31 May 2017
As usual the regulators seem to be treating major banks with kid gloves for facilitating blatant acts of mega-theft, compared to harsh sentences for junior figures and minor tricksters.
So, today’s announcement by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) had better be a prelude to proper action against the ultimate perpetrators of those thefts by prosecutors both there and in Switzerland, promptly, if its stated purpose of maintaining public confidence that it is a “clean financial centre” is to be achieved.
At the very least, with today’s confirmation by MAS that it has completed its probe and clearly identified AML failures in these and other banks (with small fry jailed) a warrant should be issued for Jho Taek Low, whose accounts have been officially identified as being at the centre of this:
Until such prosecutions get underway, we are left with very little indeed from the MAS statement about the detail of these failings by the banks in handling money stolen from the public of Malaysia. The Malaysian public are entitled to know a great deal more.
Credit Suisse and the Hong Kong Connection
Reading between the lines however, it would appear that the role of Credit Suisse could end up representing one of the biggest bombshell’s of the entire 1MDB scandal, particularly since the MAS statement specifically referred to the role of Hong Kong in this affair and the cooperation of the Hong Kong authorities in the 1MDB investigation.
Up to this point, little of the information to publicly emerge on 1MDB has involved Hong Kong, although a considerable amount of the money that had been banked in Singapore had been understood to have been shifted by Jho Low on behalf of his 1MDB bosses on to the finance centre, which is where his own company Jynwel Capital is based.
There has been one exception. Last year Najib Razak and his Attorney General attempted to slap terrorism charges against anti-corruption campaigner Khairuddin Hassan and his lawyer Matthias Chang, using the indefinite detention law that he had himself just introduced called SOSMA. The Appeal Court has only just rejected that attempt by the Malaysian Prime Minister, finding the two men innocent.
So, what was the reason for that SOSMA charge? Did government believe Khairuddin and Chang were attempting some kind of armed attack against civilians on the streets of Malaysia? Far from it.
Prosecutors were instead accusing the two campaigners of “Economic Sabotage” and ‘destabilising the Government”, owing to the fact that they had presented themselves in Hong Kong and deposited documents and lodged a police report alleging that Najib himself was the named shareholder of four companies with bank accounts at Credit Suisse in Hong Kong, which contained a simply humungous sum of money.
Details of those alleged accounts with Credit Suisse, along with notes on the amounts they are understood to have contained, have been uploaded on the internet. Khairuddin and Chang have not denied them. They refer to a total of over RM1.1 billion ringgit/ US$330 million.
Sarawak Report has seen no other referece to Credit Suisse relating to any other aspect of 1MDB.
Hong Kong, on the other hand, has been referred to in the context of money siphoned out from SRC through the Julius Baer branch in Hong Kong, before being transferred back into Najib’s KL account at AmBank in 2011 – via Jho Low’s company Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners and its own bank account at Standard Chartered in Singapore.
Barring official proof, 1MDB watchers can only speculate if Khairuddin’s allegations have pinpointed the reason behind the $0.7 million fine of Credit Suisse.
However, Najib’s extraordinary and heavy-handed response lend credence rather than otherwise to his claims. After all, had it all been nonsense a busy Prime Minister could simply have ignored the lone campaigner or sued him – why bring in a terrorism charge that so conveniently by-passes the need for a trial and the production of evidence?
It is particularly galling that in forcing through the controversial SOSMA legislation Najib had specifically promised that it would never be abused in such a way and would only be applied to fend off clear and present danger to lives and limbs by violent terror threats. As predicted, this (one of the first uses of the Act) was all about protecting Najib from awkward revelations instead.
Malaysians want and deserve the full facts on the role of Credit Suisse in 1MDB as soon as possible. And, if innocent of this particular allegation, so ought Najib.
Fake Valuation of PetroSaudi’s Oil Assets
Contained also in the sweep of penalties meeted out by the Monetary Authority today is another highly revealing nugget of new information, which confirms officially what Sarawak Report and others have long openly suspected and alleged. PetroSaudi’s oil asset valuations were fake.
Amongst the people suspended or banned from further financial practice in Singapore are employees of the company NRA Capital Pte Ltd, including its boss Kevin Scully, who till now “prided itself on being the first independent equity research company licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, offering independent institutional-quality equity research written for sophisticated investors…”.
