Saturday, January 30, 2016

SWISS GO NUCLEAR - AG SAYS "US$4 BILLION WAS MISAPPROPRIATED FROM 1MDB"

SWISS GO NUCLEAR - AG SAYS "US$4 BILLION WAS MISAPPROPRIATED FROM 1MDB"

SWISS GO NUCLEAR - AG SAYS "US$4 BILLION WAS MISAPPROPRIATED FROM 1MDB"

29 JAN 2016

No playing games - Swiss Attorney General Michael Laubersaid refuses to condone Apandi's whitewash attempt
No playing games – Swiss Attorney General Michael Laubersaid refuses to condone Apandi’s whitewash attempt
Well after normal office hours on Friday the Swiss Attorney General’s Office detonated the diplomatic equivalent of a nuclear bomb under the attempts by Najib and his own Attorney General to bury the scandal around 1MDB.
Responding to the Malaysian AG Mohammed Apandi’s surprise announcement this week that Najib had been “cleared” of any wrongdoing by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigation, the Swiss Attorney General Michael Laubersaid has issued a media statement of possibly unprecedented bluntness from the traditionally low-profile Swiss authorities.
The devastating one page document, delivered in the form of a public request for Malaysia to assist in Switzerland’s own criminal enquiries into 1MDB, has blown the whistle on the entire case and laid out in astonishing terms the key aspects of the Swiss investigation’s findings so far.
In doing so, the Swiss Attorney General has substantiated each of the major allegations published by Sarawak Report and other investigators into 1MDB over the past year, since the original details from the dossier of Swiss national Xavier Justo were first revealed by this news portal.

Detailed assault on Malaysia’s claims of innocence at 1MDB

Explaining his “request for mutual assistance” the Swiss AG has made several landmark revelations, confirming official concerns about corruption on an epic scale at 1MDB.
He has introduced a new figure of US$4 billion as the suspected amount that his officials believe has been criminally misappropriated from the fund. A sum, which, he points out, was “earmarked for investment in economic and social projects in Malaysia”.
“The sum suspected to have been misappropriated amounts to around USD 4 billion… So far it has been ascertained that a small portion of the money was transferred to accounts held in Switzerland by various former Malaysian public officials and both former and current public officials from the United Arabic Emirates” [press release by Swiss AG Michael Laubersaid]
In publishing this bold assertion the Swiss AG has shot out of the water months of twisting and turning by 1MDB and its new CEO Arul Kanda and his boss the Minister of Finance, as they have attempted to explain the billions missing from 1MDB.

All but named!

The Swiss AG does not mince his words in pointing the finger at those he believes to be responsible for the shocking misappropriation or the crimes for which he believes they should be prosecuted.
On the list of people identified as responsible are “foreign public officials” suspected of being bribed; “various former Malaysian public officials and both former and current public officials from the United Arabic Emirates”
He further reveals that “criminal proceedings opened on 14th August 2015 against two former officials of the Malaysian state-owned fund 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad) and persons unknown” under a series of Swiss laws, a proceeding which had not previously been publicised.
Sarawak Report suggests that the individuals referred to by the Swiss AG under these categories are likely to include the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Jho Low, the former CEO of 1MDB, Shahrol Halmi and the former Abu Dhabi Aabar fund managers, Khadem al Qubaisi and his deputy Mohamed al Husseiny.
The above men have all been featured as key players in Sarawak Report’s exposes on 1MDB. The crimes outlined by the Swiss Attorney General, of which they are together or separately suspected are  “bribery of foreign public officials; misconduct in public office; money laundering and criminal mismanagement”
The unrelenting and direct accusations by an objective foreign regulator leave the Malaysian Prime Minister’s claims that the allegations against 1MDB have been an “unnecessary distraction” in tatters.

Swiss are investigating all aspects of the 1MDB scandal

The AG’s statement also makes clear that, far from limiting their investigations, the Swiss have extended their criminal enquiries into all the main aspects of the 1MDB financial scandal, as covered in recent Sarawak Report exposes.  He mentions four main areas of shady operations, but indicates there may be more:
“So far four cases involving allegations of criminal conduct and covering the period from 2009 to 2013 have come to light in this connection (relating to Petrosaudi, SRC, Genting/ Tanjong and ADMIC”
The fact that Swiss banks were dragged into almost every aspect of 1MDB’s activities by the main perpetrators must indeed now stand as a point of considerable regret by them.
The issues referred to by Laubersaid include the original PetroSaudi heist of a total of US$1.5 billion, as well as the series of massive bond deals conducted together with Aabar in 2012, supposedly to fund two power plant purchase deals by 1MDB.  Huge sums were recorded missing from the Aabar deals as well as from a subsequent ‘Strategic Partnership” with Aabar in 2013.
The final referrence to ADMIC shows that the Swiss are also looking into the money that was transferred by Jho Low from his Good Star company account in Zurich to his BSI Singapore account held under the name of ADMIC (Abu Dabhi Malaysia Investment Corporation).

