Thursday, July 21, 2016

Why we shouldn't be losing too much sleep over the US Justice Department's 1MDB announcement

"... the Prime Minister has always maintained, if any wrongdoing is proven, the law will be enforced without exception.” - Najib Razak's press secretary, in his response to the US Department of Justice's 1MDB announcement

Puchong, 21 July: Some people must have stayed up all night to celebrate their "victory" over Prime Minister Najib Razak after the US Department of Justice announcement on 1MDB last night. I don't know if they rejoice prematurely but I know that these people will be rolling-on-the-ground unhappy if Najib is NOT found guilty by America of the crimes THEY (these rejoicing people) have accused him of committing! Already, they are whining the fact that the US DoJ has failed to name Najib Razak specifically in its damning 136-page report. How sweet it would have been if the DoJ had spelled out Najib's name. Well, I don't understand that bit, either, but that's the fact of the matter that we must remember: Najib's name is not there. 

The name of his stepson, Reza Aziz, is. Well, if one's hand was in the cookie jar, one has got to pay. Without exception, as the PM has said.

The people at 1MDB, obviously, had to sacrifice some sleep last night to respond to the situation. So did the PM's press secretary and the Communications Minister Salleh Said Keruak. [Read 1MDB, the government will cooperate with US Department of Justice, the Mole]. 

"1MDB highlights that it is not a party to the civil suit, does not have any assets in the United States of America, nor has it benefitted from the various transactions described in the civil suit. Furthermore, 1MDB has not been contacted by the US Department of Justice or any other foreign agency in relation to their investigations". - exceprts of 1MDB's official response to the DoJ

We can expect the people who rejoice to manipulate the DoJ's statement for some political gain. YB Tony Pua has already started his campaign on Twitter. The aim is to make as many people as possible to believe in what the DoJ DID NOT say ...

Not all armchair critics think Najib should be losing too much sleep over the DoJ's move, though. 

I could write a six hundred word blog before getting to the point here, but I will get right to it: The 1MDB asset seizure is likely to have minimal impact on Malaysian domestic politics. To recap … the U.S. Justice Department this morning announced it was filing “civil-forfeiture complaints against more than $1 billion of assets allegedly acquired using funds misappropriated from a Malaysian economic development fund,” known as 1MDB, according to the Wall Street Journal, which has extensively covered the 1MDB saga. This is believed to be the largest asset seizure in U.S. history, and the Justice Department has targeted a wide range of purportedly 1MDB-related assets that were supposedly bought with misappropriated money from the state fund—classy art, a private jet, the rights to the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street,” luxury real estate in New York and Los Angeles, and more. It’s an impressive list of potential seizures, and an important case showing the power of the Justice Department’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. Expect authorities in other countries that are still investigating 1MDB, like Singapore and Switzerland, to eventually make other demands for asset recovery.
But as for the impact on domestic Malaysian politics? Don’t expect the case to lead the Malaysian government to fold, the way that investigations of FIFA triggered reforms in that institution. The impact on the administration of Najib Tun Razak will be virtually none. Yes, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a press conference today that, “Unfortunately and tragically, a number of corrupt officials treated this public trust as a personal bank account.” Yes, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is believed to be the “Malaysian Official 1,”—which the New York Times says is a “high-ranking government official who oversaw the fund and is a close relative of Mr. Aziz,” Najib’s stepson, who was one of the people served with complaints by the Justice Department. Yes, the perception within Malaysia (and probably globally) is that Najib played a central role in 1MDB’s funny business, his denials to the contrary. Yes, Najib is probably very unpopular with urban Malaysians, although no poll has been taken in recent months that quantifies his support—or lack thereof—in urban areas. Yes, Najib and his family are perceived by many Malaysians to live lavishly, with little evidence of where the money comes from.
But Najib also has proven a masterful and tough politician throughout the 1MDB scandal, and Malaysia’s opposition, which was close to winning parliament in 2013, has fallen apart even as the 1MDB investigations mushroom. Over the past two years, Najib has overseen a dramatic crackdown on civil society, forcing or prompting the closure of several independent media outlets, overseeing a suspicious sodomy case that put Anwar Ibrahim back in jail, and presiding over the arrests of many other civil society leaders on vague sedition charges. He has purged the governing coalition of opponents and stacked his cabinet and the Malaysian bureaucracy with loyalists. He has installed as his top deputy a man, Ahmad Zahid Hamdi, even less liked by both members of United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and younger Malaysians; his deputy serves basically as a kind of insurance against getting rid of Najib.
Meanwhile, the opposition coalition—if it can be called that now—has fragmented with Anwar in jail, the government cracking down on civil society, and fissures emerging among the parties that made up the 2013 coalition. It was always a coalition held together with scotch tape, but last year the Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), the Islamist party, left. It had long argued with other members of the coalition over social issues, including whether state and federal governments could implement Islamic law on a range of criminal issues. The new coalition that has emerged, which includes some small remnants of PAS, is weaker; it lost two by-elections to the ruling coalition in Selangor and Perak in June.
Anti-Najib politicians and civil society activists are in such disarray that some belatedly have come around to seeing former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as their champion. Mahathir, who is 91 and was hardly known for his democratic style as prime minister, has indeed been harshly critical of Najib for more than a year now, and has derided the prime minister over 1MDB. Now, Mahathir says he is forming a new party to reinvigorate Malaysian politics. He probably will populate with some leading critics who were fired from Najib’s cabinet and other senior levels of UMNO. It’s not likely to restore Malaysia’s opposition to the level of being able to challenge, nationwide, for control of parliament.
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  1. tak habis dgn kerja spin. berbaloi juga jika 'launching grant' d terima.

