Posts Tagged ‘1MDB Scandal

20
Sep
20

DOJ goes after PetroSaudi and world’s largest yacht Topaz

BOOM! – DOJ Goes After PetroSaudi, Abu Dhabi’s Royal Topaz Yacht And More! EXCLUSIVE

The game-changing asset seizure filing issued September 16th by the Department of Justice has zeroed in on key players in the 1MDB scandal, who after several years of keeping below the radar have been seeking to escape censure and punishment.

These entities include some of the most powerful individuals and companies in the Middle East and one of the world’s most expensive super-yachts, Topaz (now renamed “A+”), registered as belonging to Man City Football Club owner Sheikh Mansour.

It also claims seizure of a clutch of further assets from Riza Aziz’s collection of rare posters and film memorabilia, just weeks after the PN government effectively let him off the hook with a ‘plea deal’ that demanded nothing further from him.

The accumulated filing, which now stretches to 300 pages, states that it is an update on several previous 1MDB asset seizures related to the money laundering of billions stolen from the Malaysian fund following the biggest ever joint investigation by the FBI and DOJ’s joint kleptocracy unit.

The new targets, mainly featuring the 1MDB ‘join venture partner’ PetroSaudi, address corrupt practices that have so far escaped the main spotlight of the investigation, despite numerous articles by Sarawak Report. These are named at the top of the indictment as “PetroSaudi International; PetroSaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Ltd.; 1MDB PetroSaudi, Ltd.; Tarek Obaid; and Patrick Mahony.”

It is the first time that the two directors of PetroSaudi, Tarek Obaid and Patrick Mahony, have been specifically named as top targets of the criminal affair, despite having been identified as key players in the original billion dollar heists using the so-called joint venture between their company PetroSaudi and 1MDB.

Significantly, the DOJ cites the fraudulent deal in which PetroSaudi invested money from 1MDB in Venezuela through its company PetroSaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Ltd. Thanks to alleged bribery and corruption involving Venezuelan officials PetroSaudi was able to reap vast profits which have been subsequently contested by the Venezuelan authorities.

…more
BOOM! – DOJ Goes After PetroSaudi, Abu Dhabi’s Royal Topaz Yacht And More! EXCLUSIVE
17 September 2020 – Sarawak Report

13
Sep
20

Najib’s SRC worst case of abuse of position and betrayal of trust, says judge

Najib’s SRC worst case of abuse of position and betrayal of trust, says judge

“The recipients of the spending by the accused are many and various but unmistakably for the accused’s own purposes and benefits.” — Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 10) : High Court judge Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali characterised the conviction of former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak, last July 28, as the worst case of abuse of position.

In a 500 plus page written judgment for the Malaysian Law Journal, the judge said while Najib had made contributions to the well-being and the peoples betterment in many different ways, the court would let political history to debate whether the former premier of nine years had done on balance more good than harm.

“This very process (the long trial) would arguably be inimical to the ideals (of the nation) of a clean administration that does not tolerate corruption and abuse of power.

The recent shift in perceived risk aversion currencies brings about heightened volatility across more currency pairs. Euro and gold, especially in the near term, will test new highs against the US dollar with intermittent pullbacks on technical levels.
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“What this court seeks to affirm is the sanctity of the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution. No one – not even one who was the most powerful political figure and the leader of the country enjoys a cloak of invincibility from the force of the law. Any notion to such effect is the very antithesis to the Article 8 of the Constitution that enshrines that rule that all persons all equal before the law,” he said.
Betrayal of trust

Commenting on Najib’s ascension to the pinnacle of the country’s leadership and his grip to power, he said he had seen citizens to place the former premier in a position of trust in our system of constitutional democracy.

However, his conviction, Nazlan said of all seven charges concerning abuse of position, criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering constitutes nothing less than “an absolute betrayal of that trust”.

“For this reason, I consider the conviction of the accused for abuse of position under Section 23 of the MACC Act as the most serious transgression amongst the three given his position of trust as the nation’s Prime Minister and Finance Minister when the offences were committed.

