Monday, August 10, 2015

The Elusive Truth Of Najib's 1MDB Scam

Red Alert - More Transparency Needed Over US$3 Billion Raised By 1MDB!

Red Alert - More Transparency Needed Over US$3 Billion Raised By 1MDB!

9 Aug 2015

(Reproduced with permission)

One guess for the mystery donor is this Middle Eastern gentleman - the man who eventually claimed he bankrolled Riza's Wolf of Wall Street - al_husseiny was the Chairman of Falcon Bank in 2013 and is still the CEO of Aabar.
One guess for the mystery donor is this Middle Eastern gentleman – the man who eventually claimed he bankrolled son Riza’s Wolf of Wall Street – Al-husseiny was the Chairman of Falcon Bank in 2013 and is still the CEO of Aabar.

Rumours are swirling that the Prime Minister is soon to produce his ‘Middle Eastern Donor’ for the secret US$680 million that went into his private account just before the last election.

Even his Deputy PM and Chair of UMNO had no knowledge of the money, but Najib says it was intended to be spent on the party and its election campaign – that it was “not for personal use”.

With no further details forthcoming on the matter the rest of the world has scant evidence beyond the word of the Prime Minister himself on these matters, which is hardly very satisfactory.

If UMNO was a properly handled sort of organisation, donations to the party would have instead been recorded and the expenditures itemised.
There is also the small matter of election law, given there are limits on party spending, which have been exceeded several times over by this princely fortune that Najib secretly acquired.

Yet, Najib has shown himself irritated by the largely silent dismay with which much of the rank and file of UMNO have received the unfolding news of the way their leader chose to handle money allegedly given on their behalf.

Yesterday his rant was telling:
“What is happening is that they [UMNO rank and file] keep quiet when they get the money but when I’m being attacked, everyone keeps quiet,” [Najib Razak 8th August]
So, if someone purporting to be the “donor” is now dragged reluctantly into the limelight to get Najib off the hook will anyone be particularly impressed?

This money was not correctly nor legitimately handled and frankly, a statement that X or Y ‘donated it’ ought no longer be enough.

Time for Transparency

Transparency is the friend of the righteous and if Najib is so very innocent in this affair he and his ‘donor’ must go the whole hog – we should see all the transactions surrounding this ‘donation’ and then people may at last start to believe a man who has become famous for his changing stories over 1MDB.

Who owns Tanore Finance Corporation BVI with an account at the Aabar owned Swiss Falcon Bank, Singapore branch?
Who owns Tanore Finance Corporation BVI with an account at the Aabar owned Swiss Falcon Bank, Singapore branch?

The ‘donor’, for a start, will need to confirm that he was indeed the account holder for Tanore Finance Corporation (BVI) at Falcon Bank in Singapore in March 2013.

This is something that can be checked by the regulatory authorities, of course, so best not to lie.

The ‘donor’ and indeed banks such as Wells Fargo ought also to explain why crucial information about the identity of the donor and the recipient were left off the transfer documents, which in fact described the transfer as a “payment”.

Incomplete details for a tranfer... i.e. the names are missing.
Incomplete details for a tranfer… i.e. the names are missing.

If the relevant banks, including Wells Fargo, failed to obtain and register this information they will have transgressed money laundering regulations – for a very serious amount of money indeed.

The Aabar Connection

Most importantly, there also needs to be transparency over the murky and distinctly related-looking money raising activities by 1MDB and Abu Dhabi’s Aabar fund, which so neatly coincided with this strange and as yet unsubstantiated ‘donation’ in 2013.

MDB’s  ‘strategic joint venture’ signed with Aabar 12th March resulted in the raising of a US$3 billion bond by 1MDB just two days before the US$680 million started to arrive in Najib’s account.

If these were two entirely separate mega-transactions, then why not publish the details and settle the matter?

Al Husseiny's boss at the time was Jho Low's party pal and Chairman of Aabar, Khadem al Qubassi
Al Husseiny’s boss at the time was Jho Low’s party pal and Chairman of Aabar, Khadem al Qubassi

After all, it was Aabar’s own Chief Executive (and then Chairman of Falcon Bank) Mohammed Al-Husseiny, who was earlier brought out of the shadows, after many months of speculation, to acknowledge that it was he who stumped up the US$100 million investment in the production of Wolf of Wall Street for Najib’s step-son Riza.

Al-Husseiny (top) announced he had personally put his hand in his pocket to pay for the movie. It was a strange statement for a salaried civil servant to make and it was backed up by no evidence whatsoever.

It also signalled an apparent conflict of interest, owing to the numerous links between 1MDB’s borrowing activities and Aabar – links that have been shown to have been extremely lucrative for Aabar, although their role has been almost entirely passive on the investment side into 1MDB.

These are issues only proper transparency can resolve.