Banks in the spotlight

Other players, who are now faced with worrying questions to deal with in these investigations, are the major banks which facilitated these deals.
Leissner has bowed out of Goldman, just as the questions piled up
Leissner (with model wife) has  bowed out of GSI just as the questions piled up
The Swiss private banks RBS Coutts Zurich, JP Morgan Zurich, BSI, Falcon Bank, and Bank Privee Edmond de Rothschilde Europe are all facing questions about the hundreds of millions processed through the accounts of these public officials and politically exposed persons.
Also likely to be highly concerned is the American giant Goldman Sachs.  The main individual behind the 1MDB bond deals, their Singapore boss Tim Leissner was reported to have taken leave from the bank only last week.  Sarawak Report has reported for months on the eyebrow raising sums paid to the bank in return for unusual and enormous bond deals raised for 1MDB.

Malaysia is put on the spot

By going public in this brutal and highly unusual way, the Swiss have made plain they want no more nonsense from Najib or his henchmen like Apandi.
Laubersaid makes yet another revelation in his jaw-dropping press release, which is that the Malaysian AG had met with his officials in September and promised full cooperation.  That cooperation, he implies, is yet to be fulfilled on Apandi’s part:
“Cooperation between the two countries was already discussed at a meeting in Zurich on 15th September 2015 between the Swiss Attorney General and his Malaysian counterpart.  This request for mutual assistance now puts the agreement in principle that was reached into concrete terms”
It means, in short, that what Apandi has said to the Malaysian public is not what he was saying in private and that his claims of there being no evidence to pursue charges against 1MDB are nonsense in the eyes of his European counterpart.
This letter refers to a “systematic course of action by means of complex financial structures” by the alleged perpetrators of the crimes against 1MDB and Laubersaid makes clear his impatience with the fact that despite this looting of billions from Malaysia’s public companies “the Malaysian companies concerned have made no comment on the losses they are believed to have incurred”.
The Swiss authority ends on a conciliatory note, explaining that, given no Malaysian company has yet raised this issue of their massive losses, the Swiss are offering their assistance to “advise the companies and the Malaysian government of the results of the Swiss criminal proceedings with the aim of finding out whether losses on this scale have been sustained”.
Wall Street Journal
Before the release of their media statement the AG and his officials also gave spoken comments to the Wall Street Journal.  Laubersaid had told the WSJ:
“We are very concerned. We have found evidence of suspicious money transfers linked to 1MDB going through Swiss financial institutions, and we believe that it is very important that it is shared with the Malaysian authorities.”
It was just hours later that he moved to action, making what may become a historic step in the fight to combat global money-laundering.
This weekend the beleaguered voices from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Bank of Malaysia and those others from the world of politics who have protested against a year of 1MDB cover-ups have found a powerful new ally from the international financial stage.
The statement in full
The statement in full

See the WSJ article below

ZURICH—Swiss authorities on Friday said they were concerned Malaysia had ended its investigation into the transfer of nearly $700 million into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s private bank account, saying the move could hinder their own probe where “strong evidence” has been found.
“We are very concerned,” Swiss Attorney General Michael Laubersaid in a statement Friday to The Wall Street Journal. “We have found evidence of suspicious money transfers linked to 1MDB going through Swiss financial institutions, and we believe that it is very important that it is shared with the Malaysian authorities.”
Earlier this week, the attorney general’s office in Malaysia announced that the $681 million transferred in 2013 to Mr. Najib’s account was a legal donation from Saudi Arabia’s royal family, and cleared the prime minister of any wrongdoing. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said subsequently it would seek a review of that decision.
The Swiss Office of the Attorney General, or OAG, has raised concerns over the handling of the case, saying it believes evidence it has gathered and is due to send to Malaysia won’t be considered by its counterparts there.
“There appears to have been a sizable fraud taking place here, and we believe [the case] should not be allowed to drop like this,” said OAG spokesman Andre Marty. “Without assistance from Malaysia our investigation in Switzerland risks running into a dead-end.”
Swiss authorities have been investigatingindividuals tied to Malaysia’s 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, a public investment fund established by Mr. Najib in 2009 to encourage economic development in the country. The future of the Swiss 1MDB probe, which has found evidence of suspicious transactions made through Swiss banks, is now uncertain.
The Swiss OAG said Friday it was disappointed with the decision of the Malaysian authorities, especially after an agreement between the two countries’ attorneys general last year to support each other’s investigations.
Mr. Lauber said that “strong evidence” had been collected so far, without elaborating. Investigating cases of suspected financial wrongdoing is central the integrity of Switzerland’s financial center, he said. “In this fight we need reliable foreign counterparts.”
Following the announcement from Malaysian authorities on Tuesday, the Swiss attorney general’s office contacted the Malaysians directly and asked for mutual assistance between the agencies to continue, and for evidence unearthed by the Swiss to be considered.
So far Swiss authorities haven’t received a response from the Malaysian Attorney General’s Office. The office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
In July, The Wall Street Journal reported that an earlier Malaysian probe found that the nearly $700 million had entered Mr. Najib’s account through banks including a Singapore branch of Zurich-based Falcon Private Bank AG, as well as other companies and entities linked to 1MDB. Three financial institutions in Switzerland have been linked to the transfers.
In August, the Swiss attorney general’s office opened a criminal probe of two unidentified 1MDB executives and what it termed “persons unknown,” for suspected money laundering and the possible corruption of foreign officials. The following month, Swiss authorities said Malaysia’s attorney general had agreed to provide assistance by arranging for the interview of key witnesses.
Swiss authorities have also asked for information about money transfers, and account ownership details.
The Swiss have frozen tens of millions of dollars in assets at unspecified Swiss banks as part of their probe. The Journal has reported that the investigation has focused on transactions made using Falcon, which is owned by an Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund that has done business with 1MDB. Falcon hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing.
As part of its announcement earlier this week, the Malaysian attorney general’s office said evidence doesn’t show that the Saudi donation to Mr. Najib “was given as an inducement or reward for doing or forbearing to do anything in relation to his capacity as a prime minister.” All but $61 million of the money was eventually returned to the Saudis, Malaysian authorities said.
However, a Saudi government official said the Saudi ministries of foreign affairs and finance had no information about such a donation being made.
Meanwhile, the Swiss expect to make requests for information regarding their own investigation in the next few days.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Najib And Apandi Become Tangled In Their Own Tales