It was already known that members of Kevin’s team had been bribed by Jho Low’s network of relationship advisors at BSI Bank to produce a favourable report on the value of those notorious “units” in 1MDB’s so-called Brazen Sky account, in order to get auditors from Deloittes to pass the fund’s accounts. This had come out at the trials of Jho’s link man Yeo Jiawei last year and his paid collaborators Kelvin Ang and Lee Chee Waiy.
However, today the Monetary Authority focused on a different bogus valuation in its statement, which strikes even deeper into the broader network of criminality at 1MDB – something that Sarawak Report has long highlighted: namely that the NRA researchers had misvalued (thanks to a bribe) PetroSaudi Oil Services itself.
The value of PetroSaudi’s oil assets lie at the heart of the first stage of the whole 1MDB scam, of course. There never were any oil fields worth billions and the original Chairman of the 1MDB Board resigned when he was first confronted with a plainly inadequate and bogus valuation of that shell company.
Later, 1MDB’s pay-offs to PetroSaudi were used to finance a new adventure in Venezuela by that company under its new subsidiary PSOSL. However, there has turned out to be little value in that venture and 1MDB itself was never a functioning shareholder or participant in the venture anyway, according to insiders close to the management of PSOSL at that time.
This is what the MAS had to say in confirmation of that today:
The new piece of information that is implied in this fascinating development appears to come in the form of a massive, leaden hint to the effect that those ‘units’ appear to have been ‘invested’ to a very large extent in the shaky enterprises of PetroSaudi itself in Venezuela and ‘elsewhere’.
Might that explain the ex-post facto mysterious payment of an astonishing US$43 million, which Sarawak Report noted had been paid to PetroSaudi Director Tarek Obaid from Jho Low’s 1MDB-related Singapore accounts (according to court documents released last year) long after the relationship with PetroSaudi had allegedly ended in 2012?
It is particularly ironic that these devastating official confirmations of the bogus value of the Brazen Sky units and the bogus value of the PetroSaudi ‘shares’, on which the value of those units were originally based, has been issued just at the very moment that Najib’s spin machine has been attempting to boast that Malaysia will pay its debts to Abu Dhabi’s IPIC by cashing in these very units.
We have said it before and with the support of the Monetary Authority of Singapore we now say it again. Those “units” were always worthless and always bogus. So, forget it: the money will be found, but by the Ministry of Finance, courtesy of Malaysian taxpayers.
Wednesday 31 May 2017
Tuesday 30 May 2017
30 May 2017
Documents show that the Sarawak businessman cum politician Bustari Yusuf personally received just short of a staggering RM60 million from Najib Razak in the weeks and days running up to the 2013 General Election.
The payments all came from Najib’s personal AmBank account number 2112022009694, which had received over a billion dollars since 2011, stolen from the 1MDB development fund.
The vast majority of the money was signed over to Bustari in the final fortnight of the campaign, indicating that the most likely purpose was to buy votes.
Bustari Yusuf has long been cited by observers, including Sarawak Report, as being one of the Prime Minister’s most trusted key operators in the State of Sarawak, whose seats have become increasingly crucial to BN’s survival in office.
Indeed, together with Sabah the East Malaysian state has been widely dubbed BN’s “Safe Deposit’, an analogy that represents the widespread notion that the voter base relies heavily on what is politely termed ‘money politics’, otherwise vote buying.
The Yusuf family have entrenched themselves in the politics and economy of Sarawak, obtaining extensive timber concessions in the 80s thanks to Bustari’s role as a Taib crony and former PBB Treasurer. However, he soon raised his eyes to higher opportunities when Najib took office.
This site has already reported on how this unofficial contact of the Prime Minister is rarely far from Najib’s side, especially when matters become sensitive or difficult.
He is also the PM’s regular golfing partner and a former colleague and close male friend of Rosmah Mansor.
When the original 1MDB joint partnership deal with PetroSaudi was hatched back in 2009 on the yacht Tattoosh, Bustari was in situ as one of a handful of guests on board apart from Najib’s family, Jho Low and the PetroSaudi shareholders (the other was Robin Tan, son of the tycoon Vincent Tan).