Goldman's 1MDB link man Tim Leissner's model wife Kimora, shows off her special friend
Goldman’s 1MDB link man Tim Leissner’s model wife Kimora, shows off her special friend

1MDB’s 2014 accounts and problems for Goldman Sachs

1MDB’s accounts dealing with this period are for the year ending March 2014.

Produced by Deloitte these are sorely lacking in detail, but they do confirm that a sum of US$3 billion was raised by the 1MDB subsidiary Global Investments Limited (IMGIL) as ‘seed capital’ for a joint venture project with Aabar called Abu Dhabi Malaysia Investment Company (ADMIC).

This was Malaysia’s contribution to the much touted ‘strategic partnership‘ signed March 12th 2013 between 1MDB and Aabar to develop the proposed ‘Tun Razak Exchange’.

In the end Aabar did not contribute.

The money was raised privately in just one week by the bank Goldman Sachs International (GSI) according to these accounts, which record that the money had been raised by March 19th.

GSI had also earlier raised two other power purchase bonds for 1MDB, which were for unexplained reasons co-guaranteed by Aabar (a matter only discovered once confidential copies of the private bond issues were leaked).

Altogether the bank raised US$6.5 billion in borrowing for Najib, charging a staggering US$590 million.

Goldman (GSI) delivered the money in a week and charged a bomb!
Goldman (GSI) delivered the money in a week and charged a bomb! [2014 1MDB Annual Report)

The above excerpt from 1MDB’s 2014 Annual Report in fact contains some astonishing, if very limited information.

Firstly, it tells us that half of the entire US$3 billion raised on 19th March 2014, purportedly to fund the building of the Tun Razak Exchange had been spent by the end of the accounting period!

Complaints have been of snail's pace of progress in the multi-billion dollar project. Aabar never coughed up its side of the cash anyway
Complaints have been of snail’s pace of progress in the TRX project.

It was not spent on the project (we all know that is still a wasteland) but, according to the Accounts US$1.58 billion was banked, but “the remaining net proceeds [$1.42 billion]” was “utilised by the Company for working capital and debt repayment purposes” i.e. used up for nothing!

Given that this is an enormous sum for an investment company to have effectively wasted in the course of only one year (roughly double the sum that ended up in Najib’s account in fact) aren’t the public entitled to a few more details?

Surely, the Prime Minster ought have no qualms about detailing exactly what happened to all this public borrowing, given it was authorised by 1MDB’s sole ‘shareholder’ (himself) and guaranteed by a ‘letter of comfort’ by the Minister of Finance (himself again)?

The 'letter of comfort' (guarantee) came from the Minister of Finance (Najib) who was also secretly at that time the sole Shareholder of 1MDB
The ‘letter of comfort’ (guarantee) came from the Minister of Finance (Najib) who was also secretly 
at that time the sole Shareholder of 1MDB

Najib ought to be anxious to put any concerns to rest that some of this vast leakage could have ended up funding his anonymous Middle Eastern ‘donor’, for example.

What was Aabar’s role in the strategic partnership at TRX?

The 2014 Annual Report goes on to give some further teasing indications about the management of this bond organised by Goldman Sachs (GSI).

Because although the only money actually raised for the project came from Malaysia’s 1MDB, Aabar seems none the less to have been accorded a joint venture partner status in the development project.

This was signalled when the announcements were made during the signing on 12th March.  But, given Aabar’s lack of actual investment, the question is why?

1MDB Global Investments had raised all the money, but Aabar held 50% of the shares in the venture
1MDB Global Investments had raised all the money, but Aabar held 50% of the shares in the venture

Isn’t it time the deal that was signed between Aabar and 1MDB that day was therefore made public, in order that Malaysians can understand exactly what it is that the boys from Abu Dhabi brought to the party?

We do after all now know, thanks to a leaked copy of Goldman’s bond issue to Sarawak Report (now banned in Malaysia) and research by the business paper The Edge (now banned in Malaysia) that Aabar made a fortune as a co-guarantor of Malaysia’s separate power purchase agreement bonds (totalling US$3.5 billion).

Falcon's CEO Eduardo Leeman is an ex-Goldman guy himself
Falcon’s CEO Eduardo Leeman is an ex-Goldman guy himself

The Edge has calculated that Aabar could have extracted up to a billion dollars out of the deal, thanks to the options it acquired in its unexplained capacity as co-guarantor.

Goldman Sachs who brokered the unusual deal made a jaw dropping level of commission themselves, for reasons unexplained.

So, did Aabar also stand to benefit from a portion of the US$3 billion raised by the IMGIL bond, according to the March 12th agreement – and by any chance did that portion end up being channelled by Goldman Sachs International into Aabar’s own Falcon Bank?

Relations will doubtless have been smoothed with Falcon Bank by the fact that the company’s Swiss CEO and Swiss CFO at the time had both themselves formerly worked in senior positions at Goldman Sachs itself.