Najib And Apandi Become Tangled In Their Own Tales

Najib And Apandi Become Tangled In Their Own Tales

27 JAN 2016

Yesterday’s headlines of “Najib Cleared” have rapidly translated into guffaws and criticism from the global media, as contradictions and inconsistencies started to emerge from the statements put out by Malaysia’s PM and his own appointed Attorney General.
To start with, the impression Apandi gave at his press conference was that he was reflecting the investigation of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission by concluding that there was no case for Najib to answer.  But, this has immediately fallen apart with the MACC announcement that they want his decision reviewed. Open warfare looms.
16 more recipients of a further RM10,875,515?
16 more recipients of a further RM10,875,515?
Apandi did not help his own cause in that respect by waving papers from the investigation in his effort to demonstrate that a great deal of work had gone into showing Najib to be entirely innocent of any impropriety.
Close ups of those MACC documents in fact showed the opposite, which was that the agency had identified even more transfers from the 1MDB company SRC into Najib’s accounts than had been previously known about!
Sarawak Report spotted a further RM33 million that went into Najib’s accounts in July/August 2014 from these brandished documents.  Some RM27 million was paid out to 17 unidentified “recipients”, according to the diagrams in Apandi’s own hands.

Who were Najib’s 33 beneficiaries and were there more?

Today, further scrutiny of the paper in his other hand has revealed that yet another “16 recipients” received payments from Najib totalling over RM 10 million from a separate transfer of RM42 million from SRC in December 2014/February 2015.
It therefore appears that a total of 33 recipients received over RM50 million personally from Najib during the course of 2014 and early 2015 from SRC, which had in turn borrowed its money from the KWAP public pension fund.
Since Mr Apandi is so adamant that the payments were an innocent use of Malaysia’s pension money, perhaps he could reveal who these recipients were, in order to reassure the public that they were not, for example, any of the BN MP’s or UMNO division heads, who have been so doggedly supporting the Prime Minister over 1MDB and other controversial matters in recent months?
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the MACC had in fact recommended that three separate charges be brought against the Prime Minister on a number of counts. Apandi had ignored all their investigations and misrepresented their report.

Impossible self-contradictions as SR is vindicated 

The botched white wash faltered further, as the Prime Minister and his place-man in the AG’s office attempted to issue excuses for the facts they can no longer deny.
Originally Najib had angrily accused Sarawak Report of “lying” and threatened libel action when we published documents showing that US$681 had come into his personal accounts in March 2013.
We later added that the PM had also received earlier payments into the same account, raising the balance to around a billion dollars, before Najib closed it down shortly after the election in August 2013, following which he returned an estimated US$650 back to his accounts in Singapore.
All this too was dismissed as lies.
We were equally accused of falsehoods when we separately demonstrated that RM42 million had been transferred from the 1MDB subsidiary SRC into some of Najib’s other personal accounts, the main subject of the MACC investigation.
Likewise our story that money from these SRC funded accounts was used by Najib for spending on two credit cards, once more condemned as untrue.
When we further published the information that the MACC investigators had drawn up draft charge sheets against the Prime Minister, before the former AG was unconstitutionally sacked, Sarawak Report was blocked by the Malaysian Government, a warrant was put out for our arrest and draconian new laws were brought in to further curb the online media.
Yet, loh and behold, yesterday the PM and Apandi effectively acknowledged that all our reporting on the above matters had been correct after all (apart from the matter of the MACC charges, which have today also been upheld by the investigations body which has refused to be misrepresented).
To explain their change of tune the two men provided a number of excuses.  However, they have apologised for saying we were lying or retracted the ban on Sarawak Report.
Those excuses, meanwhile, have proved laughably self-contradictory and inept, leaving both men looking unfit for their jobs.

How could Najib transfer money from a closed account?

