Monday, July 06, 2015

Nazri says don't sue WSJ ... ONLY

A lot of Malaysians want their PM to sue WSJ and clear his name but even our mainstream dailies don't really know if Najib Razak will or won't sue [May Sue. Set to Sue. Will Sue. Tales of 3 dailies by Annie]. 

Against the flow,  Nazri Aziz reportedly said I will tell Najib not to sue WSJ (The Star, 5 July). For that he's been getting a lot of flak on the social media.

But people should read the whole story not just the headlines. 

What the Chief was quoted as saying:

1.“If Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak takes action only against WSJ, it looks like he is being selective ... The Prime Minister must be consistent. You must be consistent… You must sue all the parties,” Nazri said.  
 2. "If they (WSJ) have given it (the alleged documents) to the taskforce, then there is no need for the PM to sue them ... Just allow the taskforce to complete their work and investigation, and we can take it from there..".

I hope Najib listens to Nazri's advise: don't just sue the WSJ only. But sue it first.

What other bloggers say:
Get Them, Najib. - Bujai

Sunday, July 05, 2015

MALAYSIA EXCLUSVE!!! How PGI track down Justo and blow the lid off Sarawak Report

original posting
Lord: "Responsible media outlets check their sources ..."

While we wait for Prime Minister Najib Razak to send the Letter of Demand to WSJ over money from 1MDB in his personal accounts, find out how a London-based group of cyber security experts with 20 years of experience and over a thousand forensic cases to their names painstakingly tracked down Xavier Justo and the Sarawak Report and the trail of "tampered" emails and "faked" documents used against thier client [not 1MDB or Najib].

PETALING JAYA, July 5 — Protection Group International (PGI) managing director Brian Lord said Sarawak Report’s information on the alleged impropriety in PetroSaudi International Ltd’s aborted joint venture with 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was “inconsistent” and “unreliable”.
Speaking to Malay Mail, he said there were inconsistencies between the original information and what was published by the blog. He also revealed the cyber security firm was hired by PetroSaudi to investigate the source of the data published online and verify its authenticity.
“When one does the compare and contrast of the data in the systems with the one in Sarawak Report, there are inconsistencies,” Lord said.
He said if an individual believes a wrongdoing had occured, he could report the matter to the authorities in Malaysia, Switzerland or United Kingdom or take it to an established media.
“But he (arrested Swiss national Xavier Justo) didn’t do that.
“Having gone through the process of trying to extort money from the former employer with threats to leak the data and being refused, he (Justo) could have still gone to the authorities had there been any wrong doing. But he chose to go to Sarawak Report.
“I am not making any comment on the political persuasion of Sarawak Report but he chose to take it to that kind of blog site. So even before we move on to the forensics, any information that he presented to the public after that process has to be treated with a huge amount of caution,” said Lord who has more than 20 years experience in cyber security.
Lord added investigations by PGI revealed Sarawak Report had a “subtract of some emails chain and some documentation”. He, however, stopped short of divulging the contents of the emails and data Sarawak Report received.
“It is a combination of all those three things; inconsistency between the original and published reports, substitutable communication and the whole private information claim into Sarawak Report … I can firmly say the information is unreliable and, therefore, it is unfair for anybody to draw judgments on it.”
Justo, a former PetroSaudi executive, was arrested in Thailand last month after he was alleged to have leaked information to Sarawak Report. He was being investigated for extortion and blackmailing his former employer.
Justo had allegedly attempted to blackmail and extort as much as 2.5 million Swiss Francs (RM10 million) from PetroSaudi  two years after he was dismissed from the company. He also allegedly threatened to release confidential business information, purportedly stolen from the company, if his demands were not met.
Following the attempted blackmail, various emails and documents were published by Sarawak Report, sparking criticism against 1MDB.
According to Lord, investigations into the case were led by two analysts who between them had worked on at least 1,000 forensic cases.
“These are people who are highly-regarded specialist in what they do. They have investigated all types of cases involving all types of background. When it comes to the validity and velocity of the company, they have vast experience,” he said.
In stressing the firm’s independence, Lord said investigations were conducted in a controlled environment with no access granted to anyone outside of the forensic investigators, with devices obtained from those involved kept in a forensic laboratory.
“Nobody else, including the client, has access to the laboratory where the investigations are conducted. It is key for the investigations to be uncontaminated. In this particular case, we still have the devices under our custody until every line of investigation related to this has ended.”
He said the forensic analysis into this case could take up to six months.
“That leads back to the point of depending on what level of granularity the process requires and whether that is inclined to a subsequent legal process. That leads to a point where there are things that we can say and can’t,” he added.
On a company spokesman quoted by an English daily
“Clients want a clear, unambiguous and unbiased view of what the investigations will show. We are obliged to adhere to certain standards on how we operate. Forensics investigations can take a long time depending on what level of information is required. At that point thereof, where there is a complete lack of clarity over things, that requires a public statement. But we will only make statements which we are sure we can validate. In forensics investigations, there are points that can be established quite quickly and there are things that require more time to go into deeper analysis. But there are certain points throughout the investigation where things will become clear and if it does help clarify the situation, particularly in the case like this where a lot of it is being played up in public domain, sometimes it (a statement) can be helpful for both parties.”
On the implication of such articles
“Responsible media outlets such as newspapers check their sources, the validity of such sources and information as well as the motive of the sources before an editorial decision is made to publish. That is a sensible, matured decision. If a blogging site is considered as an independent voice, then it has to do the same thing and if it chooses to just publish random information obtained, then it has no right to be taken seriously. I support the Sarawak Report’s right to publish whatever political opinion they have … people have different opinions, but the point remains how seriously would it take itself if it gets hold of data obtained inappropriately and chooses to publish it in that way, editorialising it to meet political ends. Freedom of speech comes with responsibility.”