“I would not hesitate to find that this case can be characterised as one that falls within the range of the worst kind of abuse of position, of CBT and of money laundering because not only of how the crimes were committed, but more importantly also it involved a huge sum of RM42 million, had an element of public impact as the RM42 million belonged to an MOF Inc. company.”

“Perhaps most importantly, it involved the person who at the material time was in the highest ranking authority in the government,” Justice Nazlan said.

The government funds, the judge said could have originated from the RM4 billion financing from state pension fund Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP), and the status of the bulk of the RM4 billion is said to be an indeterminate obscurity.

The court contrasted Najib’s case with past convictions of other higher ranking official, namely Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (deputy prime minister), Datuk Harun Idris and Dr Mohd Khir Toyo (Selangor menteri besars), Abdul Ghani bin Ishak, Datuk Waad Mansor, Datuk Sahar Arpan and Datuk Mohamed Muslim Othman (who were either state exco’s or assemblymen).

“In respect of the offence under Section 23 of the MACC Act, and its precursor (the Prevention of Corruption Act 1961, this is the first time a person was charged for acts done when he was the serving Prime Minister, and is undoubtedly without precedent in the sense that previous convictions of high ranking politicians could not be considered to be in the same league as the Prime Minister of the country,” he said.
Not remorseful

Justice Nazlan also found the former premier not to be remorseful over the charges he (Najib) is facing.

“The accused did not express any remorse and even maintains his defence of no knowledge of the RM42 million from SRC in his mitigation speech. Yet I cannot deny he was the Prime Minister of the country,” he said.

“The use of that property by others can never be justified under any circumstances. This is immutable and cannot be obfuscated by any diversions that the certain portions of the monies out of the RM42 million were expended for charitable purposes.

“There is quite simply no virtue in donating what one does not own. SRC International Sdn Bhd was established to spearhead the promotion of alternative energy resources for the country. The recipients of the spending by the accused are many and various but unmistakably for the accused’s own purposes and benefits,” he said in alluding the purpose SRC was set-up.

SRC was formerly a subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd, and later placed directly under Finance Ministry Inc.

Witnesses from the prosecution had testified how they received cheques from the former premier for charity including a widow of a staff from the Prime Minister’s Department, and also various payments for purported work done on renovation to his house in Jalan Langgak Duta and Pekan and other expenses.

Najib during mitigation before the sentence meted out by the court described his achievements in leading the country for nine years – 2009 to 2018 and also reiterated by saying the religious oath in the accused dock.

“As a Muslim, wallahi wabillahi watallahi […] I never sought any gratification and I did not know that the RM42 million went into my account at that material time,” said the former premier.

However, Justice Nazlan finds little merit to what the former premier said in his mitigation.

“There is little merit in this court pontificating and lamenting on why the accused had done what he did, despite (or because of) his undisputed standing at the apex of the vast wealth of power and unparalleled authority. The accused, I repeat, is a person with a keen intellect and must surely have a firm sense of right and wrong,” the judge said.

Najib in the end was sentenced to a total of 12 years jail, and fined a total of RM210 million for all three charges, which the former premier is appealing on his conviction and sentence.

On the other hand, the prosecution is also cross-appealing on the sentence.

…more
Najib’s SRC worst case of abuse of position and betrayal of trust, says judge
September 10, 2020 – theedgemarkets.com

16
Aug
20

Najib’s SRC Trial – Findings of guilt

Special Report: Najib’s SRC Trial: Nazlan’s findings of guilt

Charges on which he was found guilty

The case of SRC funds totalling RM42 mil

1 count of abuse of power
Under Section 23 (1) of the MACC Act 2009, Najib was found guilty of using his position as prime minister to commit bribery involving RM42 million, through his participation or involvement in the decision to provide government guarantees for the RM4 billion loan granted by KWAP to SRC. This was committed at the Prime Minister’s Office, Precinct 1, Putrajaya, Federal Territory of Putrajaya, between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 8, 2012.
Sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million.

