard C. Paddock
June 9, 2018 – NY Times


Najib may face charges of money laundering, misappropriation of property

Exclusive: Malaysia’s Najib may face charges of money laundering, misappropriation of property – source

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian authorities investigating scandal-hit state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) are considering charging former prime minister Najib Razak with money laundering and misappropriation of property, a source familiar with the matter said.

Najib, who founded 1MDB in 2009, is the subject of a money laundering and corruption probe, after reports that millions of dollars made their way into his personal bank accounts from the fund and its former subsidiary, SRC International. The former premier has consistently denied any wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB.

Najib, 64, suffered a shock loss in the May 9 general election, the first change of government since Malaysia gained independence from Britain in 1957. Mahathir Mohamad, who was elected prime minister, has vowed to bring back funds allegedly siphoned from 1MDB and punish those responsible.

Malaysia’s new Attorney General Tommy Thomas said on Tuesday his office was studying possible criminal and civil action, after receiving investigation papers on 1MDB from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

A source close to the investigations told Reuters Najib may be charged with dishonest misappropriation of property under the Malaysian Penal Code. The source declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak on the matter.

The offense carries a maximum jail sentence of five years, a fine and whipping. The law, however, forbids men over the age of 50 years from being whipped.

Any fine would be decided by the court depending on the offense and amount misappropriated.

According to the source, Najib may also face money laundering charges, which would carry a maximum sentence of 15 years’ jail and a fine of no less than five times the value of the laundered proceeds.

It is now up to the attorney-general to decide whether or not to accept the recommendations, file different charges or call for further investigations. The previous attorney general cleared Najib of wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB.

Exclusive: Malaysia’s Najib may face charges of money laundering, misappropriation of property – source
Rozanna Latiff
June 15, 2018 – Reuters


Cash, jewellery, other luxury items worth over RM500 million seized in ongoing 1MDB probe

Over half a billion ringgit in value seized in ongoing 1MDB probe

PETALING JAYA: The estimated value of the seized cash, jewellery and other luxury items from the residence of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and other locations in the police probe on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal might exceed half a billion ringgit.

Sources revealed that while the count of the seized wads of cash in local and various foreign denominations stood at RM114 million, the value of the confiscated jewellery and other luxury items such as branded watches and handbags, including those seized in a raid at two houses in Putrajaya on Monday, could exceed over RM400 million.

The tedious process of evaluating hundreds of the seized designer goods by third party luxury merchandise experts engaged by police is ongoing and is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

On Monday, more documents and 40 handbags were seized by the federal police anti-money-laundering division when they raided two houses in Putrajaya at Precinct 10 — a short distance from Seri Perdana, the official residence of the Prime Minister — and Precinct 11.

Federal police head of the anti-money-laundering division SAC Datuk Khalil Azlan Chik confirmed that the raid was conducted in relation to the probe into the 1MDB scandal.

The probe into the multi-billion ringgit scandal intensified days after the new Pakatan Harapan government took over the administration of the country after winning the general elections on May 9.

Najib’s residence in Taman Duta, three luxury units at the Pavilion Residence KL condominiums belonging to his daughter and son and an unnamed businessman with the honorific title of Tan Sri were raided over several days by the police federal commercial crimes investigations department (CCID).

The raiding party seized hundreds of bags containing cash, watches, designer brands such as Hermes, Birkin and Louis Vuitton handbags.

It took a dozen police lorries and vehicles to ferry the seized goods out of the raided places.

Police also raided the former prime minister’s office in Putrajaya where stacks of documents relevant to the investigations were confiscated.

Over half a billion ringgit in value seized in ongoing 1MDB probe
13 June 2018 – Sun Daily


NFC still owes govt RM248 million

NFC still owes govt RM248 million, says Finance Ministry

NATIONAL Feedlot Corporation (NFC) still owes the government more than RM248 million from the RM250 million soft loan it received, the Finance Ministry said.

In a written parliamentary reply to Sim Tze Tzin (PKR-Bayan Baru), the ministry said the feedlot has yet to pay a total of RM248,193,737.81 as of January 31 this year.

“NFC paid a sum of RM34.98 million in 2012 and 2013. The total amount seized from NFC and related companies under the Accountant-General’s Department of Malaysia is RM46,934,703.17,” it said in a reply dated March 7.

The ministry added that on February 22, 2017, the Tampin magistrates’ court had issued a writ of possession to order NFC to vacate its premises starting March 1 last year.

Sim had asked the ministry how much NFC had paid the government as of December 2017 and whether the government had seized NFC’s assets like condominiums and luxury cars.

Last month, Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli and former Public Bank clerk Johari Mohamad were found guilty and sentenced to 30 months’ jail by the Shah Alam Sessions Court for revealing bank documents related to the NFC accounts leak.

