PJ, 16 June: It's been a year since the US Department of Justice made that explosive lawsuit announcement involving 1MDB. Since then, the Americans have elected a new President, Dr Mahathir Mohamad has confirmed his desire to be Prime Minister of Malaysia once again, and the DOJ's lawsuit hasn't moved an inch. The department's latest "action" has similar elements and juicy bits that featured in its "action" of last July's. So why aren't Malaysians not debating it like they did last July? I belong to several dozens of WhatsApp groups but only one is discussing the DOJ's action and by "discussing" I mean one individual has been providing all the links to DOJ news that might be spun against PM Najib Razak. Does that mean we are immune to news involving alleged corruption and stealing of billions from our coffers?
Or are Malaysians generally not buying what the DOJ's claiming, especially since nothing has come out of their last action?
This time around, what's different is the response by the Malaysian authorities. The Attorney-General Chamber was lightning quick with his response Nothing new, no evidence, Apandi dismisses DOJ's latest suit. The Prime Minister's Office has also slammed DOJ's unproven allegations and suggested that there may be ulterior motives involved.
Even Jho Lo is challenging the DOJ to prove its claims in the court of law!
Tweet attributed to Jho Low slams latest DoJ action
PETALING JAYA: Penang-born tycoon Low Taek Jho has reportedly responded to the US Justice Department’s (DoJ) move to seize another US$540 million in assets purportedly stolen from 1MDB and used to fund extravagant spending.
In a tweet attributed to Low and shared by Wall Street Journal reporter Bradley Hope, the tycoon, popularly known as Jho Low, reportedly slammed the DoJ, saying it had not proven that any improprieties had occurred.
“The US Department of Justice’s latest move continues its inappropriate efforts to seize assets despite not having proven that any improprieties have occurred.
“This week’s activity from the DoJ is a further example of global overreach in pursuit of a deeply flawed case.
“We look forward to the court being presented with the actual facts which demonstrate that the DoJ’s case is completely without foundation,” the tweet read.
Hope, who shared the tweet today, said it was Low’s first statement in over two years.
“Jho Low’s first statement in more than two years, following DoJ’s new suits against his assets incl. $250m yacht #1MDB #Malaysia,” he said on his Twitter account.
Low has, in the past, denied any wrongdoing.
The DoJ’s latest move follows court cases launched last year in which Washington sought to confiscate more than US$1 billion allegedly embezzled by businessmen with political connections in Malaysia, bringing the total amount US officials say was stolen to US$4.5 billion.
The items cited in the new suit as subject to seizure include a Park Avenue condominium, diamond jewellery, shares of fitness club operator Fly Wheel Sports Inc, a painting by Pablo Picasso titled “Nature Morte au Crane de Taureau” and rights to the 2014 film “Dumb and Dumber To”.
The government also wants to seize a luxury yacht, the Equanimity.
Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali dismissed the suit, saying the DoJ had yet to provide any evidence of misappropriated funds from 1MDB.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), meanwhile, suggested that the allegations were aimed at smearing certain individuals and had arisen from input by political opponents.
In a press statement today, the prime minister’s press secretary Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad said: “We are also concerned by the unnecessary and gratuitous naming of certain matters and individuals that are only relevant to domestic political manipulation and interference. This suggests a motivation that goes beyond the objective of seizing assets.”
A CRIME WITHOUT A VICTIM?
The 1MDB issued a statement that basically says it is not a party to the DOJ's latest civil suit. Read 1MDB; No contact made by the US DOJ. The irony is this: it was the DOJ that made out 1MDB as the victim of the crime that has formed the basic of its lawsuit in July last year and the latest one.