3 counts of criminal breach of trust
Under Section 409 of the Penal Code Najib, as a public servant — PM, finance minister and SRC adviser emeritus — misappropriated RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million between Dec 24, 2014 and Feb 10, 2015.
Sentenced to 10 years’ jail on each charge.

3 counts of money laundering
With regard to the RM27 million and RM5 million Najib received on Dec 26, 2014 and RM10 million on Feb 10, 2015, he was found guilty under Section 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds from Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
Sentenced to 10 years’ jail on each count.

FIVE days after turning 67, Datuk Seri Najib Razak walked into the Kuala Lumpur High Court as an accused, but exited hours later a criminal, having been found guilty on all seven charges against him in relation to RM42 million belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd.

The former prime minister and finance minister (FM) is now the highest ranking government executive to be convicted after former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

In total, Najib was handed a prison sentence of 72 years and a fine of RM210 million — one of the biggest fines imposed by Malaysian courts. However, as the court had ordered the jail sentence to run concurrently, the Pekan member of parliament will serve only 12 years in prison.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who took 2½ hours to deliver his verdict, found that Najib, once the most powerful man in the country, had failed to rebut the prosecution’s case on all seven charges in connection with RM42 million of SRC funds.

The RM42 million was part of a RM4 billion loan given by Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) and guaranteed by the government. SRC was a former subsidiary of state-owned 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Proceedings last Tuesday began at 10.20am and only ended at 7.30pm, after the court agreed to the defence’s request for a stay of execution on the sentence and ordered that Najib’s bail be increased to RM2 million.

To secure a conviction in criminal cases, the prosecution has to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, compared with civil cases, where the burden of proof is on a balance of probabilities.

Besides the seven charges (see box) on which he has been found guilty, Najib also faces trial on 35 other counts, all in relation to 1MDB.

…more
Special Report: Najib’s SRC Trial: Nazlan’s findings of guilt
August 13, 2020 – The Edge Malaysia

29
Jul
20

SRC trial verdict: Najib is guilty

(source: Bernama infographics)
SRC Trial

27
Jun
20

Doom for ‘traitors’ and possible return of ‘cash is king’

Dr M foretells doom for ‘traitors’, resurrection of ‘cash is king’ in GE15

Dr Mahathir Mohamad has predicted that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Bersatu would be vanquished in the next general election and from the rubble, Umno would reclaim the seat of power which it lost after six decades in 2018.

His warning comes in the wake of a growing number of Umno leaders urging Muhyiddin, who is the Bersatu president, to initiate a snap polls.

In a blog post this evening, Mahathir reiterated his decision not to work with Muhyiddin and claimed that his successor-turned-predecessor, Najib Abdul Razak, is hoping to become prime minister again.

“In GE15, Umno will fight against Bersatu, which is now rudderless without the support of Pakatan Harapan.

“Not only will Muhyiddin lose but all Bersatu candidates will be defeated. Therefore, this will mark the end of Bersatu and Umno will reign again with its ‘cash is king’.

“History will remember Muhyiddin’s treachery towards the people who gave Harapan victory (in the last general election).

“I do not wish to be with Muhyiddin and his band of traitors,” added the nonagenarian, who revealed that numerous quarters have advised him to support and work with the current premier.

Mahathir said Muhyiddin also betrayed his allies by plotting with former Umno members who joined Bersatu to topple the Harapan administration.

“Without Harapan, Muhyiddin may have not won (in the last general election) and may not have found the backdoor (to form a backdoor government),” he added.

According to Mahathir, Umno collaborated with Muhyiddin to rescue Najib, who is facing a slew of court charges, from prison.

“We can see that such an effort is ongoing. Far from the promise to topple Najib, Muhyiddin is now working to free Najib from all charges so that he can contest in GE15.

“At that point, Najib will no longer need Muhyiddin because Najib intends to become prime minister again,” he added.

The Harapan government collapsed in February after 22 months in power following Azmin Ali and his allies quitting PKR and Muhyiddin subsequently withdrawing Bersatu from the coalition.