- See more HERE

p.s. In Malaysia, allegations against 1MDB implicating PGI's client PetroSaudi could have started with a police report lodged by an Umno leader in Penang, Khairuddin Hassan, wefied here with Clare Rewcastle Brown, the founder of Sarawak Report, in London recently. Source LSS FB.

Was Din relying on SR's docs when he lodged the report?

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Bad PR to sue Wall Street Journal? [With updates and more updates]

More updates: All eyes on AG Gani Patail

The Attorney-General has issued the following press statement which in a nutshell says that a special task force comprising the Police, Anti-Corruption Commission and the Central Bank has started investigation into the allegations made by WSJ and that raids on the companies mentioned in the article had been carried out and relevant documents seized.

Read my lips: S.U.E!
Updated: The Deputy Prime Minister has issued a statement expressing his utmost concern over the allegations made by WSJ, which he described as severe. While he welcomed Najib's earlier statement denying the allegations, Muhyiddin Yassin said the MACC, the Police and relevant authorities must begin their investigations in earnest. He also said Najib should sue to clear his name.

Abang Din ended his statement asking all Malaysians to pray for the truth to prevail. Amiin.

Read Muhyiddin's FULL STATEMENT h e r e.

Original article:
THE Malaysian Insider is clearly advocating that Najib Razak does not sue Wall Street Journal for defamation. And there I was thinking that the majority of right thinking Malaysians, including most of my commenters/Readers, wanted the PM to fend off the increasingly blatant attacks and take out lawsuits to defend his reputation and that of this country's highest office.  
I attach herewith the TMI piece. All the lawyers TMI spoke seem to agree that Najib Razak should instead give his side of the story so as to clarify WSJ's account. In short: Engage. And if he has a case, he can then seek an apology from WSJ.  
My view is that the WSJ did not leave Najib much of a choice but to seek legal redress. The allegations against Najib in the article Investigators believe money flowed into Malaysian leader's accounts are done blatantly and are likely to make readers think that the PM is not just corrupt but very corrupt. 
Let me know what you think.
And is there no lawyer out there who thinks the PM would be doing the right thing by suing WSJ?