Najib has now admitted he had received the US$681 million.  Yesterday he updated his story of an anonymous donor, by claiming his benefactor was from the Saudi Royal Family.
Yesterday, he and Apandi for the first time further admitted our report that much of the money was indeed sent out of Malaysia again in August 2013.
This version of events blatantly ignores the shocking fact that the Prime Minister of Malaysia has admitted to receiving a huge payment from a foreign power to buy a supposedly democratic election. It also blatantly contradicts the next set of excuses the PM came up with to explain the millions that also travelled from SRC into his separate private accounts and credit card spending in 2014.
Because, although for the first time the PM admitted yesterday that our report had true  and that the money had come in from SRC, he said he had not realised that this was the origin of the cash.  Some unknown (as yet uninvestigated) third party was responsible for the transfers.
Instead, Najib says he had believed that the money was part of the ‘donation’ and therefore merely transferred from another of his own accounts.
Yet how could the Finance Minister have thought such a thing, given he had closed down the donor account in 2013 and sent the money ‘back’?  All the transfers were a year later in 2014!
Oooops?
Is it not also the case that the PM has repeatedly assured the public that the so-called donation had never been used for personal or private purposes and only on behalf of UMNO, even though UMNO didn’t know he had received it?
Yet, he is now claiming that he thought this was the origin of the money that he later used for his personal accounts and credit cards in 2014!
We also note that the exact details previously reported by Sarawak Report relating to those credit cards are also now substantiated, thanks to Apandi waving the MACC document that features them at yesterday’s press conference.
Apandi’s can of worms cannot be re-sealed
These questions and many more are now rolling in from all directions in response to Najib and Apandi’s questionable excuses.  Far from putting the “distraction” of 1MDB behind him, it would seem that the Prime Minister has fallen into a classic trap of uttering  untruths which are being relentlessly undone by the facts.
‘What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”, warned the writer Walter Scott.  Malaysia’s lying politicians should have heeded the dictum and stuck to saying as little as possible!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bungling AG Gives Away MORE EVIDENCE At Press Conference Meant To Clear Najib! EXCLUSIVE

Bungling AG Gives Away MORE EVIDENCE At Press Conference Meant To Clear Najib! EXCLUSIVE

27 JAN 2016

Paper waved by Apandi revealed a further previously unreported RM27 million traced by the MACC into Najib's own account!Paper waved by Apandi revealed a further previously unreported RM27 million traced by the MACC into Najib’s own account!

An extraordinary blunder by Najib’s loyalist Attorney General, Mohammed Apandi, caused him to release further evidence against the PM at the very press conference set up to announce he was dropping the case!

Sarawak Report has obtained exclusive close-ups of documents held up by Apandi at the event, which show that investigators had traced a further RM33 million on top of the RM42 million, which the PM has now admitted was siphoned from the KWAP public pension fund into his personal bank accounts.

It left observers wondering why the PM did not bring today’s explanations of innocence to cover all the money that has gone into his accounts and referred only to the sums which have already been exposed?

So much evidence, but no charges brought!

The bungling AG appears to have been attempting to show off how comprehensive the MACC investigation into the affair had been, by waiving a sheaf of documents before the press.
It appears the elderly lawyer had not taken into account the modern zoom lenses in the hands of the surrounding journalists and unfortunately for him, the highly coloured charts and diagrams prepared by investigators could be seen clearly enough in the left hand document to reveal the complex trail by which further payments of RM27 million plus RM6 million were made to the Prime Minister – sums that haver never previously been mentioned.
He then funnelled these payments through two further accounts to fund two credit cards used on his summer holiday in 2014 and also to make payments to what are termed at ’17 recipients’, who received over RM23 million between them.
According to the MACC document waived at the press conference by Apandi the further RM27 million came into Najib's account via the UBG linked company Putrajaya Perdana Berhad.According to the MACC document waived at the press conference by Apandi the further RM27 million came into Najib’s account via the UBG linked company Putrajaya Perdana Berhad.
For clarity Sarawak Report has drawn up its own version of the chart based on our best possible identification of the figures, below:
Clearer version of the chart drawn up by Sarawak ReportClearer version of the chart drawn up by Sarawak Report

Sarawak Report’s credit card information confirmed correct!

It can immediately be seen that the new money trail embroils yet another Jho Low related company, again run by some of Najib’s closest cronies in the 1MDB affair.  Putrajaya Perdana Berhad, of which the Chairman is none other than the head of Tabung Haji, Abdul Azeez Rahim, who has already been caught up in a raft of separate 1MDB related scandals.
The MACC document, while unclear in certain details, plainly shows how a total of RM33 million was shifted from SRC (which had received an original loan from the KWAP pension fund) between PPB and its subsidiaries, before being sent into Najib’s AmBank account numbers 2112022011880 and2112022011906 in July and August 2014.
These transfers are entirely separate to the payments of RM42 million into the same accounts later in December and then the following February, which came through separate companies named Ihsan Perdana and Gandigan Mentari and have already been admitted to by Najib.
The chart also confirms separate reports published by Sarawak Report in August last year and followed uplast week, detailing how this SRC money had been used to pay two credit cards used by the Prime Minister on his European holidays in 2014.
Sarawak Report had detailed the numbers of the two credit cards and the amounts spent:
Visa Card no: 4585 8180 0000 5496, on which RM449,000 was spent and a Master Card no: 5289 4380 0003 8961, on which RM2.8 million was spent
And it can be seen that the MACC document waived by Apandi corroborates the very same card details and expenditures for those numbers in both cases.  Accusations from BN last week that Sarawak Report had “lied” on this matter can therefore be demonstrated to be unfounded by the very documents waived by Apandi at his own press conference.
RM2.8m spent on the Master Card and RM.4m on the Visa in August 2014RM2.8m spent on the Master Card and RM.4m on the Visa in August 2014 – the cards end in the same 3 digits

Who were the 17 mystery ‘recipients’?