Again, after the scandal exploded in 2015, when Najib made repeat journeys to Singapore to shore up his position and to try to release the 1MDB accounts, it was Bustari who came with him and played golf between meetings.
Bustari has been rewarded with pivotal opportunities at the heart of a number of Najib’s grand economic projects, most controversially as the barely concealed ‘turnkey’ operator behind the multi-billion dollar Borneo Highway project. Sarawak Report exposed his hidden lucrative role.
So, no surprise that it was none other than Bustari’s politician brother Fadillah, whom Najib had appointed as Minister of Public Works soon after the 2013 General Election when BN scraped back into power, largely thanks to holding Sarawak. The ministry governs all public construction contracts.
Later, during the Sarawak state elections of 2016 Bustari was again ubiquitous at Najib’s side, helicoptering with him around the state and lurking in the background of functions. He managed to be as close to the new Chief Minister Adenan as he had been to Taib, after all he was regarded Najib’s proxy.
Sarawak Report also reported that it was indeed Bustari Yusof who was regarded as Najib’s ‘money man’, handling the traditional methods used in purchasing that election, as Najib traversed the state making promises and signing cheques.
Sure enough, the usual crackly notes were reported as having indeed surfaced on time to hand out to voters on polling day, in transactions favouring BN.
Money for 2013
Therefore, few in Sarawak will be surprised to learn that Bustari Yusuf was the single individual, who received by far the most money from Najib’s slush account during the GE13 campaign, according to evidence obtained by official investigators.
On April 18th 2013 he received RM26 million, according to figures obtained from the Task Force investigations, then on April 29th he received a further RM30 million.
Bustari also received RM1 million from Najib on 13th June 2012 and RM2 million on 6th February 2013…. achieving a total of RM59 million, which Sarawak Report assumes was channelled towards Najib Razak’s ‘strategy’ for buying the Sarawak election.
If Mr Bustari had a separate more meritorious purpose for obtaining RM56 million from the Prime Minister in the final fortnight of the election, apart from providing the cash handouts, which were reported around the polling stations of Sarawak, he is invited to contact us with the details.
Monday 29 May 2017
29 May 2017
Records obtained by Sarawak Report from the task force investigations into 1MDB reveal that on 25th October 2012 Prime Minister Najib Razak paid Sultan Hj Ahmad Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Abu Bakar RM2 million from his own named bank account, No 2112022009694, which was in turn funded by hundreds of millions stolen from the development fund 1MDB.
This is the Sultan of Pahang, who is the 86 year old ruler of Najib’s home state and a former Agong of Malaysia.
It brings the multi-billion ringgit scandal to a new level, where hundreds of payments have already been identified as having been made to “ruling-party politicians” and to fund vote buying in elections.
Now it has emerged that even Malaysia’s constitutional rulers were receiving handouts from the Prime Minister from money stolen from Malaysia’s bogus development fund 1MDB.
The next payment on the list, a cheque that was transacted on 30th October, was a further RM2 million made out to the eductaion foundation Yayasan Rahah, in the name of Najib’s mother. Several more millions have been made out in a series of further payments to the same foundation.
Najib and his wife Rosmah are known to be extremely close to Sultan Ahmad Shah, who has given the politician consistent support over the years. Such a significant personal payment from the Prime Minister of the Federation to the constitutional ruler of a constituent state raises very many questions of legitimacy and propriety.
These concerns are made more accute by the fact that it is now known that the money was stolen from a public fund and had been borrowed at extremely high rates of interest.
There is no reason to suggest that the Sultan would have known the money was stolen. In fact Najib still maintains, in the face of evidence produced by global investigators, banks and the US Dept of Justice, that the money was “donated” from a mysterious and anonymous Saudi Royal.
However, since Najib does not have any legitimate claim to great personal wealth, it begs the questions as to where the Sultan thought the money was coming from, why he accepted it and what it was for?
“Sultan of London”
Sources close to the family have confirmed that the Sultan of Pahang is known for his love of the ‘high life':
a former close associate of the family has told Sarawak Report. So, perhaps the Sultan can confirm that the money received from Najib had a more meritorious purpose, which would perhaps allay some of the potential criticism?
