21 Jul 2016
The story of the ‘Saudi Royal Donation’ has gone up in smoke, thanks to the clear and forensic detail provided by the FBI.
Step by step, down to the date of each dollar transfer, the Feds have spelt out in their report how, in just a matter of days, $681 million (RM2.6bn) raised from 1MDB’s so-called Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) bond issue was passed to Najib’s now notorious personal AmBank account in KL.
They point out that this was the very same bank account into which earlier transfers were traced from the previous 1MDB heists, processed through the companies Good Star and Blackstone, which were both controlled by Jho Low.
Tanore Finance was in the name of Jho Low’s associate, Eric Tan and a named signatory was none other than the lawyer Jasmine Loo, whom Low had brought from Sarawak’s UBG corporation to be Executive Director of Group Strategy at 1MDB (before using 1MDB’s money to buy out his own and Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s interests in UBG).
Out of $2.7 billion raised from the 2013 TRX bond issue $1.59 billion was immediately siphoned into a network of off-shore funds that had been used before to launder money. These companies passed $835,000,000 straight to Tanore, which in turn passed the $681 million on to Najib’s account, thanks to instructions from Loo.
No Saudi Royal in sight.
The scheme laid out by the FBI reveals how a tight group of key players had been brought together by this astonishing theft – a gang that had already been identified by Sarawak Report as we observed their partying and close connections.
These were the people around Jho Low and they include the American Joey McFarland, who had become the Co-Producer of Red Granite Pictures together with Najib’s step-son Riza Aziz.
Joey, who fancies himself as a discerning art collector, was at the centre of a picture-buying spree, in the period after the 2013 election, when Najib sent much of the money back to Tanore from KL.
The FBI details how Jho Low and his gang set about laundering it through art and other high value purchases.
This is the very same party gang, whom Sarawak Report earlier pin-pointed through their online presence, enjoying themselves in the ski centres of the world, cruising on mega-yachts and clubbing in Vegas.
According to their instagram accounts, this tight gang of thieves considered themselves “family” – tied together by their joint misdeeds, which are now bared to the world in this report.
They include Jho Low, Riza Aziz, Jasmine Loo, Joey McFarland, Khadem Al Qubaisi and a pack of Hollywood hangers on, who have been happy to enjoy their lavish hospitality, gambling chips, magnums of champagne, yachts, jets, art auction donations and the like and they include Leo Di Caprio, Alicia Keays, Swizz Beatz and a number of other well known celebrities.
The money trail
There is not a shred of doubt in this indictment that the person identified as ‘Malaysian Official 1′ is Najib Razak.
There are numerous confirmations and clear pointers that the only person to whom the DOJ is referring is the Malaysian Prime Minister and anyone saying otherwise is merely seeking to convince those who have not read the report or the wilfully gullible.
The section on ‘The Tanore Finance Stage’ of the 1MDB theft is as clear an indicator as any of the Prime Minister’s guilt as a mega-thief and liar, in that it deals with the money trail of $681 million, which led from 1MDB’s 2013 bond issue (supposedly for the Tun Razak Exchange project) into Najib’s personal AmBank Account in KL.
The DOJ points out that this is the very same sum and the very same transaction that has been acknowledged by Najib as having entered his account, confirmed by the Malaysian Attorney General.
Except Najib claimed that it was a ‘Saudi Royal Donation’ and said it was later largely returned to the ‘anonymous donor’, whereas the DOJ explains in detail how the money was flashed within two days from the 1MDB bond issue into Najib’s account through a few short banking moves via Tanore Finance which was controlled by Low and his associates.
Most of the money was indeed returned to Tanore after the election in August the US investigators say, but it was then used by Jho Low and his gang to invest in art, real estate and other business ventures.
The DOJ devastatingly uses Malaysia’s own Attorney General’s statements, made during his bid to ‘clear’ his boss Najib, against himself, as they quote his admissions about the money:
“263. The Attorney General of Malaysia publicly stated that he conducted an inquiry into the $681 million in payments. In a press release issued on January 26, 2016, the Malaysian Attorney General confirmed that, “the sum of USD681 million (RM2.08 billion) [was] transferred into the personal account of [MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1] between 22.03.2013 and 10.04.2013,” and that, “in August 2013, a sum of USD620 million (RM2.03 billion) was returned by [MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1]. . . .” The Malaysian Attorney General ultimately characterized the payment of $681 million as a “personal donation to [MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1] from the Saudi royal family which was given to him without any consideration.”
It leaves no doubt that the man in question is Najib, as confirmed by AG Apandi’s own statement.