Another fascinating detail can be picked out from Apandi’s ill-advisedly waived chart.  It can be seen that sums totalling RM12 million flowed on from the PM’s account ending 880 into his other AmBank account ending 906 (which was also to receive some of the monies paid later from the RM42 million).
Much of this money travelled via a third account number ending 898 and it can be seen that a separate payment of RM6 million was also paid into the account directly from a separate subsidiary of PPB named Putrajaya Perdana Construction.
This 906 account is shown to have gone on to pay what are described in the chart as “17 recipients” who together received a total of RM23,520,610 million.  The identity of these 17 recipients ought surely to be publicised if Mr Apandi is wishing to prove a clean slate?
After all, murdered MACC prosecutor Kevin Morais, who had originally worked on the investigation had told Sarawak Report that the money had not merely been used for personal credit card spending but to cover various election related expenditures:
“Actually, the spending .. was rather mundane. Credit card bills, shopping, suppliers to the last elections that had not gotten paid because BNM had frozen the accounts of other proxy companies, that sort of stuff.” [email sent to Sarawak Report]
The over-riding question arising from this new information therefore is does Najib have the same excuse for how the money got into his account that he has just provided to explain the RM42 million that came in later?  Najib has stated that he had not known how the RM42 million reached his account or that it had come from SRC via Ihsan Perdana and Gandingan Mentari.  Instead, he had thought he had transferred it from the ‘donated’ US$681 million allegedly provided by a Saudi Royal.
Does he have the same excuse for this different sum of money which also came from SRC but through a completely different series of companies, before being shunted around three of his personal accounts in order to pay for this and that?

Putrajaya Perdana Berhad

The new involvement of this sensitive public company, which has received a wealth of public contracts in recent years, opens a new dimension in the 1MDB/SRC scandal.
Followers of the scandal will know that PPB was one of the subsidiaries of the Taib company UGB, which the tycoon Jho Low bought into in 2008.  The papers released by Sarawak Report have proved what many suspected at the time, which was that money was later funnelled from 1MDB to buy out UGB profiting both Low and Taib Mahmud.
PPB, was allegedly purchased by PetroSaudi, but soon sold on again back to UGB and then to a new owner Cendana Destini. The current Chairman of the Board is none other than the Najib courtier Abdul Azeez Rahim, who is also the Chairman of the floundering pilgrimage fund Tabung Haji, which was caught bailing out 1MDB’s debts in a highly controversial land purchase deal last year.
The same characters just keep popping up round Najib's dodgy financial deals The same characters just keep popping up round Najib’s dodgy financial deals – Azeez is not recommended by his MBA from a degree for sale outfit named Preston University to sound like Princeton.
It is ironic that it was announced today that AG Apandi will join this very same Abdul Azeez Rahim on the Board of Tabung Haji, after Sarawak Report yesterday exposed that the Governor of the Bank of Malaysia had expressed deep concerns about the management and losses of the fund and called for more experienced management.
In Najib’s Malaysia this small band of foxes have clearly taken control of the chicken coup and they evidently plan to keep it that way.
See again our clarified version of the MACC chart below:
Clearer version of the chart drawn up by Sarawak ReportClearer version of the chart drawn up by Sarawak Report

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

SR: Tabung Haji Insolvent - Zeti Warns PM That Fund's Mismanagement Threatens A Billion Ringgit Bail Out

Tabung Haji Insolvent - Zeti Warns PM That Fund's Mismanagement Threatens A Billion Ringgit Bail Out EXCLUSIVE!

Tabung Haji Insolvent - Zeti Warns PM That Fund's Mismanagement Threatens A Billion Ringgit Bail Out EXCLUSIVE!

26 JAN 2016

Sarawak Report has received an explosive series of documents relating to the emerging Tabung Haji financial crisis, including two stark letters of warning from the Governor of the Bank of Malaysia indicating that the fund is on the brink of collapse and a massive bail out by taxpayers.
The near identical three page letters, both dated 23rd December 2015, were sent to the Chairman of the fund, Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and to a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Jamil Baharom, copied to the Prime Minister/Finance Minister, Najib Razak.
In the two letters the BNM Governor, Zeti Akhtar Aziz, warned that the Tabung Haji fund now risks failing in its primary purpose:
 “the worrying financial situation at Lembaga Tabung Haji… will make it difficult in the future for the LTH to play an effective role in helping Muslim pilgrims to perform their Haj” [translation]
She goes on to warn that the fund’s obligations far exceed its assets and that the vast majority of the income invested in the fund is controlled by a small number of institutional investors, who might easily pull out if they cease to receive adequate returns, leaving the majority of small investors (would be pilgrims) high and dry.
Presumably in an effort to keep those lenders (5% of depositors are understood to control 75% of the funds) the banking chief observes that LTH has been paying out far more than it has made in profits in recent years, in the form of ‘dividends’ and ‘bonuses’, which has caused the fund to eat further into its capital reserves.
“Based on BNM monitoring, the practice of distributing dividends and bonuses to savers on average is higher than current profits. On average it was 107% in 2012-14, which has eaten into the reserves.  The reserves were already low and they continue to go down to the point there are no longer enough to overcome the poor performance of the equity markets, particularly in 2015… this means at the current market rates LTH doesn’t have the assets to fulfil all its obligations…” [translation]

Breaking the law!