GSI Asia boss Tim Leissner made record profits of $550 million out of the 1MDB bonds - then GSI dropped out of the KL market as questions started to rankle - here with model wife Kimora
GSI Asia boss Tim Leissner made record profits of $550 million out of the 1MDB bonds – then GSI dropped out of the KL market as questions started to rankle – here with model wife Kimora

It was from Falcon Bank, of course, that the very generous donor sent Najib Razak that US$680 million just two days after Goldman delivered on the bond money.

As for Goldman Sachs, the bank has answered questions about the equally jaw dropping levels of commission that it extracted from this particular deal, by explaining the ‘client‘ (Najib) was in a hurry to get the money and therefore the bank took over a section of the risk, in return for an added incentive payment (calculated to be around 9%).

What was the hurry that caused the Malaysian public purse to have to cough up so much interest Najib?

People will be left thinking that the looming election deadline was a factor, unless these matters are cleared up fast.

Just give us the facts

Najib Razak can not complain about such lines of speculation when after months of scandal over missing billions, during which time this secret payment to himself emerged, he has failed to come up with any convincing explanations.

Neither has 1MDB given anything approximating a clear enough account of how so much of its borrowed money has been spent on “working capital” and “debt repayments”.

Najib’s key banking partner in all this activity has certainly started to feel the heat. It emerged today that Goldman Sachs’ KL office was raided by investigators from the now neutered MACC on the same day, July 8th, they raided the offices of 1MDB.

Clearly these investigators had also concluded there might just be a connection between the bonds they raised and malfeasance at 1MDB.

Najib’s subsequent lash back, with a combination of raids, arrests, transfers and denials have been directed at bringing this MACC investigation to a sharp close, hardly brings confidence.  The international press and regulators are now looking far more closely at this major international deal involving one of America’s largest banks.

Already Singapore has frozen two relevant accounts at Aabar owned Falcon Bank (including that of Tanore Finance Corporation, who sent Najib the cash) and five accounts have also been frozen by the central regulators in KL.

Beyond that, the United States regulators will have available all the details they might need on these dollar transactions to get to the bottom of who sent what money where.  According to the news agency Reuters today:
The scandal is exactly the sort of thing Goldman has been trying to avoid since overhauling its approval process for transactions in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis.

Banks typically put increased scrutiny on deals where there may be reputational risk as well as financial risk, such as when dealing with governments and tycoons.

“Goldman should be the first to realize that if something seems to be too good to be true and the fees are that high, they should look for a problem,” said Nell Minow, vice chair of ValueEdge Advisors, which provides corporate governance advice to institutional investors. “They have some real risk here.” [Reuters 9th August 2015]
So, would it not be better for Najib to just pre-empt all this and prove his and 1MDB’s innocent role by appropriate transparency, which has been so glaringly absent so far?

This is the politician who in 2012 announced that all parties should be transparent over their funding, but who is now asking the opposition parties to lead first by example. Why can’t this man stop changing his stories and just lay down the truth.
SARAWAK REPORT

Friday, August 7, 2015

Gameplan Of The 1MDB Scam Of Najib Razak & His Gang Of Crooks

Was Aabar's Khadem Al-Qubaisi Connected To Your Secret 'Donation', Prime Minister?

6 Aug 2015

(Reproduced with permission)

Was Aabar's Kadem your secret donor Najib?
Was Aabar’s Kadem your secret donor Najib?

There are three outstanding elements to the present investigations over 1MDB.

These are the whereabouts of the missing US$1.3 billion siphoned from the PetroSaudi deal into the PM’s proxy Jho Low’s companies; the whereabouts of RM4 billion borrowed from Malaysia’s pensioners by 1MDB’s former subsidiary SRC International and the whereabouts of monies that have evaporated out of various development and power purchase deals made in tandem with Abu Dhabi’s Aabar fund – formerly headed by the now sacked Khadem al Qubaisi.

It was a sum of RM27 million (out of a total of RM42 million) traced from SRC International into the private account of Prime Minister Najib Razak in December, which formed the basis of a charge sheet that was drafted by the former Attorney General, just before he was shockingly sacked last week.

Separately, the Parliamentary Accounts Committee was trying to interview key players in the PetroSaudi deal, including businessman Jho Low and former Chief Executive Shahrol Halmi, before its hearings were forcibly shut down on the order of the Speaker.

MACC Pressed Into Service

Special Branch raids and arrests at Malaysia's Anti-Corruption Commission's offices this week - and the removal of crucial evidence gathered in their enquiries
Special Branch raids and arrests at Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Commission’s offices this week – and the removal of crucial evidence gathered in their enquiries

Meanwhile, action was taken Wednesday to try to explain the US$680 million that was posted into the PM’s personal AmBank account just before the calling of the General Election in 2013 – a matter also revealed by the enquiry into 1MDB and published by the Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report.