Suing WSJ a bad public relations move, say lawyers

BY V. ANBALAGAN, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITORPublished: 4 July 2015 9:23 AM  
Datuk Seri Najib Razak should proceed with caution following the decision to sue the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) for publishing a defamatory article claiming that billions were channelled into the prime minister’s personal accounts, civil lawyers said.
Thye said it would not be wise of the PM's ministers and his public relations consultants to demonise any media organisation to win in the "court of public opinion".They said Najib must first attempt to get his side of the issue published in the reputable newspaper or demand a retraction and public apology if the report was untrue, before seeking legal redress.
Lawyer Ang Hean Leng said Malaysian leaders like Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah had won suits against foreign publications for injuring his reputation in the Bumiputera Malaysia Finance Limited (BMF) scandal.
"Najib, too, could file a suit in Kuala Lumpur or the United States," he said.
However, should the prime minister file a suit outside Malaysia, he must submit to foreign jurisdiction.
Ang was commenting on investigations into debt-ridden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) which have allegedly uncovered billions of ringgit channelled to the personal accounts of the prime minister as published by the WSJ and whistle-blower site, Sarawak Report. 
Both quoted from documents from the 1MDB probe that is being carried out by the Malaysian government, with Sarawak Report claiming that the Attorney-General was also aware of the information.
The documents show that US$700 million (RM2.67 billion) was moved among government agencies, banks and entities linked to 1MDB and finally ending up in the prime minister's personal accounts in five separate deposits, WSJ said.
It said that the largest transactions were deposits of US$620 million and another one for US$61 million in March 2013, two months before the 13th general election.
However, Najib has denied using public funds in a Facebook posting. Today, a Malay daily reported that he would take legal action against WSJ.
Ang, however, said the media could use justification, fair reporting and qualified privilege as defences against defamation suits.
"The celebrated  British case of Reynolds v Times Newspaper Ltd, which is also adopted by Malaysian courts, established principles relating to responsible journalism  and offer protection to publishers from liability.”
He said the allegations were of great public interest case and the media could carry such news but they must act responsibly.
Ang said Najib could file his action in Kuala Lumpur because his reputation was tarnished more in Malaysia than anywhere else.
"Moreover, the report was published through the Internet and downloaded in Malaysia," he said, adding that a higher amount of damages could be awarded if he was successful in proving his case.
Lawyer S. N. Nair said as a politician, Najib's better option was to clarify the report with WSJ.
"I am sure the publisher will carry the prime minister's version in print or in its news portal in line with the principle of fair play.”
Nair said Najib could ask for a retraction of the report if it was false and demand a public apology.
“But even if the publisher makes an expression of regret, nothing stops Najib from filing a suit. Only that the damages awarded will be lower because the defendant has admitted to an error without delay," he said.
Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen, however, said it was pointless for Najib to resort to a suit because an explanation would suffice.
"Najib should use all medial channels, including the WSJ to convince the public that he has nothing to hide," he said.
Paulsen said it was a futile exercise to attack the media, especially reputable organisations as it was bad public relations."The report came out in WSJ and not a blog whose credibility and professionalism could be questioned.”
Paulsen said politicians like US president Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron were never in the business of suing the media for publishing public interest issues.
"At the end of the day, politicians live or fall based on public opinion about them. So it is better to engage the media." – July 4, 2015.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Najib promises "full force of the law" against latest "outrageous" allegations

3 July 2015

"In recent months, various allegations – all unsubstantiated, and many simply outrageous – have been directed against me and my family.‎

These attacks began when I refused to implement Tun Mahathir’s personal demands. I refused, because I do not believe it is right for Malaysia to be ruled by proxy.

Tun then created a crisis when he recklessly claimed that RM42 billion was missing from 1MDB, when in fact these are audited debts backed by RM51 billion audited assets.

The latest allegation is that I have taken state-linked funds for personal gain. I believe Tun, working hand in glove with foreign nationals, including the now discredited political attack blog Sarawak Report, is behind this latest lie.

Let me be very clear: I have never taken funds for personal gain as alleged by my political opponents – whether from 1MDB, SRC International or other entities, as these companies have confirmed.

 It is now clear that false allegations such as these are part of a concerted campaign of political sabotage to topple a democratically elected Prime Minister.

At no point have those making these allegations offered any evidence. All we have heard is that these allegations are based on leaked documents and unnamed investigators. Not once has the source of these documents ever been shown, neither have the documents themselves been provided for verification by lawful authorities.

As we now know, a number of the documents on which recent allegations have been based were reportedly doctored. The person who was leaking these documents is under investigation by authorities overseas for attempting to extort and blackmail his former employer. This says a lot about the reliability of the documents, and those who are using them to damage our government and our country.

Those who continue to mount these attacks should be prepared to face the consequences of their actions. These gutter tactics - in some cases criminal tactics - to overthrow the government will fail. Where appropriate, they will be met with the full force of the law.

It’s a shame that these false attacks motivated by self interest come at a time of unique opportunity for Malaysia – with our Chairmanship of ASEAN this year, and the prize of developed nation status around the corner. I will stay focused on the work of nation building for the people."