Zeti Aziz - stark warning to LTH
Zeti Aziz – stark warning to LTH
In the light of this critical situation the Governor goes on to complain that there is a sorry lack of adequate experience and expertise on the fund’s Board of Directors to tackle the problems, which she calls to be immediately rectified by appointing more competent new members.
Meanwhile, she points out that the conduct of the fund has put it in breach of the law.
Specifically she notes that LTH has violated Section 21 of the Lembaga Tabung Haji Act of 1995, which stipulates that its reserves must match its liabilities and also Section 22 of the Act, which says that it must not issue bonuses that exceed its profits.
The dark news comes in the middle of a plunging economy and exchange rate crisis, largely the result of a loss of confidence in Najib’s management of the nation’s finances and the scandal hit development fund 1MDB.
With the Prime Minister due to present a belt-tightening revision of the budget over the next few days, Governor Zeti warns that the financial implications of any collapse of LTH would be extremely serious for the Government and taxpayers, because under Section 24 of the same Act the fund is guaranteed a bail out should it founder.

Billion ringgit liabilities run up by LTH – guaranteed by MOF!

LTH Chairman Azeez is regarded as a client of Najib's powerful wife Rosmah who was prominent in the land scandal affecting the fund last May
LTH Chairman Azeez (bowed) is regarded as a client of Najib’s powerful wife Rosmah who was prominent in the land scandal affecting the fund last May
The exact liability potentially faced by the taxpayer in the event of a collapse of this exposed fund is not made clear by Ms Aziz, who is due to retire in April following numerous awards for her outstanding career as a leading central banker.
However, more documents acquired by Sarawak Report (see base of article) frighteningly demonstrate the extent of the mismanagement crisis.
A scandal last year had already raised concerns that the fund was being misused for political purposes, when it became known that in May the fund had paid a huge premium of RM188.5 million to purchase a development plot from 1MDB, which enabled that fund to cover a pressing debt payment.
At the time frantic messages between Najib, his wife Rosmah and Chairman Azeez (who is regarded as a client of Rosmah’s) resulted in public promises that Tabung Haji would sell on the land for a further profit within a month.  That further sale was never achieved and the acquisition remains on the LTH books.
Billion ringgit 'floating production and offshore storage & offloading scheme"
Billion ringgit ‘floating production and offshore storage & offloading scheme”
Now, Sarawak Report has received more leaked documents showing that LTH has gained a Ministry of Finance guarantee to enable it to invest a further USD228.2 million (almost RM1 billion) in an associate company, TH Heavy Engineering Berhad (THHE) – a loss-making service supplier for Petronas.
A letter from the Ministry of Finance sent on 15th November 2015 confirms approval for a ‘corporate guarantee’, granted by the MOF Chief Secretary of Investment for bank financing for the THHE project, meaning that if the investment fails the taxpayer is committed to bailing out the billion ringgit contract.
Tabung Haji is a 29.81% shareholder of THHE and by far the largest shareholder in the company.
However, a devastating risk assessment shows that not only is the project itself (a planned floating storage vessel named Layang) highly unlikely to deliver the necessary returns, but also that the company THHE itself is itself in a highly precarious financial position.
The ten page assessment produced on 7th January of this year (after approval had already been given by the MOF) describes the risk of a credit default as “VERY HIGH” and the aggregate risk of the entire RM1 billion investment as HIGH!
Why did the Minister of Finance, Najib Razak, give a taxpayer's guarantee to the 'Very High Risk' billion ringgit investment proposal by LTH in November at a time of collapsing economic indicators?
Why did the Minister of Finance, Najib Razak, give a taxpayer’s guarantee to the ‘Very High Risk’ billion ringgit investment proposal by LTH in November at a time of collapsing economic indicators?
Given this level of risk, analysts are questioning why the cash strapped LTH is proposing to invest a billion ringgit in the LHHE project and why on earth Najib Razak has agreed to guarantee the bank lending on behalf of the public?
Shocking details from the damning risk analysis include the information that THHE will suffer negative cash flow of up to RM108 million until the delivery of the Layang in the third quarter of 2016.
On top of this liability the firm is facing legal action for outstanding debts totally RM109.7 million.
In all, the risk management profile shows that by entering into the Layang project Tabung Haji, which is THHE’s largest investor, increases its financial exposure to the company from RM424 million to RM1.4 billion!
Wilful further billion ringgit exposure and taxpayer risk incurred by LTH - Why?
Wilful further billion ringgit exposure and taxpayer risk incurred by LTH – Why?

