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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

SarawakReport : Why Najib cannot Escape.

Press Statement IPIC/Aabar

Abu Dhabi’s state-owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) today said neither itself nor its unit Aabar Investments PJS have any links to a British Virgin Islands-incorporated firm named in a report into the troubles at Malaysian state fund 1MDB, reports Reuters.

“Both IPIC and Aabar confirm that Aabar BVI was not an entity within either corporate group,” IPIC said in a statement on the London Stock Exchange, referring to Aabar Investments PJS Limited (Aabar BVI).

“Further, both IPIC and Aabar confirm that neither has received any payments from Aabar BVI nor has IPIC or Aabar assumed any liabilities on behalf of Aabar BVI,” the statement added, noting that according to publicly available records, Aabar BVI was wound up and dissolved in June 2015.

IPIC has close business links to Malaysia’s scandal-hit state fund 1MDB, which is at the centre of corruption and money-laundering investigations across multiple jurisdictions, according to Reuters.

The Public Accounts Committee report on 1MDB said released last week said billions of US dollars in unexplained payments were made to a company called ‘Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (Aabar Ltd)’ in 2012 without board approval.



Deadly Development In Abu Dhabi For Najib

Deadly Development In Abu Dhabi For Najib

One wonders how the BN controlled media will report this latest development in Abu Dhabi?
“Emirates confirm 1MDB did nothing wrong”?  Or, perhaps, “Najib cleared by Abu Dhabi”!
Because, today’s clear announcement by the normally taciturn Arab state has nailed the lies from 1MDB and all its hierarchy of bosses from Najib down.

The sovereign wealth fund Aabar/IPIC, to which a staggering US$3.51 billion dollars was allegedly sent in 2012, under the guise of fulfilling ‘state to state’ obligations (relating to a smaller US$3.5 billion loan), has denied in a formal statement that it ever received any such money.

This vast sum, guaranteed by the Malaysian taxpayer, was sent to a completely different entity, IPIC has today confirmed to the London Stock Exchange. Aabar Investments PJS Limited (BVI) has no relationship to its own subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS in Abu Dhabi.
So, why do we think that 1MDB Chief Executive Arul Kanda has spent months refusing to provide the company’s foreign bank statements to the Auditor General and Parliamentary Accounts Committee?  And why do we think that Najib’s hand-picked new Attorney General has been refusing permission to Malaysian investigators to make enquiries abroad about the 1MDB money trail?

IPIC has removed the last avenue of excuse for 1MDB's lying bosses about where the money went

IPIC has removed the last avenue of excuse for 1MDB’s lying bosses about where the money went

Hunt for scapegoats begins

1MDB’s executives have plainly decided to start blaming rather than owning up. They immediately issued their own press release insinuating that somehow it is the Abu Dhabi wealth fund which is lying and at fault!
“1MDB finds it curious that IPIC and Aabar have waited until April 2016 to issue such a statement.
1MDB company records show documentary evidence of the ownership of Aabar BVI and of each payment made, pursuant to various legal agreements that were negotiated with Khadem Al Qubaisi in his capacity as Managing Director of IPIC & Chairman of Aabar and/or with Mohamed Badawy Al Husseiny, in his capacity as CEO of Aabar. It is, therefore, a surprising claim that neither IPIC nor Aabar have knowledge of, nor have benefited from, payments made by 1MDB to Aabar BVI. [1MDB statement April 11th]

Wow! Full marks for sheer brass neck.  So 1MDB has now suddenly admitted it has ‘documents’ for the Aabar BVI company after all, even though it had refused to produce them to the PAC or Auditor General.

If these are not genuine, the statement insinuates that the named former Chairmen and CEO are to blame, because 1MDB conducted its ‘legal agreements’ with them.


Al Husseiny (left) and Khadem (2nd left) once heroes from Abu Dhabi, now the villains of the piece, according to 1MDB?

Al Husseiny (left) and Khadem (2nd left) once heroes from Abu Dhabi, now the villains of the piece, according to 1MDB?

So, that’s OK then – Najib has been ‘cleared’ and the cheats were Khadem and Al Husseiny, who took more money than 1MDB borrowed from these loans deals, without the 1MDB boss turning a hair.

It is, of course, an obvious target for 1MDB to blame these two former executives of Aabar/IPIC.  Both have now been sacked and detained by the Emirate authorities, with an extradition request pending over Al Husseiny, an American citizen, from the United States.
So, put all the blame on them.  If things get trickier then there is always ex-1MDB boss Sirul Halmi (excuse typo) still a sitting duck in KL, who can be blamed for allowing it all to happen.

It is, of course, a desperate ploy from 1MDB, who in taking this tactic will have finally severed all good will with the Abu Dhabi fund, which is due next month to recoup a US$3 billion bail out extended by Al Husseiny to 1MDB last year – in one of his last actions before he was sacked.

There will be little chance of further assistance now that Najib has well and truly lost all his friends in Abu Dhabi.  And what must their neighbours in Saudi Arabia also be thinking, given the similar set of claims 1MDB made over PetroSaudi?

Why Najib can’t escape

The ultimate problem is that all this lying and abuse of power in Malaysia, which is based on a local misconception that Najib is ‘all-powerful’ and ‘untouchable’, cannot cover up the international money trail, which has started to emerge.

The money trail from Aabar Investments PJS Limited to Najib's step-son Riza Aziz

The money trail from Aabar Investments PJS Limited to Najib’s step-son Riza Aziz at Red Granite
Aabar /IPIC did not own Aabar Investments PJS Limited, but as 1MDB have effectively confirmed, this company was set up by its Chairman Khadem Al Qubaisi and CEO Mohamed Al Husseiny in the BVI.

Sarawak Report has published evidence of enormous backhanders paid to Khadem from 1MDB related entities, linked to Jho Low…. for what, one might ask?
Well, one of the payments received through this BVI Aabar Investments PJS Limited company was a whopping US$150 million to Red Granite Capital, according to the Wall Street Journal, who have been snooping round Hollywood.

Riza, partner Joey McFarland and Joe Low

Riza, partner Joey McFarland and Joe Low

Riza had himself promoted an announcement by Al Husseiny back in 2014 claiming he personally had funded Red Granite Films, including Wolf of Wall Street.

Maybe at the time it had seemed a good idea, given that everyone was speculating about Jho Low, who had been originally promoted in Hollywood as the funder?  After all, Riza’s personal wealth manager Debra Johnson must have been anxious to provide an acceptable public source of all his financial backing, after she had been exposed as the wife of Red Granite lawyer Channing Johnson!

A year later, the connection with Al Husseiny no longer seems such a great thing to advertise – in fact, the conflict of interest was questionable from the start.

Leaving aside the whole original PetroSaudi scandal, Najib and his step-son (and Rosmah?) are now going to have to explain how hundreds of millions went from 1MDB to a bogus Aabar subsidiary and then straight on to their son’s Hollywood production company!

And, with the world’s global regulators now on the case, they can rest assured this is just the start.  We wish the BN media all the best as they set about spinning this one!