8 April 2017
Malaysian news blog OutSyed the Box has picked up on the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office’s Annual Report for 2016 and the fascinating detail provided on its investigation into 1MDB.
We print the section in full (below) not least because of its stark references to corruption on the part of Malaysian officials and to the outrageous refusal by Najib’s newly appointed Attorney General to cooperate with investigations according to normal international protocols.
No wonder Najib and his police chief could not allow their bullish Minister Mohamed Nazri to walk into the lion’s den of a debate over 1MDB with the PM’s still razor sharp predecessor, Dr Mahathir. The amunition is simply too devastating and Malaysia’s position too unjustifiable.
Expanding criminal investigations
Sarawak Report has information that further actions are likely soon on the part of the Swiss that look set to expand the operation further. Also, for the first time, there are indications that the British authorities are also making moves to tackle crimes associated with 1MDB and its partners in stealing from the fund.
UK fraud investigators have so far kept a low profile in this international investigation, however they have cooperated closely with the US Department of Justice on the matter and a property in the name of the step-son of the Malaysian Prime Minister, Riza Aziz, was confiscasted in London’s Belgravia last year as part of the wider criminal investigation.
Sarawak Report has detailed closely the involvement of a number of British based actors in the case, particularly the Directors of PetroSaudi, who also have several properties in London’s Notting Hill and Mayfair.
See the excerpt from the Swiss AG’s Annual Report:
1MDB criminal investigation
On the basis of the finding that the Swiss financial services hub was affected by the financial scandal of which the Malaysian sovereign fund 1 MALAYSIA DEVELOPMENT BERHAD (1MDB) is supposed to have fallen vic- tim, the OAG instigated an investigation in August 2015. Within the framework of improper financial operations, several billion USD is said to have been embezzled at the expense of that fund, with the operations branching out into Singapore, Luxembourg, the US and Switzerland. This case has caused great furore in the media due to the scope of the fraud, the involvement of certain banks (suspicion of breach of obligations in the area of combating money laundering) and the likely involvement of executives of 1MDB and the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi in the misappropriation of the funds.
The Swiss investigation, which was instigated on the suspicion of fraud, bribery and money laundering, is directed against Malaysian officials and officials of the United Arab Emirates, who each held several bank accounts in Switzerland to which funds from a criminal origin allegedly flowed. Since 2015, the MROS has re- ported about one hundred suspicious accounts to the OAG in connection with this international case of fraud.
The OAG has frozen several tens of millions of USD as part of a seizure. At the international level, the OAG has noted the refusal of Malaysia to execute its request for legal assistance, whose aim was to clarify the facts and collect evidence in Malaysia. However, the OAG is in- vestigating in close co-operation with the authorities of other countries that are affected by this case and welcomes the effectiveness and speed of this co-operation.
As regards the financial intermediaries affected by this scandal, the OAG instigated on the basis of Article 102 para. 2 Swiss Criminal Code (responsibility of the company) separate investigations into two Swiss banks. They are being suspected of failing to take all necessary and reasonable organisational precautions to prevent the commission of acts of money laundering within the bank. Operating activity 19
Both banks have been fined by FINMA. In particular, FINMA ordered the seizure of the profits, which had been generated in violation of the anti-money laundering regulations. The corresponding orders were contested, and the Federal Administrative Court will have to rule on this.