More law breaking!

Not only is this investment hard to fathom from a financial point of view, but the risk assessment points out that it is again legally dubious under the 1995 Tabung Haji Act, which demands that the Ministry of Finance ought not to be applied to guarantee loans to LTH unless they are on behalf of a full subsidiary of the public fund.  To the contrary, THHE is a third party concern, despite the major investment by Tabung Haji.
Breaking the rules and 'opening the floodgates' with a billion dollar taxpayer guaranteed investment in a company Tabung Haji does not even control!
Breaking the rules and ‘opening the floodgates’ with a billion dollar taxpayer guaranteed investment in a company Tabung Haji does not even control!
The RM1 billion entanglement appears to have proceeded in direct contradiction of the powerful warning made in the Governor’s December letter, in which she requests that Chairman Azeez should impress on his management they should:
“ensure that any effort to expand [LTH]’s operations does not jeopardise the mission, especially when it comes to helping Muslim pilgrims save for the purpose of fulfilling their Haj and ensuring Haj operations proceed smoothly”.
Damningly, the risk assessment even concludes that the reputational risk for the fund entering into the THHE project is so great that it ought to prepare in advance to have “crisis mode plan” in place as a precautionary measure for when the expected failure of the project eventuates.
Onlookers must wonder why there is so much determination and eagerness to risk so much public money in such a high risk project?
Others will question why Najib Razak’s management of Malaysia’s economy and key public funds has reached such a level of recklessness and risk taking that even an assessment of this level of negativity and the stark warnings of the Governor of the Bank of Malaysia have been so wilfully ignored?
Documents:Letter from Governor of Bank of Malaysia to Chair of Tabung Haji – click here
Letter from Governor of Bank of Malaysia to Prime Minister’s Office – click here
L
etter of approval from MOF to Tabung Haji for THHE Layang project – click here
Risk assessment for THHE Layang project investment by Tabung Haji – click here

Thursday, January 21, 2016

SR: NEW 1MDB BOMBSHELL - Second Jho Low Company Paid Hundreds of Millions To Both Najib Razak AND Khadem Al Qubaisi - EXCLUSIVE!

NEW 1MDB BOMBSHELL - Second Jho Low Company Paid Hundreds of Millions To Both Najib Razak AND Khadem Al Qubaisi - EXCLUSIVE!

NEW 1MDB BOMBSHELL - Second Jho Low Company Paid Hundreds of Millions To Both Najib Razak AND Khadem Al Qubaisi - EXCLUSIVE!

21 JAN 2016

Khadem signs the deal while Najib looks on - but where did all the money go from the 1MDB/Aabar "strategic partnership"?
Khadem signs the deal while Najib looks on – but where did all the money go from the 1MDB/Aabar “strategic partnership”?
Sarawak Report can reveal that a second Jho Low company, Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners Limited, has paid hundreds of millions of dollars into the personal accounts of both the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak and also the ex-Chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Aabar fund, Khadem al Qubaisi.
Aabar, a subsidiary of the IPIC sovereign wealth fund, has been enmeshed in a series of highly questionable and loss making deals with the Malaysian development fund, which is directly controlled by Razak, using Jho Low as his proxy.
Blackstone, a BVI registered company which gives an address in Singapore, has been cited by separate sources as the sender of a series of enormous dollar currency payments to both men between 2011 and 2012.  Our information includes telegraphic transfer documents passed through the American banking system.
The company uses a tactic familiar to watchers of Jho Low, in that it apparently seeks to give the impression that it is associated with the US global investment giant, the Blackstone Group. However, there is no link whatsoever between the legitimate multi-national and this secretive shell company.
Jho Low and Li Lin live it up on the high life
Jho Low and Li Lin enjoying the high life
In fact documents obtained by international investigators have ascertained that the signatory for the company is none other that Jho Low’s deputy, Seet Li Lin.  Seet also acted in the same capacity for the notorious company Good Star Limited, which lies at the heart of the 1MDB scandal and of which Low was the sole shareholder.
The records show that before it was liquidated in early 2013, just three years after starting operations, Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners Limited transferred well over half a billion dollars into accounts belonging to the two men. This was exactly the period when two major loss-making power purchase deals were funded through billion dollar bond issues raised under a joint guarantee by the two funds. Much of that money appears to be unaccounted for, forming a large part of 1MDB’s current debt problems.

Khadem scooped nearly half a billion dollars (RM2 bn)

Documents obtained by Sarawak Report show that four separate payments were made to Khadem Al Qubaisi’s Luxembourg account at Banque Privee Edmond de Rothschilde Europe (headquartered in Switzerland) in 2012.  The sums were enormous.
Firstly, on 29th May 2012 Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners transfered US$158,000,000 million into Al Qubaisi’s account, held under the name of the The Vasco Trust, of which he was the sole beneficial owner.
Documents in the possession of SR confirm Al Qubaisi is the shareholder of Vasco Trust
Blackstone BVI is registered under an address in an office rental block in Singapore – 36 Robinson Road.  Documents in the possession of SR confirm Al Qubaisi is the shareholder of Vasco Trust
Three further payments on August 3rd, October 31st and December 4th comprised US$100,750,000, US$129,000,000 and US$85,000,000 respectively.  It makes for a total of just under half a billion dollars – over two billion ringgit at current exchange rates, paid from a shady BVI company into the hands of the salaried Abu Dhabi fund manager over just six months.
How did this ex-fund manager legitimately earn this sum - or was it a kickback?
How did this ex-fund manager legitimately earn this sum – or was it a kickback?
Insiders have confirmed to Sarawak Report that these payments were regarded as kickbacks linked to Al Qubaisi’s involvement in 1MDB.