An anonymous statement was produced from the MACC (Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission), which claimed its investigators had ‘cleared’ the Prime Minister on this matter, because the agency could confirm that the money was a “donation” from an ‘undisclosed source’ from the Middle East and nothing to do with 1MDB.

This statement was surprising, not least because it came only hours after the MACC had clarified that the issue of the US$680 million did not come into the remit of its own enquiries.

There are four official task forces looking into the missing billions from 1MDB and the MACC explained that its own officers are focused only on the money related to the SRC International transactions.

Several MACC officers have been arrested and interrogated over the "criminal leakage" of documents published in Sarawak Report - documents which had earlier been denounced as "forgeries", including a charge sheet against the Prime Minister
Several MACC officers have been arrested and interrogated over the “criminal leakage” of documents published in Sarawak Report – documents which had earlier been denounced as “forgeries”, including a charge sheet against the Prime Minister

Nevertheless, following a number of police roundups, interrogations and confiscations of materials from the MACC offices, this new line of enquiry appears to have been rapidly opened and completed within hours, thanks to information gleaned from an interview with the PM himself, who had explained the matter to the MACC’s apparent satisfaction.

No details have been given about the ‘donation’ or who had made it or why – leaving more questions than answers in the minds of Malaysians.  However, Najib has declared that it was “not for his personal use” and implied he spent it on party and election expenses.

Since it has been pointed out that this ‘donation’ amounts to roughly the entire sum raised by President Obama for his last election campaign in the United States, everyone is asking whether it was appropriate or legal for the Prime Minister to have accepted such a sum into his private account, without even his Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Deputy Chairman being aware of it?

Few believe so.

Indeed, the well-known Malaysia financial writer, Ganesh Sahathevan, has today made another pointed observation, which has effectively torpedoed this ‘donation’ theory from below the water-line.

Sahathevan has pointed out that the banking documents detailing the dollar transfers specifically refer to the money as a “payment”:

First tranche from Falcon Bank (owned by Aabar) arrived on 21st March 2013 as a partial PAYMENT
First tranche from Falcon Bank (owned by Aabar) arrived in Najib’s account on 21st March 2013, described in the remittance information as a “partial PAYMENT”

As Sahathevan explains in his incisive article:
“Curiously the transfers  (the sum total was paid in two amounts)  are  described as  “Payment” and not ” Donation”.
This is not a matter of mere semantics. In these days of heightened controls on the transfer of funds, given the fear of terrorist financing, descriptions are important , even for very small sums. In this case where that large amount of money was being transferred to an individual the description becomes even more important.
If it was in fact a "payment" what was the PM paid for?
If it was in fact a “payment” what was the PM paid for?

Deny Al Qubaisi/ Aabar link

Under such awkward circumstances it is plainly unacceptable for the Prime Minister to be so coy about the identity and motivations of this anonymous benefactor he is now claiming paid in the money.

Sarawak Report exposed Khadem's playboy antics
Sarawak Report exposed Khadem’s playboy antics

Malaysians are at the very least entitled to an assurance that this whopping ‘gift/payment’ described by the MACC statement as being from ‘undisclosed donors from the Middle East’ was not connected in any way to Abu Dhabi’s Aabar fund and its sacked former Chairman, Khadem al Qubaisi?

This is because Al Qubaisi linked Aabar into a total of US$6.5 billion dollars of bonds raised by 1MDB in a series of unbelievably costly power purchase and joint venture deals without Abu Dhabi in the end raising a cent.

Large chunks of 1MDB’s missing monies appear to have disappeared into buying out ‘options’ given to Aabar for no apparent good reason.

Jho in characteristic pose with Paris Hilton
Jho in characteristic pose with Paris Hilton

Meanwhile, Aabar has simultaneously become involved in a number of investment deals with Najib’s business friend and proxy at 1MDB, Jho Low.

These have included an attempted buy out of London’s luxury Claridge’s Hotel group in 2011 and the purchase of Coastal Energy for US$2.3 billion in 2014.

Jho Low and Khadem, who share a taste for the nightclub scene (in stark contrast with al Qubaisi’s sober official image) have also become known as fellow party animals, close socially.

This has been particularly in the United States, where Al Qubaisi’s private venture, the Haakasan night club chain has become a firm fixture for Jho Low’s champagne fuelled extravaganzas, especially in Las Vegas.

Rita Ora sings a personalised Happy Birthday in Las Vegas to Haakasan owner Khadem al Qubaisi, who has been a conspicuous super spender in recent years.
Rita Ora sings a personalised Happy Birthday in Las Vegas to Haakasan owner Khadem al Qubaisi, who has been a conspicuous super spender in recent years.