…more
Dr M foretells doom for ‘traitors’, resurrection of ‘cash is king’ in GE15
25 June 2020 – Malaysiakini

12
Nov
19

High Court orders Najib to enter defence in SRC case

High Court orders Najib to enter defence in SRC case

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): Once Malaysia’s highest ranking politician, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has today been ordered by the High Court to enter his defence for the three criminal breach of trust, an abuse of power and three money laundering charges involving RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.

Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali in his decision found the prosecution has proven a prima facie case against the former premier.

The prosecution is led by Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, appointed deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Datuk V Sithambaram, deputy head of the criminal division AG’s Chambers Datuk Ishak Mohd Yusof, Datuk Suhaimi Ibrahim and other DPPs.

Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah along with lawyers Harvinderjit Singh, Farhan Read and others appeared for Najib.

Najib is charged with abuse of power under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission of using his position as the prime minister and Finance Minister to commit bribery involving RM42 million when he participated in or was involved in a decision on behalf of the Malaysian government to provide government guarantees for loans from the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) to SRC International amounting to RM4 billion.

He is alleged to have committed the offence at the Prime Minister’s Office, Precinct 1, Putrajaya, Federal Territory of Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 8, 2012. If convicted he can face a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value received or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The Pekan MP and former Umno president also faces three criminal breach of trust charges as the PM and finance minister and adviser emeritus to SRC, and in those capacities entrusted with the control of funds belonging to SRC totalling RM4 billion, having committed CBT to the sum of RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million.

All three offences under Section 409 of the Penal Code are allegedly carried out between Dec 24, 2014 and Feb 10, 2015 at AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan.

For CBT, the 66-year-old former is liable to a maximum of 20 years in jail, whipping and a fine if convicted. However, due to his age, the whipping would not be imposed.

With regard to money laundering, Najib is alleged to have received RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million respectively, which were proceeds from unlawful activities via Real Time Electronic Transfer of Funds and Securities (Rentas) into two AmIslamic Bank Bhd accounts of his, bearing the numbers 2112022011880 and 2112022011906 at AmIslamic Bank Bhd, AmBank Group Building, 55 Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur between Dec 26, 2014 and Feb 10, 2015.

If convicted, he stands to face a maximum of 15 years in jail, and a fine of up to RM5 million or five times the amount, whichever is higher, for each charge under Section 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds from Unlawful Activity 2001.

…more
High Court orders Najib to enter defence in SRC case
November 11, 2019 – theedgemarkets.com

01
Nov
19

Recovery of US$1 billion in assets associated with the 1MDB scandal by the US

United States Reaches Settlement to Recover More Than $700 Million in Assets Allegedly Traceable to Corruption Involving Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Department of Justice has reached a settlement of its civil forfeiture cases against assets acquired by Low Taek Jho, aka Jho Low, and his family using funds allegedly misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Malaysia’s investment development fund, and laundered through financial institutions in several jurisdictions, including the United States, Switzerland, Singapore and Luxembourg.

These assets, located in the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, are estimated to be worth more than $700 million. With the conclusion of this settlement, together with the prior disposition of other related forfeiture cases, the United States will have recovered or assisted in the recovery of more than $1 billion in assets associated with the 1MDB international money laundering and bribery scheme. This represents the largest recovery to date under the Department’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative and the largest civil forfeiture ever concluded by the Justice Department.

“As alleged in the complaints, Jho Low and others, including officials in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, engaged in a brazen multi-year conspiracy to launder money embezzled or otherwise misappropriated from 1MDB, and he used those funds, among other things, to engage in extravagant spending sprees, acquiring one-of-kind artwork and luxury real estate, gambling freely at casinos, and propping up his lavish lifestyle,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This settlement agreement forces Low and his family to relinquish hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains that were intended to be used for the benefit of the Malaysian people, and it sends a signal that the United States will not be a safe haven for the proceeds of corruption.”

“A staggering amount of money embezzled from 1MDB at the expense of the people of Malaysia was laundered through the purchase of big-ticket assets in the U.S. and other nations. Thanks to this settlement, one of the men allegedly at the center of this massive scheme will lose all access to hundreds of millions of dollars,” said U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna of the Central District of California. “The message in this case is simple: the United States is not a safe haven for pilfered funds. Our strict anti-money laundering controls are effective, and we will seize assets used by criminals to conceal ill-gotten gains.”

