24 March 2017
The legal profession has been circling to see what they can extract from Malaysia’s missing millions ever since the 1MDB scandal broke.
In California, the case has just been extended over the asset seizures from Jho Low, after Judge Dale Fischer granted the Low Family the right to file their late defence, now that they have changed their trustees managing the complex structure behind which they’d hidden their assets off-shore.
Prosecutors had argued they ought not be allowed to gain an extra six months to file their defence owing to their own secretive ploys. However, the judge in California, as in New Zealand, decided to be lenient.
It means there will now be a lengthy and expensive case paid for out of the stolen 1MDB money, before what is left can be formally removed from the grasping Low family and some of it ultimately returned to the Malaysian people.
It doesn’t mean the Lows will win their arguments. Good luck to them on that, given the mounds of evidence stacked against them. Indeed there is a logic to the decision, which is that the family will not be in a position to file a future appeal on the grounds they were not allowed a fair hearing.
However, it ensures that greedy California lawyers will enrich themselves off money that Malaysians are having to repay at enormous rates of interest.
Looking for Bond holder ‘victims’
Meanwhile, a law firm on the east side of America have got a different game going thanks to 1MDB. They are seeking victims of Goldman Sach’s plain negligence over the sale of the 1MDB bonds.
So, naturally they are telling a very different version of events to that of the West Coast defenders of the Lows.
“..it appears that billions of dollars have been misappropriated from the 1MDB Fund by friends or family members (incuding defendants Low and Aziz) of the current Malaysian prime minister (Najib Razak).Goldman and its top Southeast Asia banker at the time, Timothy Leissner, helped establish the corporate predecessor of 1MDB in 2008, and worked with Mr Low in his role as an “advisor” to 1MDB. Between 2009 and 2011, according to the DOJ Actions, it appears that more than $1 billion was improperly diverted from the 1MDB fund to various entities… ” [Scott & Scott press release]
There are no prizes for guessing what Scott & Scott are after. Their announcement ends with an advertisement for ‘vicitms’ ie holders of 1MDB bonds to join a class action to sue Goldman Sachs for their negligent if not criminal role in facilitating all these thefts.
Malaysians are unlikely to find their hearts bleeding for Goldman, who deserve all that comes their way over this appalling series of heists, which earned the bank record profits of nearly $700 million.
After all, Sarawak Report has reported how Tim Leissner’s bond offering included the assurance that 1MDB was ‘robustly managed’ by a three tier governance structure ‘free from political interference’. Given he had helped set up 1MDB Tim knew this was a lie.
What none of these actions are looking out for are the poor people of Malaysia, for whom this fund was supposed to improve access to development – education, food, housing and the like. Goldman ought to be stripped of all their profits from the deal and then fined on top and all that money should go not to wealthy bond holders (or fat cat lawyers), but to Malaysian development projects.