However, concerns remain that Najib may have been using this stash of stolen public cash to ‘buy’ support within the crucial Council of Rulers, whose inaction over 1MDB has enabled him to so far weather the political storm caused by the swathe of criminal revelations.
The Sultan of Pahang has notably lead the rulers in publicly supporting Najib. This from the Singapore Straits Times in April 2015 at the height of the scandal:
Sarawak Report trusts that the Sultan of Pahang will issue a statement explaining the payment.
Saturday 27 May 2017
27 May 2017
Sarawak Report has now received the full details of the payments received by CIMB boss Nazir Razak from his brother Najib, out money which turned out to have been stolen from 1MDB.
Nazir Razak admitted to these payments when they were first reported by the Wall Street Journal last year, which amounted to the equivalent of around $7 million. Nazir temporarily stood down from his position in April 2016 and initiated an enquiry at the bank.
Returning to his position the following month, Nazir said that he had been exonerated by the bank’s independent enquiry into its boss. The Prime Minister’s brother had explained he had been asked by Najib to assist in processing money, which he had understood to have been legitimately raised through genuine donations for the BN election effort.
However, Nazir did not publicly appear to explain how it could be necessary to ask a senior banking official, like himself, to process legitimate money – rather than putting it through the party books in the normal manner?
On the other hand, Nazir did helpfully confirm where this money was later sent:
Sarawak Report suggests that Nazir, who has shown some commendable disapproval of corrupt practices and unexplained wealth on the part of his brother, ought now provide further details on these furtive handouts.
Specifically, which ruling party politicians were paid, how much were they paid and why were they paid, as opposed to their formal party offices?
This is particularly so now that Sarawak Report is in a position to list the exact payments made to Nazir, of which there were four.
The first three payments, just before the General Election, came from the AmBank account xxx 964. This account was furnished by payments from abroad, including Tanore Finance and Blackstone Asia (both controlled Jho Low in Singapore):
– on 5th April 2013 RM13,500,000 was paid to Nazir;
– on 9th April 2013 RM500,000 was paid to Nazir
– and on 22nd April 2013 RM5,700,000 was paid to Nazir
However, these pre-election requests turn out not to have been “the first and last” after all.
There was a further payment, this time from the SRC funded local account number xxx906, made after the election on 20th December 2013 for RM6,000,000, bringing the grand total to RM25.7 million, considerably over US$7 million at contemporary exchange rates.
Therefore, the election payments appear, according to these investigation documents, not to have been “the last time he helped his brother in this way“.
So, perhaps Nazir can help answer the question why was Najib paying “ruling party politicians”, secretly through him again, even AFTER the elections?
In fact, why was he paying them at all?
Sarawak Report suggests that in the absence of any official explanation so far, Malaysians are entitled to conclude that Najib was attempting to buy his own party leadership’s loyalty to him personally, by putting large numbers of ringgit in the pockets of key players.
If so, it represents one further act of extreme political corruption waged against the democratic process of Malaysia. Ironically, it is so far the Editor of Sarawak Report who has been charged by the Malaysian authorities with “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” for pointing such matters out.
Names in the frame
Not all recipients from Najib’s slush fund were paid so secretly through his brother’s bank, however. We have details of some political figures who were paid directly with cheques from Najib, which substantiates the theory that the reason why all these UMNO/BN ‘bigwigs’ have stood silently by or in some cases have raced to his defence over 1MDB is because he has them all bought and paid for with that very self same stolen public money.
In a not necessarily exhaustive list, known politicians who have directly received personal cheques from the 1MDB accounts are as follows:
– Jacob Sagan – Sarawak PBB – 17/06/11 – RM200,000
– Ahmand Bashah B MD Hanipah – Kedah – 05/07/11 – RM200,000
– AB Aziz Kaprausi [Kaprawi?] – UMNO Sri Gading – 13/10/11 – RM 100,000
– Kasitah Bin Gaddam – UMNO Sabah – 06/01/12 – RM100,000
– Kasitah Bin Gaddam – UMNO Sabah – 02/02/12 – RM100,000 (again)
– Richard Riot – SUPP Sarawak – 02/03/12 – RM100,000
– Hassan Malek – UMNO Negeri Sembilan – 04/05/12 – RM100,000
– Ismail Adb Mattalib – UMNO Pahang – 27/06/12 – RM100,000
– Wetrom bin Bahanda – UMNO Sabah – 29/06/12 – RM100,000
Then just two days before the election a fat RM10,000,000 was extracted processed made out to Dato Hanafi Bin Mamat an UMNO senator from Kelantan.