“Today’s settlement with Jho Low demonstrates the continued commitment of the FBI to root out the fraud and selfishness of the corrupt individuals who conspired to pay bribes and launder funds which belong to the Malaysian people,” said FBI Assistant Director Terry Wade of the Criminal Investigative Division. “The FBI’s dedicated International Corruption Squads will continue to combat foreign corruption which reaches our shores. We will not allow criminals, foreign or domestic, to use the United States in furtherance of their criminal activities.”

“The action announced today will allow the United States government to deny Mr. Low the use of the assets purchased with this extraordinarily large sum of money he allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB and the people of Malaysia,” said Chief Don Fort of IRS Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI). “Mr. Low allegedly attempted to launder these funds through multiple international jurisdictions and a web of shell corporations, but his greed finally caught up with him. This case is a model for international cooperation in significant cross-border money laundering investigations”

According to the civil forfeiture complaints, from 2009 through 2015, more than $4.5 billion in funds belonging to 1MDB were allegedly misappropriated by high-level officials of 1MDB and their associates, including Low, through a criminal conspiracy involving international money laundering and bribery. 1MDB was created by the government of Malaysia to promote economic development in Malaysia through global partnerships and foreign direct investment, and its funds were intended to be used for improving the well-being of the Malaysian people.

Under the terms of the settlement, Low, his family members, and FFP, a Cayman Islands entity serving as the trustees overseeing the assets at issue in these forfeiture actions, agreed to forfeit all assets subject to pending forfeiture complaints in which they have a potential interest. The trustees are also required to cooperate and assist the Justice Department in the orderly transfer, management and disposition of the relevant assets. From the assets formerly managed by FFP, the United States will release $15 million to Low’s counsel to pay for legal fees and costs. Under the agreement, none of those fees may be returned to Low or his family members. The assets subject to the settlement agreement include high-end real estate in Beverly Hills, New York and London; a luxury boutique hotel in Beverly Hills; and tens of millions of dollars in business investments that Low allegedly made with funds traceable to misappropriated 1MDB monies.

Low separately faces charges in the Eastern District of New York for conspiring to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB and for conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by paying bribes to various Malaysian and Emirati officials, and in the District of Columbia for conspiring to make and conceal foreign and conduit campaign contributions during the United States presidential election in 2012. The charges in the indictments are merely allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. This agreement does not release any entity or individual from filed or potential criminal charges.

The assets being forfeited subject to this settlement are in addition to the nearly $140 million in assets the U.S. previously forfeited in connection with Low’s investment in a business entity related to the Park Lane Hotel in New York, as well as a super-yacht, valued at over $120 million, seized by law enforcement authorities in Indonesia at the request of the Justice Department and recovered by Malaysian authorities directly from Indonesia. Following conclusion of today’s settlement, several civil forfeiture complaints arising out of the 1MDB criminal conspiracy remain pending against assets associated with other alleged co-conspirators.

The FBI’s International Corruption Squads in New York City and Los Angeles and the IRS-CI are investigating the case. Deputy Chief Woo S. Lee and Trial Attorneys Kyle R. Freeny, Joshua L. Sohn, Barbara Levy and Jonathan Baum of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Kucera, Michael R. Sew Hoy and Steven R. Welk of the Central District of California are prosecuting the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs is providing substantial assistance.

The Department also appreciates the significant assistance provided by the Attorney General’s Chambers of Malaysia, the Royal Malaysian Police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Attorney General’s Chambers of Singapore, the Singapore Police Force-Commercial Affairs Division, the Office of the Attorney General and the Federal Office of Justice of Switzerland, the judicial investigating authority of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Criminal Investigation Department of the Grand-Ducal Police of Luxembourg.

The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is led by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies, and often with U.S. Attorney’s Offices, to forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption and, where appropriate, to use those recovered assets to benefit the people harmed by these acts of corruption and abuse of office. In 2015, the FBI formed International Corruption Squads across the country to address national and international implications of foreign corruption. Individuals with information about possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or laundered through the U.S. should contact federal law enforcement or send an email to kleptocracy@usdoj.gov (link sends e-mail) or https://tips.fbi.gov/.