Sarawak Report has distilled the detailed information provided in Section III of the DOJ indictment on the path of the funds raised by the March 2013 bond issue – see the money trail below:
The gang of conspirators around Najib and Jho Low are thrown into sharp relief by the ongoing story of the Tanore cash flows. The account at Falcon Bank in Singapore was in the name of Low’s associate Eric Tan, says the DOJ, but the day before the transfers to Najib were made 1MDB’s Executive Director of Group Strategy, Jasmine Loo, was added as a signatory. Loo, a lawyer, was also a long-standing associate of Low, having followed him from UBG in Sarawak.
The DOJ make clear that the reason for adding Loo to the account was to facilitate the transfers and it showed a clear purpose to defraud the fund involving some of its most senior officers.
When in August 2013, after the election, the bulk of the money was returned from Najib’s AmBank account to Tanore Finance, it was used for purposes of self-enrichment by the same gang of conspirators with no care for the public purpose of the fund:
The FBI has traced a huge haul of valuable modern art purchased by the conspirators, often at record prices, over the following months via their account at Christies, as Jho Low and his pals started to style themselves as ‘art lovers’ and ‘art patrons’.
Christies allegedly believed that Low was the owner of Tanore and was making purchases for his corporate collection, although Low went to considerable lengths to attempt to disguise his connection by working through Eric Tan as the nominee beneficial owner and Joey McFarland as the bidder for the pictures.
Christies told the FBI that McFarland and Low attended art auctions in New York together and that at those auctions, McFarland would bid for Tanore.
These items are now on the asset seizure list and they include a number of paintings already identified by Sarawak Report:
“..an unnamed work by Mark Ryden for $714,000 (“Ryden work”) and an unnamed work by Ed Ruscha for $367,500 (“Ruscha work”). At a Post-War & Contemporary Evening Sale on May 15, 2013, Tanore purchased Dustheads, by Jean- Michel Basquiat (“Dustheads”) for $48,843,750; Untitled – Standing Mobile, Alexander Calder (“Calder Standing Mobile”) for $5,387,750; and Tic Tac Toe, by Alexander Calder (“Tic Tac Toe”) for $3,035,750….two works of art in a private sale arranged by Christie’s: Concetto spaziale, Attese, by Lucio Fontana (“the Fontana piece”); and Untitled (Yellow and Blue) by Mark Rothko (“the Rothko piece”)…[and]…a work by Vincent Van Gogh entitled La maison de Vincent a Arles (“VAN GOGH ARTWORK”) for $5,485,000.”
Yet, it is clear that art was not in fact the primary love of partying Jho Low and his friends, who even treated their purchasing jobs like further trips to Vegas casinos.
In November 2013 Low had ordered a special ‘Sky-Box’ to entertain his art auction guests at Christies. A staff email explained to colleagues who were setting up the structure:
“It better look like Ceasar Palace [sic] in there . . .The box is almost more important for the client than the art.”
The DOJ investigation rips apart all attempts by Low to pretend it was not himself behind the art, despite endless subterfuge recorded in emails to disguise his role. Christies apparently tolerated the deceit and kept his identity secret, although Joey’s presence at the auctions alerted SR!
Gift letters – ‘This is definitely not corrupt”!
The fact that these paintings were then “gifted” by Tan to Jho Low and McFarland is the final give-away in the Tanore art buying spree. However, the DOJ detail a fascinating touch, whereby Jho Low arranged for letters to be sent to justify these various multi-million dollar gifts.
It is a modus-operandi that followers of the donation trails to Najib’s AmBank account will find familiar:
These “gifts” of art purchased by Tanore were memorialized in several “gift letters.” While the body of each letter was identical, each letter referenced a different work or works being gifted,
Likewise, the various ‘donations’ made to Najib via Blackstone, Tanore and a supposed Saudi sheikh (Saud Abdulaziz Majid al-Saud/Prince Faisal bin Turkey bin Bandar Alsaud), were all accompanied by the same pro-forma donation letters addressed to AmBank – and written in similar tone!
“Each of these gift letters was: (a) dated October 2, 2013, (b) addressed to LOW from TAN and Tanore, and (c) contained the subject line: “RE: GIFT OF ART- WORK(S) AS STATED BELOW IN CONSIDERATION OF YOUR FRIENDSHIP, YOUR CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION TO THE WORLD, AND PASSION IN PROMOTING THE UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATION OF ART-WORKS …
I wish to gift you ALL of the art-work(s) mentioned in this gift letter in consideration of the followings [sic]:
– all the generosity, support and trust that you have shared with me over the course of our friendship, especially during the difficult periods of my life; and
– your continuous generosity in providing charitable contributions to advance the well-being and development of our global communities; and
– your passion in promoting the understanding and appreciation of art- works.
287. Each gift letter closes by stating:
All the art-work(s) gifted to you should not in any event be construed as an act of corruption since this is against the Company and/or my principles and I personally do not encourage such practices in any manner whatsoever.