What was he doing with that money? Certainly, the handout appears to have bought Hanafi’s firm loyalty.
After the eruption of the 1MDB scandal it was he who was chastising his local party members against showing any dissent to Najib over the matter:
Money well spent?
The payments continued after the election. of course, on 27th November 2013 Ahman Maslan received RM2 million, at the time UMNO Information Chief and always one of Najib’s most voluble supporters.
As also previously reported, on 26/11/13 the Chairman of the UMNO Backbenchers group Sharhril Abdul Samad also received a generous donation of RM1 million from the PM. Sharhril went on this year to take over FELDA the floundering famers’ fund run into the ground by Najib’s policies.
This list is by no means likely to be exhaustive and there are other interesting payments, including two telling handouts of RM100,000 each in June 2011 and April 2012 to a certain Ruslan Kassim. Ruslan is now a leading light of the extreme nationalist Malay ‘supremacist’ group Perkasa, known for its disruptive and divisive activities on the ground.
Najib has always indicated he does not support the party, which has nevertheless been whipping up Malay nationalism against opposition parties associated with tolerance towards minority groups. Perhaps he can explain these payments also?
Friday 26 May 2017
26 May 2017
Source: More Najib Handouts!, Malaysian InsightLike brothers, Prime Minister Najib Razak praised his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for his undying loyalty to Umno and the BN government.Announcing a RM5 million fund for the Tun Abdullah Badawi Legacy Organisation, Najib said Abdullah was a great national icon. “I appreciate Pak Lah’s loyalty all this while. Even after all that had happened, he continued to give his support, standing by me, the government, Umno and BN. “He never betrayed the party, let alone leave this beloved party,” he said.Najib then said he did not come empty handed. “I am announcing a RM5 million fund for Pak Lah’s legacy. “The money will be given this year. If we have funds next year, we will give more,” he said in his speech at the opening of the Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Lecture in Putrajaya. Najib also expressed his gratitude to Abdullah for voluntarily ceding the post of Umno president to himself, paving the way to Putrajaya.
For a Finance Minister Najib Razak clearly has no idea whatsoever what constitutes an appropriate payment.
So, it’s fine to hand out money to his “brother” and the guy who handed him his present job.
Might Malaysian’s be allowed to ask where Najib got the money from this time? Is it RM5 million grabbed from 1MDB or from some other public fund raided by Najib?
Or has he just raided the Ministery of Finance?
What is this money to be spent on that it is justified for a Prime Minister to just hand it over to his old political chum…?
Thursday 25 May 2017
25 May 2017
Sarawak Report now has comprehensive figures, showing exactly how Prime Minister Najib Razak distributed the money he stole from the 1MDB Development Fund during the period of the last 2013 election.
Apart from tens of millions spent on luxury goods, jewellery shops, motor-car retailers and the odd handout to family members, associates and consultants, the majority of the spending went on UMNO and its political allies.
The handouts total over RM600 million, which Najib himself dished over in a series of more than 130 cheques signed out of the accounts into which he had been ploughing 1MDB money since 2011. The majority of these cheques went to divisions of UMNO in the days immediately running up to the election and it is believed that the Prime Minister was attempting to buy personal loyalty through handing out the money himself.
Our data, obtained from the task force investigations, shows the transaction dates on those cheques, the amount and the recipients. It also shows the accounts from which the money came and all have been established as being in the name of Najib himself, funded by money traced to 1MDB. In particular, AmBank account number 211 202 2009694 was the account that received US$681 million from Tanore Finance Corporation in March 2013 – money identified as having come from 1MDB by the US Dept of Justice:
The pre-election cash bonanzas included a RM100,000,000 cheque handed to ‘Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Malaya Bersatu (UMNO)’ 11th April 2013 a week after the election had been announced. On 22nd April UMNO Malaysia again received two further cheques of RM50 million each.