Tell tale connections with Good Star, Jho Low and Najib Razak

There was just one other major external transaction paid into Al Qubaisi’s Vasco account during the same financial year – US$20,750,000 was transferred from the other secret Jho Low owned company Good Star Limited on 20th February 2013.
Transfer from Good Star into the same beneficiary account belonging to Vasco at BPERE - acc no 390 610
Transfer from Good Star into the same beneficiary account belonging to Vasco at BPERE – acc no 390 610
Had there been a shortfall on the agreed Blackstone transfers, which was made up by Jho Low’s other company Good Star?
Otherwise, can the now sacked Mr Al Qubaisi explain these extraordinary secret payments into his accounts, just in the very period when Aabar and 1MDB were entering into a series of ‘joint investment’ deals from which billions have gone missing?

Payment to the Prime Minister!

There is an even more serious angle to this explosive set of discoveries.  Sarawak Report has learnt that the on-going 1MDB investigation into Najib Razak’s AmPrivate Bank accounts in KL has also established that enormous payments came in from the very same source a few months earlier.
In 2011 Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners Limited paid a total of US$170 million into the same private account belonging to Najib Razak which later received US$680 million in 2013, as reported by Sarawak Report, along with the Wall Street Journal.
Sarawak Report has already reported there had been earlier payments, which had brought the final sum in the account to well over a billion dollars.  After the election over US$600 million was in fact sent exported back into personal accounts belonging to the Prime Minister in Singapore (now frozen) and the AmBank account closed.
Party mode - Al Qubaisi has poured hundreds of millions into buying up nightclubs in Vegas
Party mode – Al Qubaisi has poured hundreds of millions into buying up nightclubs in Vegas
We are now able to disclose that the first of those series of payments, totalling US$170 million came from Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners Limited (BVI) and it was supported by the very same identical letter of guarantee provided by the bogus sheikh ‘Saud Abdulaziz Majid al-Saud’, which also backed the later US$680 million ‘donation’ in 2013.
As we have detailed, Saud Abdulaziz Majid al-Saud has turned out not to exist and the series of identical letters provide no details of his address or credentials.
No wonder the task force investigations into 1MDB ended up querying these enormous payments as part of that remit into Malaysia’s missing development funds.
The official investigators had clearly concluded (before they were rudely shut down, arrested, sacked and in one case murdered) that these transfers into Najib’s accounts were directly linked to the disappearances of vast sums of money from the company’s accounts.

History of an impersonator company

So what of this BVI based company, which suddenly transferred so much money into the accounts of the bosses behind Aabar and 1MDB?
Blackstone Group does indeed have a subsidiary called Blackstone Real Estate Partners Asia.  However, the major global player has responded to enquiries to confirm that the almost identically named Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners (BVI) has nothing to do with their business.
Research into the shadowy world of BVI corporations has revealed that this particular shell company was incorporated on November 1st 2010 under the name of Foreign FX Trading Limited and changed its name to Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners on 26th May 2011:
Short lived history of a shell company used to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars
Short lived history of a shell company used to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars
Having transferred the hundreds of millions of dollars into both Najib and Khadem Al Qubaisi’s accounts the company was put into liquidation on 30th April 2013, just before the Malaysian general election.
Time to close down this short-lived multi-million dollar operation?
Time to close down this short-lived multi-million dollar operation?
Sarawak Report contends that the explanation for this series of events is that Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners Limited (BVI) was merely another of Jho Low’s secretive vehicles for transferring money, which he habitually named to sound as if they belonged to more credible working concerns.
Other such companies which we have identified as being linked to Jho Low’s laundering activities are PetroSaudi International Limited (Seychelles); SRG (Strategic Resouces Global); Aabar Investments PJS Ltd and Merryl Capital.
Najib must explain why his anonymous donor appears to be Jho Low
Najib must explain why his anonymous donor appears to be Jho Low
The same London based company, Offshore Incorporations Centre, was employed to incorporate both Good Star Limited in the Seychelles and the Blackstone bogus company in BVI.  Sarawak Report has already confirmed that international investigators have now established that the sole shareholder of Good Star is indeed none other than Jho Low.
Prime Minister Najib must surely now address what has now become increasingly plain and obvious, which is that much of the money recorded as having gone missing from the 1MDB/Aabar joint ventures, appears to now have been traced into bank accounts belonging to the two main players in these transactions – himself and Khadem Al Qubaisi.
The facilitator in the Blackstone BVI transactions was plainly once more Jho Low, using yet another of his web of off-shore vehicles to shift the cash, before he liquidated it (like Good Star) in an attempt to obliterate the evidence.