    don't play2 wth DOJ/FBI/CIA.

    I wonder how d other investigations r going d respond 2 these xpose'.

  2. Alyaniff12:39 pm about the corruption case of one Lim Guan Eng? why no mentioned in the article if I may ask?

  3. Wan Dee Bee12:41 pm

    HAHA rocky HAHAHA

    Did u sleep well with all the whatsapp messages u get from your fellow conniving brown nosers? U mustn't comment about this because u haven't mastered and understand the document. U haven't read the document from front to back before u wrote this mindboggling blogpost of yours. The music has finished. Why find yourself at the wrong side of the fence?

  4. xnakdedak12:52 pm


    You haven't read the 136-page report, have you Latuk?

    Well, Mr "it Wasn't Bullshit, It Was A Saudi Donation", and "the SWIFT Code proves the transfer is fake", guess what?

    You should.

    "Well, if one's hand was in the cookie jar, one has got to pay. Without exception, as the PM has said." Yeah, your master's hand is in the cookie jar to the tune of the 700 million USD that this report confirms went from 1MDB to his AmBank account.

    Oh, Latuk, Latuk.

    A shameless rat on a sinking ship.

    You're truly a shining light of the journalistic profession.

    The rakyat thank you profusely.

  5. drMpower12:54 pm

    These man are thick skinned. Most politicians are.
    They will just do stupid and mum. Thats about it.

    Name isnt mentioned? Jesus christ this is like kids fight
    Just look at Table 2 and the following para 102. Of course there is no name,
    But thanks to apandi, the whole world know who is Malaysian Official 1

    But you are right on one thing. Nothing will ever give impact to politic scene over here
    Because they are all very thick skinned. Just continue do stupid and keep mum
    After all, all are ready for actions.

  6. Wonder who is this Joshua Kurlantzick.

    I doubt that PM and his family did not lose much sleep over this DOJ announcement.

    I hope Obama or maybe Trump would not hold any incriminating evidence to squeezes Najib's balls to their whims and fancies.

    You know la, that hostility in South China Seas.

    Anywhere China had disputes or engaged in hostility, over anything with its neigbours, it must be with staunch allies of the US, most of them with Naval or Military Bases/attachments on their land.

    But ours boys manning Terumbu Layang-Layang have never been provoke in anyway, most probably because we are not aligned to any super-power.

    But that would not last long, I think. Therefore, it would not be a surprise if Malaysia's Najib is intimidate to host another US Military + Naval Base, most probably in Sabah, if things gets rowdy in the Spratlys.

  7. xnakdedak1:20 pm

    "BERN: Swiss prosecutors on Wednesday said they were helping their counterparts in the United States in an investigation into cash allegedly stolen from the Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB.

    The Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) gave the update after the US Department of Justice said it had filed civil lawsuits to seize assets worth more than $1 billion, allegedly stolen from the fund.

    The Swiss OAG on Wednesday said it took note of the announcement by US Attorney General Loretta Lynch earlier on Wednesday about an “international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated from 1MDB.”

    “The OAG confirms that a US mutual legal assistance request is being currently executed,” the OAG said in a statement.

    “In the frame of its current criminal proceeding, the OAG has also sent mutual legal assistance requests to different countries, including the USA,” it added."

    "Komplot Yahudi", bro.

    Come on, bro.

    You know you want to.

    Soon, it will be all you have left.

  8. xnakdedak1:43 pm

    This is not the end. The US government is continuing its criminal investigations into money-laundering, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice.