Individual cheques were also handed out to all UMNO and related BN divisions, for example Badan Perhubungan UMNO Negeri Pahang received RM15 million on 18th April and the following day, April 19th, UMNO Penang received RM5 million. Kelantan division received RM5 million on 10th April.
Amongst the many other similar payments was RM5 million both the UMNO state party of Kedah and the MCA Selangor Liason Committee on 8th April and RM20 million to UMNO Selangor on April 24th. UMNO Perak received its handout on April 29th of RM25 million with another five million each going to UMNO Selangor and the MCA Selangor Liason Committee again the following day. Also on 30th April Johor UMNO received RM25 million, less than a week before the election.
The UMNO womens’ divisions also received significant pay outs, signifying the party’s appreciation of the importance of ‘winning’ the female vote: Pergerakan Puteri UMNO Malaysia received a RM5 million cheque 27th February and Pergerakan Wanita UMNO Selangor RM1.1 million 22nd March and Wanita Barisan Nasional Selangor RM1 million on 17th May.
Allied parties also received big money, for example the Liberal Democratic Party received RM1 million 5th April, the Malaysian Indian Congress received RM10 million on the 18th April and a further RM5 million 26th April. SUPP received RM2 million 20th March. The previous year UPCO had received RM2 million, indeed over the election huge sums were dished out to Sabah and particularly Sarawak (of which more later).
Since all this money came from stolen public funds, borrowed at punishing rates of interest under false pretenses, the ultimate cost to the Malaysian taxpayer will be at least double the sums handed out in this exercise to buy votes for the ruling party, who was abusing its position in such a spectacular fashion.
Furthermore, as Najib was operating a secret slush fund, which his Deputy Muhyiddin and others who were senior in the party at the time say they were entirely unaware of, there appears to be no official record relating to who received and handled the money and what it was actually spent on. Clearly, these staggering sums were distributed over and above UMNO’s official party funds for the election.
Najib has attempted to legitimise this money by claiming that it was all donated to him personally by an anonymous Saudi royal, in order to make sure he could ‘win’ the election in order to promote ‘moderate Islam’. ‘Moderate Islam’ is not generally regarded as the Saudi trademark, yet an even more absurd excuse was then spun in the western media (BBC and Telegraph) claiming that the money was focused on ‘projects’ in Sarawak ‘to prevent the uptake of Islamic extremism’ in the majority Christian state.
The fact that such levels of expenditures and foreign interference is plainly illegal appears a lesser evil to the Prime Minister, rather than admitting that the money was stolen from 1MDB. However, money trails released by the US Dept of Justice demonstrate that this was where the money came from.
How could they spend the money?
The major part of these sums was handed out in the form of cheques during the closing days of the election campaign. Between April 8th and the election 5th May around RM400 million was signed out. The question therefore has to be asked what was the money actually for?
There are limited ways in which local political parties might be able to spend such vast quantities of last minute cash. It appears the party received this last minute injection therefore just in the final closing hours of the campaign.
Advertising is not really an issue for BN, since they control the entire state and private mainstream media, which acts as an obedient propaganda tool for the party in return for their privileges and licences. Given the lack of records it would also appear impossible to prove how much of the money reached its intended purpose, as opposed to buying the loyalty of the trusted intermediaries who handled it. So, what was this money for?
One obvious allegation that begs investigation is vote buying.
Anecdotes abound, backed by solid photographic evidence in some cases, of cash being handed out to voters outside polling booths by UMNO workers, who were clearly distinguishable by their flags and logos. Despite numerous complaints the courts have refused to entertain a single case and the Election Commission also has refused to acknowledge or tackle Malaysia’s problem with blatant ‘money politics’.
People are entitled to assume that a man who is willing to raid his country’s development fund, as well as the civil servant pension fund, the prilgims’ fund, the farmers’ fund and doubtless other sources of public money, is unlikely to hesitate to attempt to bribe voters with a little of that money back in the form of payment for votes.
If the Prime Minister has another explanation for these last minute cheques, Sarawak Report would be happy to publish it. His PR man Paul Stadlen has our email.