Sarawak Report has already revealed that Good Star, the company which siphoned out the lion’s share of money that was paid by 1MDB into its first joint venture deal with PetroSaudi, paid a handsome US$20 million into Al Qubaisi’s personal Luxembourg bank account in 2012.

We ask whether this payment related to a deal with Jho Low or with 1MDB?

Al Qubaisi's party pal and 1MDB key contact Jho Low (Najib's link man for the fund) supplied the fizz as usual
Al Qubaisi’s party pal and 1MDB key contact Jho Low (Najib’s link man for the fund) supplied the fizz as usual

And, given how plainly unhealthy it would be for this fund or its chairman to reveal such a conflict of interest by paying Najib US$680 million, could the Prime Minister put concerns at rest and deny that Aabar and its flamboyant former Chairman are connected to this donation?

Insiders at Haakasan get all the fun round Khadem and Jho
Insiders at Haakasan get all the fun round Khadem and Jho

Aabar deal completed two days before US$680 million transfer

If Aabar/ Al Qubaisi were involved in the ‘donation/payment’ it would plainly represent a massive conflict of interest, given 1MDB’s ruinous adventures involving that fund.

Nevertheless, we reiterate that the denial should be demanded of the Prime Minister because of the very strong coincidental circumstances relating the transfer of the enormous sum of US$680 million into Najib’s own AmBank account in KL.

As Sarawak Report has already detailed the money arrived just two days after Goldman Sachs completed a hurried bond issue for US$3 billion on behalf of 1MDB on March 19th 2013.

This bond issue had been launched by 1MDB (of which Najib is the sole shareholder and signatory) immediately after the signing of a hasty joint venture with Aabar on March 12th,  which press reports explained was a 50:50 agreement to invest in the development of the Tun Razak Exchange ‘financial zone’ in KL.

This zone remains a wasteland and despite the ostentatious signing ceremony featuring Mr Al Qubaisi and his Deputy, Mohamed al-Husseiny, Aabar never contributed its half of the promised cash.

Posing at the photo shoot to promote the “RM18 billion deal” three weeks before parliament was dissolved, were the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, the CEO of 1MDB (Shahrol Halmi), the Chairman of 1MDB (Lodin Wok Kamaruddin), the Chairman of Falcon Bank and CEO of Aabar (Mohamed Badawy al-Husseiny) as well the Chairman of Aabar (Khaddem Al Qubassi) who has been closely linked to numerous deals with 1MDB and to the controversial business friend of the Prime Minister, Jho Low
Posing at the photo shoot to promote the “RM18 billion deal” three weeks before parliament was dissolved, were the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, the CEO of 1MDB (Shahrol Halmi), the Chairman of 1MDB (Lodin Wok Kamaruddin), the Chairman of Falcon Bank and CEO of Aabar (Mohamed Badawy al-Husseiny) as well the Chairman of Aabar (Khaddem Al Qubassi) who has been closely linked to numerous deals with 1MDB and to the controversial business friend of the Prime Minister, Jho Low

One major beneficiary of this rushed bond issue was the bank Goldman Sachs who extracted an enormous fee for the private (and secret) money raising exercise.

When questioned about its eyebrow raising commissions the bank indicated that the client had been in such a hurry that the bank had been obliged to assume greater risk by taking on the burden of the loan before finding investors.

So, why was Najib in such a hurry and is is not important that the PM absolutely dispels any possible conclusion that the signing of the joint venture (never honoured by Aabar) on 12th March; 1MDB’s hasty raising of US$3 billion towards that joint venture by 19th March and then the payment of the US$680 million into the Prime Minister’s account for supposedly ‘election purposes’ on 19th and 21st of March could in any way be events that are related?

Given that the PM has firmly said that this money was “not for personal use” and he has indicated it was spent by BN on the election (far in excess of all legal limits) what are onlookers to make of the fact that he dissolved Parliament and called that election just days later again on 3rd April?

Malaysians are understandably in need of reassurance that the aborted and unnecessarily expensive Aabar joint venture deal had nothing to do with the money that dropped like a thunderbolt into Najib’s account at this time and that it was some other mystery middle eastern who was so generous as to secretly provide it, no strings attached?

Complaints have been of snail's pace of progress in the multi-billion dollar project. Aabar never coughed up its side of the cash anyway
Complaints have been of snail’s pace of progress in the multi-billion dollar project. Aabar never coughed up its side of the cash anyway

Falcon Bank is owned by Aabar

After all, there is another extremely loud connection jangling in the minds of informed Malaysians linking Aabar to the Prime Minister’s finances in this matter.

As Sarawak Report and the Wall Street Journal pointed out when they revealed the existence of Najib’s secret pre-election ‘donation’ the money was traced as having originated from a BVI company account in Falcon Bank in Singapore.

