Posts Tagged ‘DOJ

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.

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

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.

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

20
Jun
17

U.S. Moves to Seize Diamonds, a Picasso and Hollywood Films in Malaysian Case – NY Times

U.S. Moves to Seize Diamonds, a Picasso and Hollywood Films in Malaysian Case

BANGKOK — A Picasso painting given to the actor Leonardo DiCaprio, the rights to two Hollywood comedies and a $27.3 million diamond necklace belonging to the wife of Malaysia’s prime minister are among half a billion dollars in assets sought by the United States in a widening money-laundering inquiry.

A complaint filed on Thursday by the United States Justice Department seeks $540 million in assets, including a luxury yacht and expensive real estate, that it says were bought with money stolen from a government fund in Malaysia overseen by the country’s prime minister, Najib Razak.

Together with a previous complaint, the Justice Department is seeking nearly $1.7 billion in assets it says were stolen from the fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, and laundered through financial institutions in the United States.

The complaint says that more than $4.5 billion was “misappropriated” by high-level Malaysian officials and their associates. A complaint filed last year said that $731 million from the fund was deposited into bank accounts belonging to Mr. Najib.

“These cases involve billions of dollars that should have been used to help the people of Malaysia, but instead was used by a small number of individuals to fuel their astonishing greed,” the acting United States attorney, Sandra R. Brown, said in a statement.

Mr. Najib, who is identified in the 251-page complaint only as Malaysian Official 1, has denied any wrongdoing. He has boasted of golfing with President Trump, but any hope he had that Mr. Trump’s election might curb the American investigation appears to have been dashed.

Mr. Najib’s attorney general, Mohamed Apandi Ali, issued a statement on Friday noting that investigations by Mr. Najib’s government had found no evidence that money was misappropriated.

Mr. Najib’s press secretary, Tengku Sariffuddin, suggested the United States’ action was politically motivated. Malaysia is “concerned by the unnecessary and gratuitous naming of certain matters and individuals that are only relevant to domestic political manipulation and interference,” he said. “This suggests a motivation that goes beyond the objective of seizing assets.”

The Malaysian government created the fund in 2008 ostensibly to promote economic development. But it borrowed heavily, and much of the money was used in questionable investment schemes.

A central player in establishing the fund was Jho Low, a friend of Mr. Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz.

The latest complaint seeks to recover more than $400 million from Mr. Low, including his $250 million yacht, Equanimity. Mr. Low’s location is unknown.

Mr. Low used some of the funds to finance a lavish style and befriend celebrities, including hiring them to attend parties, the complaint says.

It seeks the recovery of more than $8 million in diamond jewelry that Mr. Low is said to have given to Miranda Kerr, an Australian model, including an 11.72-carat, heart-shaped diamond for Valentine’s Day in 2014. Ms. Kerr could not be reached immediately for comment.

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U.S. Moves to Seize Diamonds, a Picasso and Hollywood Films in Malaysian Case
JUNE 16, 2017 – NY Times

19
Jun
17

New revelations by the US DOJ require answers and action

MEDIA STATEMENT (16 JUNE 2017): New revelations by the US DOJ require answers and action

BERSIH 2.0 is appalled by the new revelations from the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) suit on the misappropriation of funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The US DOJ now alleges, with comprehensive records of emails, bank transfers and phone calls, that $4.5 billion (approximately RM17 billion) was misappropriated by high-level officials to finance their “lavish lifestyles…at the expense and detriment of the Malaysian people”.

The filings also show that the statement made by Attorney General Apandi Ali in January 2016, clearing Prime Minister Najib Razak of all charges, was false. It directly contradicts Apandi Ali by stating 1MDB was the only source of funds for the $681 million transferred to Najib.

This is a damning indictment on Malaysia’s public institutions. The reaction from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police have either accused the US DOJ of “insinuations” against Najib, “domestic political manipulation and interference” or refused to cooperate with the suit.

However, no evidence has been provided to contradict the 250-page court filing. There is also no evidence to contradict the allegations and admissions that these funds were used to manipulate the results of the 13th General Election through unparalleled bribery and money politics.

In light of these statements, Malaysians are once again reminded of how Najib fired the then Attorney General, removed those in Cabinet raising questions and gutted the Public Accounts Committee investigation when these revelations first broke in 2015.

Since then, the Malaysian people have been given no clear explanation by our own institutions into the location of the missing funds. It has been seven years since the issues with 1MDB were first raised in Parliament, but the truth is still being kept from the rakyat. As an obvious indication of the lack of transparency and accountability surrounding this scandal, the Auditor General’s report into 1MDB remains under the Official Secrets Act.

BERSIH 2.0 once again demands the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak in order to make way for an independent investigation into 1MDB and the restoration of the independence of our institutions. Malaysians must not stop demanding accountability and transparency from our public officials. With the 14th General Election fast approaching, we must make our voices heard in calling for an end to corruption and fraud in all our public institutions.

Issued by:
The BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee

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MEDIA STATEMENT (16 JUNE 2017): New revelations by the US DOJ require answers and action
16 June 2017 – BERSIH 2.0




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
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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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