As the DOJ leaves any reader to conclude, this ludicrous and childish denial of specified corruption bears an almost identical flavour to the letters sent to AmBank by the supposed Sheikh donor to Najib Razak – and the author can only be the youthful, ridiculous and party-loving poser, Jho Low
Proceeds of money laundering confiscated in the US
The DOJ as plaintiff then proceeds to demand the confiscation of a number of purchases by Jho Low and others with 1MDB’s stolen cash.
The L’Ermitage Hotel in Hollywood was bought from money which can be traced to the theft of $700 million from the PetroSaudi joint venture, says the DOJ.
The Hillcrest Drive, Hollywood Mansion also bought by Jho Low and then passed to Najib’s step-son Riza was also bought with the same stolen money, along with further funds which were stolen from the later scheme with Aabar.
All the money for the $15,917,189.63 purchase of this house for Riza Aziz came from the money stolen by Good Star according to charts provided by the DOJ, thus wholly vindicating Sarawak Report’s expose back in 2014, for which Riza Aziz’s lawyers sought to sue us.
Likewise, Riza’s fancy New York flat was also purchased from the same theft from the PetroSaudi deal “Funds traceable to the $700 million wire transfer from 1MDB to the Good Star Account were used in 2010 to acquire the PARK LAUREL CONDOMINIUM in New York, New York”
Jho Low even bought himself a Bombardier Jet from the same haul: “In 2010, LOW used funds traceable to the $700 million wire transfer from 1MDB to the Good Star Account to acquire the BOMBARDIER JET, a Bombardier Global 5000 aircraft bearing manufacturer serial number 9265 and registration number N689WM, with two Rolls Royce engines bearing manufacturer’s serial numbers 12487 and 12488, for approximately $35,371,335.”
Low’s Time Warner Building penthouse came from the same stolen money as was the most expensive Hollywood mansion in Oriole Drive, which had also been identified by Sarawak Report as belonging to Jho Low.
Sarawak Report is also vindicated in its coverage of the role of Low’s father Larry Low in helping him transfer and launder the billions filtched from 1MDB. Millions were passed from Good Star through Larry’s BSI account.
Low continued to use the Good Star money stolen from 1MDB to fund business venture, such as his prestige purchase of the world’s third largest music publishing company EMI Publishing for over a hundred million dollars and Greene Condominium in New York.
The investigators show how Jho Low’s sudden representation of his previously modest family as extremely wealthy had a purpose. It was an attempt to convince business partners that his funds came from legitimate family sources, as opposed to being stolen. It is for this reason says the DOJ, Low funnelled much of the stolen Good Star and Aabar money through his father’s accounts before purchasing concerns such as EMI Publishing:
In materials that LOW submitted to entities with whom he sought to do business… LOW represented that family resources were a significant source of his wealth. By funneling money through his father’s account for a brief period of time, LOW created the appearance that funds in his personal account, which were used to acquire an interest in EMI Partner A, came from his father rather than from Good Star or ADKMIC.
These acquisitions are now set to be confiscated by the DOJ and the fugitive Jho Low has few secrets left in the game he has tried to play, first his his role as ‘youthful business prodigy’ then as a ‘third generation billionaire’.
It is now for all to see that Jho Low is merely a thief who has been assisted by Malaysian Official No 1.
Red Granite and the Hollywood Jet Set – ‘Hollywood Actor 1′ !
The funds used to pay for the prestige production of the Wolf of Wall Street are “directly traceable to the $700 million wire transfer and $330 million wire transfers unlawfully diverted from 1MDB to the Good Star Account”, says the DOJ.
It entirely vindicates Sarawak Report’s original query whether the film was funded by Riza’s friend Jho Low, despite furious denials at the time. Referring to lead actor Leonardo Di Caprio as “Hollywood Actor 1″ the DOJ confirms that Jho Low’s ring of gangsters was behind the film:
“In his acceptance speech upon winning a Golden Globe for his role in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Hollywood Actor 1 thanked “the entire production team,” singling out in particular “Joey, Riz, and Jho,” whom he characterized as “collaborators” on the film. Upon information and belief, this reference was to Joey McFarland, a co-founder of Red Granite Pictures, AZIZ, and LOW”
The DOJ report is as detailed as it is damning and now that the Prime Minister of Malaysia has been revealed to be a common crook, he must leave office.
Najib Razak may yet protest his innocence in the face of the overwhelming evidence and claim that he will be vindicated in court. However, people in positions of leadership can never expect to continue in office with such outrageous and well-founded charges against his head.
If under such circumstances he does not step aside to allow a credible candidate to take his place that in itself would be a criminal act against his people.
Najib must go before he causes further instability in Malaysia.