It was transferred in two payments in dollar currency via the Wells Fargo Bank in the United States into one of Najib’s many AmPrivate Banking accounts in KL.
The owner of Falcon Bank is none other than Aabar.

The original Chairman of Falcon Bank, when it was bought by Aabar in 2009 had been Khadem al Qubaisi himself.  By the time of this particular transfer in 2013 the Chairman was his trusty and ubiquitous deputy Mohammed al-Husseiny (cited above as having attended the joint venture signing with 1MDB days before in KL).

The ubiquitous Deputy for Khadem al Qubaisi was Mohamed al-Husseiny
The ubiquitous Deputy for Khadem al Qubaisi was Mohamed al-Husseiny

So, once again we are presented with a glaring link with Aabar and another good reason for the Prime Minister to be forced to deny that this Abu Dhabi joint venture party, which has done so well out of 1MDB had nothing to do with the splendid secret donation that he received.

Aabar’s other Najib bail-outs

Rosmah's son Riza and partner at Red Granite finally admitted that the Aabar CEO had paid (personally) for their movie
Rosmah’s son Riza and partner at Red Granite finally admitted that the Aabar CEO had paid (personally) for their movie

It is appropriate in this context to remind readers of other acknowledged instances when Khadem and his deputy Mohammed al-Husseiny have been known to bail out Najib with terrifically generous investments.

The first occasion was when the Prime Minister and his son attempted to shut down the growing clamour in Hollywood over who had bankrolled Riza’s company Red Granite’s US$100 million investment in the production of the film Wolf of Wall Street.

After months of refusing to disclose their investors, in the face of speculation that none other than Riza’s good friend Jho Low might have been involved, Red Granite suddenly announced that the money had come from none other than the very same Mohammed al-Husseiny, Khadem’s deputy at Aabar, who had allegedly plucked the US$100 million out of his own pocket.

Since Mr al-Husseiny is merely an executive, all be it a senior one, at Aabar, this suggestion produced astonishment, but that has remained the story.

Of course, given Aabar’s financial ties with 1MDB, observers like Sarawak Report have been driven to question why this investment by al-Hussieny should be considered any more appropriate in terms of conflict of interest than if the financier had indeed been Jho Low?

We have received no reply on the matter.

Meanwhile, recent months have seen another even more blatant and significant intervention by Aabar to rescue Najib Razak’s reputation as Finance Minister and sole decision-maker at 1MDB.

In June, whilst the floundering fund was finding it impossible to pay the US$1 billion it owed in debt repayments and international banks were threatening to foreclose, Malaysia faced possible financial disaster threatened by 1MDB’s collapse.

Once again it was Aabar which at the eleventh hour put its hand in its deep pocket and paid the debt.

Even though al Qubaisi was by this stage sacked from all his posts at the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, in the wake of our exposes, Aabar responded to the Malaysian Prime Minister’s desperate pleas.

Malaysians must wonder what hold Najib has to influence Aabar in such a way.

In fact, according to an agreement later published on the London Stock Exchange (providing a transparency not available on such matters in Najib’s Malaysia) it was revealed that Aabar has agreed to pick up struggling 1MDB’s debts for the next 12 months in return for undisclosed “assets” to the value of those debts.

Baka tu mih munyi batang berita di menua Malaysia kemaya hari tu
Maybe just answer some questions instead, Prime Minister?

Despite entreaties from representatives of the public interest, Najib has refused to disclose what these assets promised to the Abu Dhabi fund might be.

However, once again Aabar has turned out to be present right at the heart of Najib’s dealings over 1MDB, which now faces being cannibalised and disbanded in a sea of losses and debt.

Which is why, for starters, Najib needs to promise Malaysia that the money that came into his private account had no links whatsoever with 1MDB’s involvements with Aabar, even though it came from a bank owned by Aabar two days after the negotiation of 1MDBs ‘strategic investment deal’ with Aabar raised US$3 billion in bonds, backed by a ‘letter of comfort’ from the Malaysian Government.

SARAWAK REPORT
 

Press Statement from Clare Rewcastle Brown (Sarawak Report)


I have been asked for response on this latest move by the Malaysian authorities to attempt to extradite me by issuing a warrant for my arrest, which they say they will pass to Interpol.

My first comment is that this action could hardly be more counter-productive on the part of a government that is seeking to assure the world that it is a sane democracy.

My action has been to publish information, which some in power do not like. Yet, the 'crime' they are accusing me of is of "an activity detrimental to democracy". It is they who are being detrimental to democracy by suppressing free speech and arresting people for questioning people in authority.

I am still unclear whether the agents of the Prime Minister are accusing me of "forging false documents" or obtaining documents through "criminal leakages", since they have simultaneously accused me of both in the past few days and have been rounding up all sorts of senior investigators to try and find out who might have passed me such leaks.

