BREAKING OVERNIGHT – MORE TO COME
It took a year in coming, but now that the United States Department of Justice indictment on 1MDB has been laid before the courts its impact can only be described as earth-shattering for Malaysia – and utter vindication for Sarawak Report.
The joint investigation by the ‘Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Unit’ together with the FBI was personally presented at a Press Conference by the US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who described the investigation into 1MDB as the “largest single action ever by the Kleptocracy Asset Initiative” and a “significant step in our ongoing work to combat global corruption and to ensure that the United States offers no safe haven to those who illegally use public funds for private gain“
The indictment accuses Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak directly of having received hundreds of millions of dollars stolen from 1MDB into his private account.
And in a broad sweep of over a billion dollars worth of confiscated assets are included all the receipts from his step-son’s film Wolf of Wall Street, along with a string of properties and possessions held by Riza Aziz, Jho Low and their accomplice Khadem Al Qubaisi in the United States.
“Corrupt officials transferred money using a series of transactions involving more shell companies and bank accounts located all over the globe. Eventually more than $230 million of that found found its way in the account of shell companies whose beneficial owner was a close relative of a senior 1MDB official and that individual used money to buy luxury real estate in the United States and other assets and also used that money to fund a motion picture company called Red Granite Pictures who in turn used more than $100 million to finance the award-winning film The Wolf of Wall Street. Of course, neither 1MDB nor the Malaysian people saw a penny of profit from that film or the other assets purchased with funds siphoned from 1MDB. Instead that money went to associates of the corrupt officials at 1MDB and others” added Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell in a follow up speech, in a clear reference to Najib and his step-son Riza Aziz.
Altogether, the indictment says, the Prime Minister’s agent Jho Low “laundered” approximately $368 million of 1MDB’s funds through the United States, through the assets it has now frozen.
“The $1 billion in assets that we’re discussing today are just a portion of the more than $3 billion that was stolen from 1MDB and laundered through American institutions in violation of the law. 1MDB was created to promote economic development… unfortunately and tragically a number of corrupt officials treated this public trust as a personal bank account”
says the US Attorney General – and there is no mistaking from this indictment that she is referring above all to Malaysia’s Prime Minister himself.
The FBI provides for the first time devastating and damning evidence of the purpose of the 1MDB thefts, which was to pass money to the man in charge who was Najib Razak.
The indictment (available in full at the base of this article) describes the PM as ‘Malaysian Public Official Number 1′:
From the very start the accusation is made that money was stolen from 1MDB, using several schemes and phases, listed as the 1) The Good Star Phase 2) The Aabar/BVI Phase and 3) The Tanore Phase.
Dealing with the Good Star Phase and PetroSaudi the indictment makes immediately clear that the claims by 1MDB and oil firm PetroSaudi that Good Star belonged to the latter were lies – The Feds confirm that the firm belongs to Jho Low, who siphoned first US$700 million out of the joint venture and later US$330 million, all under false pretences.
The DOJ continues to lay out the direct and complicit role of PetroSaudi and its co-founding Prince Turki bin Abdullah in funnelling the stolen cash straight on to Najib. At last the role of the so-called ‘donor’ is laid bare. Several transactions involving the money stolen via Good Star, show that it was then sent to Turki, who sent it on to the Malaysian Prime Minister:
“Between February and June of 2011, approximately $24,500,000 of these funds was transferred into an account at Riyad Bank maintained in the name of a Saudi prince who, together with the PetroSaudi CEO, co-founded PetroSaudi. From those funds, $20,000,000 was then transferred, within days, to an account belonging to Malaysian Official 1″
Lest there should be any doubt about the source of the funds and identity of Najib’s ‘Saudi Royal Donor’ this citation immediately carries on to make a deadly point. The account to which the Good Star money was sent was the very same AMPrivate Bank account belonging to Najib, which was later to receive the $681 million dollars from Tanore Finance Corporation, allegedly as a Saudi royal donation!