No one has been found guilty for the failures of the project.

The feedlot promised to breed 8,000 head of cattle by 2010, but the RM74 million centre in Gemas had only bred 3,289, or 41% of the target, the auditor-general’s report said.

The project was supposed to enhance the country’s food security and reduce the need for beef imports.

The feedlot was run by NFC, which was headed by Mohamed Salleh Ismail, the husband of Wanita Umno chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

The company received an RM250 million soft loan from the government during the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi administration.

In November 2016, Rafizi lost a defamation suit and was ordered to pay Salleh and NFC RM200,000 in damages for claiming that a bank loan taken by the company was used to purchase a condominium. – March 8, 2018.

NFC still owes govt RM248 million, says Finance Ministry
8 Mar 2018 – TMI


U.S. probe of Malaysia’s 1MDB picks up speed after Najib’s election loss – Reuters

U.S. probe of Malaysia’s 1MDB picks up speed after Najib’s election loss

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. investigators have accelerated their probe into the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund set up by former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and are exchanging more evidence with Malaysian authorities since Najib lost last month’s election, three sources with direct knowledge of the probe said.

At least six countries, including Malaysia, the United States and Switzerland, are investigating accusations that Najib and associates pocketed part of $4.5 billion allegedly stolen from the state-run investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

The probe received a boost after Najib unexpectedly lost the election on May 9.

Najib has consistently denied wrongdoing in connection with alleged graft involving 1MDB.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is confident that Malaysia’s new government is more willing to cooperate, whereas U.S. authorities saw Najib’s as actively obstructing the investigation, according to two people with direct knowledge of the investigation.

While U.S. prosecutors have considered the possibility of charging Najib or his associates, they would prefer Malaysia be the one to file criminal charges against any Malaysian official.

“That’s how its supposed to work,” a U.S. law enforcement official said.

Najib has retained former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and the firm of New York trial lawyer David Boies to represent him in connection with the U.S. investigations, a source familiar with Najib’s legal team said.

In a series of asset seizures last year, U.S. prosecutors alleged in court papers that some of the money stolen from 1MDB was placed into the account of an individual identified as “Malaysian Official 1.”

Since Najib’s election defeat, Malaysia’s new government has been scrambling to recover billions of dollars allegedly siphoned from 1MDB.

It is considering asking the U.S. government to get investment bank Goldman Sachs to return nearly $600 million in fees it earned from bonds raised for the sovereign wealth fund, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday. [nL3N1TA47L]

No formal request has yet been made but top officials are actively discussing the plan within the government, they said.

Najib’s successor, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, said Malaysia was also seeking to arrest financier Low Taek Jho, a central figure in the scandal who advised on investments and negotiated deals for 1MDB.

U.S. probe of Malaysia’s 1MDB picks up speed after Najib’s election loss
Mark Hosenball, Joel Schectman
June 9, 2018 – Reuters


The lowdown on: Jho Low

The lowdown on: Jho Low

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — The New York Post once dubbed this Malaysian financier as “the mystery man of city club scene”, while a local daily called him an “international man of mystery”.

Lately, however, Low Taek Jho, or better known as Jho Low, has achieved infamy for alleged links to the scandal-laden sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today accused Low of being one of the “main criminals” in the case.

But who is the man behind the name Jho Low? Where is he from? How did he achieve his wealth and end up on multiple wanted lista globally due to his ties with what could be the world’s biggest money-laundering case?

Early life and education

Born in Penang in 1981, Low grew up in the state capital of George Town. He attended SJKC Union in Burma Road before studying in Chung Ling High School, and later the International School of Penang (Uplands).

During his teens, Low was sent to the elite Harrow School in London. It was in these hallowed halls that he first met, and then developed a close friendship with Riza Aziz, the stepson of ousted prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Upon graduation, he enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School in the United States. Here, Low had the foresight to continue forging friendships and developing connections with the Malaysian elite, as well as Middle Eastern interests.

Background of 1MDB

Low became a friend to ex-PM Najib’s family through the latter’s stepson, Riza Aziz, whom he met while studying in London.

Although he never had an official position in 1MDB, Low has admitted that he occasionally “consulted” with 1MDB and was involved in a number of transactions when his own interests crossed paths with that of the sovereign wealth fund.

Low was originally a special advisor to 1MDB’s first incarnation — Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA). At first, TIA was a sovereign wealth fund worth RM11 billion and was supposed to ensure Terengganu’s long-term sustainable economic development.

Its funds came from an outstanding royalty income worth RM6 billion as well as funds from bonds issued by local and overseas financial markets. The Malaysian government had also proposed a guarantee of RM5 billion based on the state’s future oil revenues.