They need to make up their minds about this before they bring their charges and they really ought to produce some substantive and convincing evidence of their other accusation that I am part of some international plot intent on falsely accusing the Prime Minister of crimes for reasons unknown.

I am merely an investigative journalist who has been doing my job, by unravelling one hell of an international scandal involving people in high places and the grand larceny of public monies.

It's as simple as that - no plot and no vested interest. The interest of the public is my motivation and duty. Conversely, the public are at liberty to reach their own conclusions over what has motivated the recent actions of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, who has spent the past few days, sacking, removing and arresting just about anybody who has been officially engaged in investigating the scandal I have been reporting on - the missing billions from 1MDB. Moreover, he has not just attacked my blog and myself, but other reputable news organisations, closing down two papers in Malaysia.

If the Prime Minister had nothing to hide in this matter and if my reports were false there would be numerous more orthodox and far less disruptive methods of dealing with me than sacking his Deputy Prime Minister; sacking the AG; closing down the PAC and dismissing members of his cabinet. He could simply have issued libel proceedings or he could have produced evidence (e.g. correct bank statements and transfer documents) that would have shown my reports to be untrue.
 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Who Is The Mysterious Arab "Donor" Of The RM2.6 Billion? No Link To 1MDB?

SENSATIONAL FINDINGS! - Prime Minister Najib Razak's Personal Accounts Linked To 1MDB Money Trail MALAYSIA EXCLUSIVE!

SENSATIONAL FINDINGS! - Prime Minister Najib Razak's Personal Accounts Linked To 1MDB Money Trail MALAYSIA EXCLUSIVE!


2 Jul 2015

(Reproduced with permission)


This post is also available in: Malay, Iban
 

Mohamed Badawy al-Husseiny CEO of Aabar was also Chair of Falcon Bank at the time of the multi-million dollar transactions into Najib's account and he remains a current Board Member at the Aabar/IPIC owned bank.
Mohamed Badawy al-Husseiny CEO of Aabar was also Chair of Falcon Bank at the time of the multi-million dollar transactions into Najib’s account and he remains a current Board Member at the Aabar/IPIC owned bank.


In a shocking development it has been learnt that investigators have traced billions of ringgit linked to the 1MDB money trail into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts.

Amongst a series of key transactions it has been identified that a total of RM42 million recently flowed from a controversial company linked to 1MDB, SRC International Sdn Bhd, into the PM’s own private accounts.

These personal accounts were held clearly under the name of “Dato’Sri Mohd Najib Bin Hj Abd Razak” at AmPrivate Banking in Kuala Lumpur.

Even more sensationally, a total of US$681,999,976 (RM2.6 billion) was separately wire transferred from the Singapore branch of the Swiss Falcon private bank owned by the Abu Dhabi fund Aabar into the Prime Minister’s private AmBank account in Kuala Lumpur, on March 2013, just in advance of the calling of the General Election.

AG Abdul Gani Patail - the information is on his desk
AG Abdul Gani Patail – the information is on his desk


Aabar has been connected to numerous financial transactions involving 1MDB.

The transfers from the fund’s wholly owned Falcon Bank into Najib’s AmPrivate Banking account took place just days after the signing of a so-called “strategic partnership” between Malaysia and Abu Dhabi on 12th March 2013.

This resulted in the issuing of a US$3 billion bond guaranteed by the the Malaysian Government as part of a “50 50 joint venture between 1MDB and Aabar” to develop the Tun Razak Exchange project.

However, there have been many queries since about what happened to the money; about the failure to develop the Tun Razak Exchange project and about why Aabar itself never contributed, as promised, to the so-called joint venture?


Posing at the photo shoot to promote the "RM18 billion deal" three weeks before parliament was dissolved, were the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, the CEO of 1MDB (Shahrol Halmi), the Chairman of 1MDB (Lodin Wok Kamaruddin), the Chairman of Falcon Bank and CEO of Aabar (Mohamed Badawy al-Husseiny) as well the Chairman of Aabar (Khaddem Al Qubassi) who has been closely linked to numerous deals with 1MDB and to the controversial business friend of the Prime Minister, Jho Low.
Posing at the photo shoot to promote the “Strategic Partnership”just  days before the cash transfer from Falcon and three weeks before parliament was dissolved, were the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak; the CEO of 1MDB (Shahrol Halmi); the Chairman of 1MDB (Lodin Wok Kamaruddin); the Chairman of Falcon Bank and CEO of Aabar (Mohamed Badawy al-Husseiny) and the Chairman of Aabar (Khaddem Al Qubassi).


This stunning body of banking information has recently been received by a number of Malaysia’s top law enforcers, including the Attorney General.


It creates an extraordinary series of connections between 1MDB projects and the Prime Minister’s personal finances and it transforms the 1MDB investigation into a political crisis of the gravest magnitude in Malaysia.