This is an indictment that could never be accused of mincing its words and this is what the United States prosecutors have to say when they turn next to Najib’s 1MDB fixer, Jho Low:
“Low laundered hundreds of millions of dollars in proceeds from the foregoing unlawful activity into the United States for the personal benefit of himself and his associates…..
Between approximately October 21, 2009, and October 13, 2010, eleven wires totalling approximately $368 million were sent from the Good Star Account to an Interest on Lawyer Account held by the law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP in the United States
More particularly, bank records show the following credits to the Shearman IOLA Account from the Good Star Account:
The figures show that the first $148 million in stolen money were transferred into Jho Low’s US accounts on 21st October 2009, just a couple of weeks after the $700 million was channelled out of 1MDB into his Good Star account in Zurich.
By this time, as Sarawak Report has noted, the young huckster was on a bender in Vegas, where work colleague Seet Li Lin boasted on Facebook that it was “raining Crystal” (champagne). The indictment complains that much of the cash from 1MDB was indeed wasted in Vegas on gambling and entertainment by these thieves working for the Malaysian Official 1.
The money transferred was then used by Low, says the indictment to “purchase assets and invest in business interests for their personal benefit, including, but not limited to, luxury real estate, a Beverly Hills hotel, a private jet, and a major Hollywood motion picture“.
There is no doubt that the picture referred to is The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Jho Low’s party pal Leo Di Caprio, which features first on the list of assets that the United States Government wishes to confiscate.
The lavish and extravagant spending explains the numerous instances cited already by Sarawak Report of astonishing spending in Vegas nightclubs, on yachts …. and on jewellery bought at Hong Kong’s Rose Trading on behalf of Rosmah Mansor:
“…between October 2009 and October 2010, misappropriated 1MDB funds sent from the Good Star Account into the Shearman IOLA Account were transferred as follows: (i) approximately $12,000,000 in wires to Caesars Palace, a Las Vegas casino; (ii) approximately $13,400,000 in wires to the Las Vegas Sands Corp., the owner of the Venetian Las Vegas, another casino; (iii) a wire for approximately $11,000,000 to “Eric” TAN Kim Loong, an associate of LOW; (iv) approximately $4,000,000 in wires to Jet Logic Ltd., a luxury jet rental service; (v) a wire for approximately $3,500,000 to LOW’s sister; (vi) a wire for approximately $3,080,000 to Rose Trading, a Hong Kong jeweler; (vii) approximately $2,698,000 in wires to Yachtzoo, a luxury yacht rental service; (viii) approximately $2,288,000 in wires to Argent Design Ltd., a United Kingdom-based interior designer; (ix) a wire for approximately $670,000 to Excel Air, a jet rental company; (x) approximately $460,000 in wires to Skyline Private Air, an aircraft rental company; and (xi) a wire for approximately $155,000 to Billiyon Air, a jet rental company.”
Separately, as recorded also by Sarawak Report, huge sums were also sent from Good Star to the ADMIC account in Singapore, also owned by Jho Low:
“Over the course of five wire transfers between June 28, 2011, and September 4, 2013 approximately $389 million was transferred from the Good Star Account to an account at BSI Bank in Singapore held in the name of Abu Dhabi Kuwait Malaysia Investment Corp. (“ADKMIC BSI Account”). LOW is the beneficial owner of the ADKMIC BSI Account.”
Confirms the indictment. This money was also used by Low to acquire business and other assets in the US.
The DOJ then goes on to deal with what it describes as the second major phase of the kleptocracy scam, plainly orchestrated by the one man still in charge throughout, PM Najib Razak. Again, all Sarawak Report’s months of breaking stories and reporting on Aabar and its Chairman Khadem Al Qubaisi (for which we were banned in Malaysia) is vindicated by this indictment by the United States Department of Justice $1.367 billion was stolen it is confirmed.
more to come….