A civil forfeiture complaint is merely an allegation that money or property was involved in or represents the proceeds of a crime. These allegations are not proven until a court awards judgment in favor of the United States.

…source
United States Reaches Settlement to Recover More Than $700 Million in Assets Allegedly Traceable to Corruption Involving Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund
October 30, 2019 – DOJ

07
Sep
19

ECRL and pipeline projects meant to bail out 1MDB, says Najib’s ex-aide

ECRL, two pipeline projects meant to bail out 1MDB, says Najib’s ex-aide

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), the Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline and the Multi-Product Pipeline (MPP) that sought investments from China were proposed projects to bail out debt-riddled 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and its former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd, the High Court heard today.

Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin who formerly worked as special officer to Datuk Seri Najib Razak testified in the latter’s 1MDB trial that the ex-prime minister had made offers to the China-owned companies while clearly aware of the Malaysian sovereign investment firm’s financial woes.

“Datuk Seri Najib offered state enterprise companies to be involved in these infrastructure projects, while at the same time solving the issue of 1MDB and SRC International’s debts.

“The sentence ‘while simultaneously completely resolving 1MDB and SRC (International) debts’ clearly meant that Datuk Seri Najib intended to send the message that this cooperation would also aid 1MDB and SRC International through the bailouts of 1MDB’s debts,” Amhari said, referring to talking points of a meeting he attended in capacity as Najib’s special envoy with Chinese representatives in June 2016.

Ahmari went on a diplomatic visit to China that year together with Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low.

The former Najib aide said he and Low were the only representatives for Malaysia in those meetings with Chinese representatives, but added that Low did most of the talking as the conversations were in Mandarin.

Other documents presented in court today included one that Amhari said was a debt resolution plan for 1MDB and SRC International and prepared by Low titled “Action Point: China-Malaysia Economic Programme”.

…more
ECRL, two pipeline projects meant to bail out 1MDB, says Najib’s ex-aide
4 September 2019 – Malay Mail

03
Sep
19

Only Najib and Jho Low knew ‘full picture’ of 1MDB plan

Only Najib and Jho Low knew ‘full picture’ of 1MDB plan – former aide

NAJIB TRIAL | Only then-prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and financier Jho Low had the “full picture” of manoeuvrings in relation to 1MDB dealings at the time, a former senior aide to Najib told the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.

Testifying on the third day of the 1MDB criminal trial of his former boss, Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin (above), also labelled Low a “master manipulator” when dealing with local and foreign parties, and that much of this was known to Najib.

Amhari, 43, was testifying in front of judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah on 1MDB’s joint ventures with PetroSaudi International (PSI) and Aabar Investments PJS BVI (Aabar BVI).

Reading from his witness statement, Amhari explained that he began serving as Najib’s special officer, on loan from Bank Negara Malaysia, from 2008 when the latter was still deputy prime minister.

The eight witness explained that, among others, part of his duties when Najib became premier in 2009 was to coordinate programmes related to 1MDB, under the supervision of the late Azlin Alias, then the economy division director under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Azlin was also Najib’s private secretary at the time.

“Throughout my experience dealing with Jho (Low), I found that he is smart and manipulating when dealing with officers of various levels and ranks, from Malaysia or overseas, most of which was known to Najib.

“Therefore, only Jho and Najib have the fullest picture on the manoeuvrings they were planning.

“Jho was a master manipulator and in this situation, I can now say that I was used for insincere purposes,” Amhari told the court.

It was reported that Aabar BVI was a company set up to appear as Aabar, a legitimate subsidiary of the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).

Instead, Aabar BVI was controlled by rogue Aabar officials in coordination with Low (photo).

Amhari further testified that he and Azlin only knew of alleged misappropriation involving the sovereign wealth fund after media reports began surfacing from 2014, as the duo allegedly worked in “silos”.