    I am sure that there will be criminal indictments in the future against specific individuals, starting with “Aziz” and “Jho Low.”
    For certain, “Malaysian Official 1” will be named an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the future. But once he leaves office, he might be indicted in a US court.

    The other foreign governments around the world that are investigating the 1MDB corruption will now feel “invigorated” and will step up their own investigations. More charges, in more countries, are to come.

    As for Najib, he is now facing the full force of the FBI and the US Department of Justice. They cannot be intimidated. They cannot be arrested. They cannot be charged with sedition. They cannot be bullied.

  9. Capcha1:59 pm

    On the Singapore Straits Times website ( just now: "S'pore seizes $240m in assets in 1MDB probe, half from Malaysian financier Jho Low and family".

    Guess that the probe in Singapore is moving forward.

  10. Rocky, time to bermunasabah bro!;-)

  11. xnakdedak4:34 pm

    Although the details of the lawsuit points that Malaysian Official 1 is a relative of Rosmah's son Riza Shahriz bin Abdul Aziz, it cannot possibly be the Malaysian Prime Minister's wife simply because she is not a high-ranking official in the Malaysian Government who held a position of authority with 1MDB, although one cannot be blamed for assuming she had vast, unofficial high-ranking authority.

    Malaysian Official 1 cannot be Rosmah because she is also not a public servant as spelled out under Section 21 of the Malaysian Penal Code.

    So who is Malaysian Official 1 named in the US Justice Department lawsuit as a beneficiary of billion of ringgit of misappropriated money from 1MDB ?

    Can you investigate for us, Latuk?

  12. Rocky, I can assure you that no one in Malaysia is losing sleep over this news -- except for those named, and also the family members of those named.

  13. IT.Scheiss8:18 am

    Yes. Nowhere in the US Attorney General's statement or those of the others did they name Najib and unless and until they eventually do, he's out of the picture.

    This four part video says a lot about the 1MDB investigations in the US but does not name Najib. It only leaves room for speculation that "Malaysian Official No 1" is Najib.

  14. Yeh, only 1 BILLION worth of assets lost so no need to loose
    much sleep over it. Najib still got 10 or 20 billions in his
    pocket all over the world. Only now he cannot transfer the
    monies to his account, so u won't be getting muchlah rocky.
    So, no need to lose your sleep yet.

  15. Victory? This is an insult to the country.
    How on earth this happen in Malaysia?
    Incompetent PM handling this sordid affairs and bringing shame to this beloved country.

  16. Started to loose sleep already? Comments not uploaded

  17. xnakdedak4:19 pm




    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, the company which passed on the cash, 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.


  18. Mazlan12:23 am

    Rocky - have you read the report in full.
    If you had - then you can quite clearly see the documentary evidence that is the basis of this action and the fact that is ongoing and a prelude to criminal action.
    The report has emails and bank transactions and fund transfers that clearly show that 1MDB funds were moved to companies under Jho low and Reza Aziz and that those funds were subsequently sued for personal enrichment.
    The US AG was unequivocal in her press statement in saying that 1MDB funds were laundered and corruptly used for personal gain by officials of 1MDB as well as personalities who had business relations with 1MDB.
    You can spin this any way you like - but the hard documents and timelines are clearly spelt out in the report.

  19. Dear Mazlan,
    I am sure you know, being smart as you seemingly are, that you can't be the only one who have read the report. And the fact is, the civil suit will go to court if JL and RA contest the US AG's "unequivocal" remarks because unequivocal remarks, my friend, don't make you guilty of any charge.
    If JL and RA don't contest, now that would be interesting. And that should be your angle lah...

  20. Mazlan12:51 pm

    Rocky - please don't call me smart. I have a long way to go before I can be considered smart. Indeed - you are right; the assets being forfeited are being in held in 'trust' by the US DoJ and will return to Malaysia should 1MDB or MoF request their return after all due legal process is undertaken. Thus we wait and see if JL and RA do contest the filing. I expect the US DoJ want them to contest as that would in turn trigger criminal proceedings.
    I also think the announcement by Deloittes today regarding their resignation and their withdrawal of support for the 2013/2014 audited accounts to be shocking as well. When 1 MDB has had 3 different big 4 auditing firms in 5 years that is not good news.
    My only other point is that I feel for Arul is that he is having to clean up a mess of other people's doing especially former CEO Shahrul. Even the PAC highlighted actions undertaken by the former CEO that contravened corporate governance. And yet Shahrul walks away without any reprimand or action taken against him What gives?