On May 27, 2009, Low advised the fund to sign a deal arranged by AmInvestment Bank Bhd to raise RM5 billion via the issuance of Islamic medium-term notes (IMTNs). However, the Terengganu state government had disagreed to the deal.

Despite the government’s disapproval, the deal proceeded and two days later on May 29, TIA raked in RM4.385 billion in net proceeds from IMTN from the full value of RM5 billion.

Later that year, on July 31, Minister of Finance (Incorporated) took over TIA and amended its name to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). It was four months after Najib had been sworn in as Malaysia’s sixth prime minister.

Najib had earlier announced that the decision to expand the state’s sovereign wealth fund into a federal entity was to ensure that it can benefit all Malaysians, instead of just Terengganu.

Later, despite Low’s denial that he had anything to do with 1MDB, British-based online portal, The Sarawak Report, alleged that Low and Riza had siphoned US$700 million from a joint-venture deal between 1MDB and PetroSaudi International through Good Star Ltd.

A leaked email revealed that Najib had granted Low the loan approval without Bank Negara’s nod.

The number of charges against 1MDB

The 1MDB scandal is of such magnitude that nine countries have begun investigations into the issue.

The FBI launched an investigation into 1MDB in 2015. In 2016, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a civil lawsuit against 1MDB.

The suit alleged that “Malaysian Official 1” (whom then-minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said was Najib) had received RM2.797 billion of stolen 1MDB money through Singapore’s Falcon Bank on March 21, 2013 and March 25, 2013.

In June 2017, the DOJ seized more than US$1 billion from people close to Najib and 1MDB, including assets such as high-end properties in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, New York and London.

Other assets seized included fine artwork, a private jet, a luxury yacht and royalties from the film Wolf of Wall Street and its production company Red Granite Pictures.

Red Granite is owned by Riza and had agreed to a US$60 million out-of-court settlement with the US government.

Closer to home, Singapore’s Monetary Authority and its Commercial Affairs Department had already frozen a number of bank accounts there for possible money-laundering offences related to 1MDB’s financial mismanagement.

Low’s accounts were among those frozen, besides SRC International, Aabar Investment PJS Limited and 1MDB Global Investments Ltd.

In Switzerland, the Attorney General’s Office froze bank accounts linked to 1MDB in 2015. Its investigations found indications of funds estimated at US$4 billion may have been misappropriated and said there are four cases of potential criminal conduct.

That same year also saw Hong Kong police opening investigations regarding US$250 million in Credit Suisse branch deposits in Hong Kong linked to Najib and 1MDB.

In the United Kingdom, the Serious Fraud Office started investigations in 2016 into the transfer of money from 1MDB funds in Malaysia to Switzerland as it involved Royal Bank of Scotland’s branch in Zurich.

Other global authorities that opened their own investigations into the 1MDB issue include Luxembourg, the UAE and Seychelles.

Today, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) announced it is looking for Low over its probe into one of 1MDB’s subsidiaries — SRC International Bhd.

Low’s lawyer has said he will assist with the probe and has instructed him to contact the commission.

The lowdown on: Jho Low
By Azril Annuar
7 June 2018 – MMO


Malaysia’s new attorney general vows ‘no cover ups’ in 1MDB case

Malaysia’s new attorney general vows ‘no cover ups’ in 1MDB case

KUALA LUMPUR (June 6): Malaysia’s newly appointed attorney-general Tommy Thomas said on Wednesday there would be “no cover ups” as he promised to institute criminal and civil action over a graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

At least six countries, including the United States, Singapore and Switzerland, are investigating claims that US$4.5 billion was siphoned out of 1MDB, founded by former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“I have therefore to study all the papers in that scandal. We will institute criminal and civil proceedings in our courts against the alleged wrongdoers,” Thomas told reporters on his first day in office.

“All are equal before the law and no one is spared. There will be no cover up.”

He also said he would immediately contact authorities in other countries investigating 1MDB, with the aim of returning billions of dollars allegedly stolen from the fund.

Other tasks on his immediate agenda included repealing oppressive laws, and reviewing Malaysia’s contracts with other countries.

“On my part, I promise to do the right thing, that is to tell the truth and to do justice. Justice must not only be done but it must also be seen to be done,” he said.

Thomas is the country’s first non-Muslim attorney-general in decades, and his appointment had been opposed by some sections of the majority ethnic Malay community.

“Free speech means everybody can criticise you, so I am happy for everybody to criticise me,” Thomas said in response.

He was appointed on Tuesday to replace Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, who in 2016 had cleared Najib of any wrongdoing in the 1MDB case.

Mohamed Apandi was ordered to go on leave by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, shortly after Najib’s coalition was defeated in a shock election result last month.

Malaysia’s new attorney general vows ‘no cover ups’ in 1MDB case
June 06, 2018 –

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?