…more
Only Najib and Jho Low knew ‘full picture’ of 1MDB plan – former aide
3 Sept 2019 – malaysiakini

02
Sep
19

1MDB had PM’s written approval clause (Article 117) inserted before name change from TIA

Najib’s trial: 1MDB had PM’s written approval clause inserted before name change from TIA

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — The Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) Berhad had a new clause inserted — known to effectively give the prime minister the power to have the final say — into the company’s constitution, even before it was renamed as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), documents produced today in court confirmed.

Rafidah Yahaya, assistant company registrar of the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM), today confirmed more than 150 documents lodged with CCM by several companies related to Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s corruption trial over illegal funds allegedly originating from 1MDB.

Among other things, Rafidah verified TIA’s Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A) dated February 27, 2009 — the company constitution which established the company.

Apart from the February 27, 2009 document which formed TIA and which had 116 Articles then, Rafidah went on to confirm a separate document dated September 2, 2009 which related to the insertion of clause Article 117.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Mustafa P. Kunyalam had asked Rafidah to confirm the September 2, 2009 document, which he noted was an amendment to TIA’s Memorandum and Articles of Association and that “in this amendment Article 117 was inserted into 1MDB or TIA’s M&A”.

“True,” Rafidah had replied when testifying during the trial.

The witness was not asked to elaborate on Article 117, but reports have previously shown that it requires a written approval from the prime minister before 1MDB can decide on a wide range of issues.

Rafidah also confirmed a separate document dated September 4, 2009, which contained information on TIA’s change of name to become 1MDB.

The notification for TIA’s name change to be 1MDB was just days after Article 117 was inserted.

Rafidah is the seventh prosecution witness in this trial, and will resume her testimony before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah next Tuesday.

Yesterday, which was also the first day of trial, the first prosecution witness Datuk Farizah Ahmad had verified a long list of administrative positions held by Najib during his political career, including his role as deputy prime minister from 2004 until 2009.

Najib became prime minister and finance minister from April 2009 until May 2018.

In this trial, Najib is facing four counts of abusing his position for his own financial benefit totalling almost RM2.3 billion from the sovereign investment fund and the resulting 21 counts of money-laundering.

Hearing dates have already been fixed for this trial stretching from September until November 14.

About Article 117

At the start of Najib’s trial, lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram had in reading the prosecution’s opening statement said the case involves the funds of 1MDB which was originally TIA, adding that Najib was allegedly “instrumental in changing” the name to 1MDB.

Sri Ram had also said then that Najib had allegedly caused amendments to the company’s articles “to place himself in sole control of important matters” of the company, and that he was also 1MDB board of advisers’ chairman.

“He used that position and that of prime minister and minister of finance to do certain acts and to exert influence over the board of 1MDB to carry out certain abnormal transactions with undue haste,” Sri Ram had said when outlining what the prosecution would seek to prove, adding that Najib’s ultimate aim was allegedly to obtain self-gratification.

In the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) report on 1MDB that was released in April 2016, the bipartisan parliamentary committee stated that Article 117 of 1MDB’s M&A outlined three categories of decisions that require the prime minister’s written permission.

The decisions includes any changes to 1MDB’s M&A, and any appointment and removal of 1MDB directors and top management, the report said.

According to the PAC report, the third category of decisions needing the PM’s written nod under Article 117 also cover any financial commitment, investments and restructuring by 1MDB.

The third category is also stated as covering “matters relating to guarantees issued by the Federal Government of Malaysia for the company’s interests, national interests, national security” or any federal government policy.

The federal government is the one that will finalise what amounts to “national interest”, “national security” or policy of the federal government, according to the PAC report’s explanation of Article 117.

In May 2016, the Finance Ministry announced that the 1MDB’s sole shareholder Minister of Finance Incorporated had agreed to fully implement the PAC report’s recommendations, including to dissolve 1MDB’s board of advisers, to remove Article 117 and change all references of “prime minister” to “minister of finance” in 1MDB’s M&A.

…more
Najib’s trial: 1MDB had PM’s written approval clause inserted before name change from TIA
29 August 2019 – Malay Mail





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