SRC paid RM42 million to Najib Razak’s private accounts


The money taken from SRC International is a particularly shocking revelation, because this was money lent by the public pension fund KWAP and never accounted for.


SRC International Sdn Bhd was set up under the auspices of 1MDB in July 2011 and it is headed by none other than Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, a close friend of Jho Low, who was brought over to 1MDB from Sarawak’s UBG as the fund’s chief investment officer.

Najib's personal accounts move centre stage in the hunt for 1MDB's missing billions
Najib’s personal bank accounts move centre stage in the hunt for 1MDB’s missing billions


In 2010 Nik Kamil was the ‘link man’ between UBG, 1MDB and PetroSaudi for channelling US$260 million of 1MDB money into the purchase of UBG from Jho Low and the then Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.
He was then transferred to become CEO of 1MDB’s new subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.
SRC International courted immediate controversy in 2011 by borrowing RM4 billion from Malaysia’s public retirement fund Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP).
Over subsequent years 1MDB’s political critics have pressed the government to understand where that money went and have repeatedly complained at the lack of information provided by the company’s statements and accounts.
Most recently the Prime Minister, who had eventually taken SRC under the direct control of his own Ministry of Finance, announced in March that much of the money had been invested in a Mongolian company Gobi Coal & Energy.
However, documents now in the hands of Malaysian prosecutors, show that just the previous month (February 10th 2015) SRC International had transferred RM10 million into the account number 2112022011880 of “Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Hj Abd Razak” at AmPrivate Bank in Kuala Lumpur.


Transfers this year in February from SRC into Najib’s personal account


Likewise, on December 26th 2014, two earlier transactions had seen the transfer of another RM27 million and RM5 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd into AmPrivate Banking account number 2112022011906, which also belongs to “Dato’Sri Mohd Najib Bin Hj Abd Razak”.



Transfers last December from SRC into Najib’s personal accounts


The money trail from SRC International to Najib has been clearly detailed by investigators and is also in the possession of the international financial newspaper The Wall Street Journal.


Sarawak Report has acquired copies of the documentation relating to the case, which corroborate that out of a total of RM50 million transferred from of SRC in these transactions RM42 million went straight into the Prime Minister’s own accounts.


The findings present a clear flow of money from SRC International’s AmBank Islamic account number 2112022010650 through two separate Malaysian companies into two of Najib’s own personal accounts at the AmBank Group’s private arm.


The transfers first passed from the 1MDB/ Ministry of Finance owned company, SRC International Sdn Bhd, whose Director and CEO is Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, to a second company Gandingun Mentari Sdn Bhd, of which Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil is also a Director and SRC is the major shareholder.


This account was also held at AmBank Islamic, account number 8881003806948.


Key role of Nik Faisal Arif Kamil at SRC and transfer company Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd
Key role of Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil at SRC and transfer company Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd


Then the money was transferred on to another company Ihsan Perdana Sdn, of whom the shareholders of a share capital of RM100,000 are one Datuk Suboh Bin Mohd Yassin and again Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.


Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd was the second company in the trail with an account at Affin Bank.
Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd was the second company in the trail with an account at Affin Bank.


The Ihsan Perdana account number 106180001108 is lodged with another Malaysian bank, Affin Islamic Bank, of whom one of the Board members is none other than Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, who is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of 1MDB.


Key link in the chain - Lodin Wok Kamaruddin is Chair of 1MDB and Board Member of Affin Bank
Key link in the chain – Lodin Wok Kamaruddin is Chair of 1MDB and Board Member of Affin Bank


Two days after the first transaction initiated on Christmas Eve, the vast majority of this original RM40 million sum was passed on Boxing Day 2014, in two tranches, to two separate accounts belonging to Najib.


RM27 million went to his personal AmPrivate Banking account number 2112022011880 and RM5 million went to his personal AmPrivate Banking account number 2112022011906.

SRC International – February 2015 pay out


The investigation shows a second series of payments, which took place in February of this year, following the same pattern of transactions.


On this later occasion SRC International first paid out RM5 million on 5th February 2015 to the Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil controlled company Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd.  Then the next day on 6th February a further RM5 million was transferred to the same account.


Lodin and his team at Affin Islamic Bank
Lodin and his team at Affin Islamic Bank


Each sum was immediately transferred within the same day to the same Ihsan Perdana account as before at Affin Islamic Bank.


Later, on 10th February, the entire combined sum of RM10 million was forwarded straight into one of the personal accounts at AmPrivate Banking used in the previous transactions – Account Number 2112022011906, registered in the name of “Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Hj And Razak”.


The transfer documents cite the purpose of the money as being for unspecified “CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] programmes”.  Why such a programmes would ever be conducted through the private accounts of the Minister in charge of the public company out of borrowing from the state pension fund remains unclear.


Falcon Bank is a discreet bank promoted towards the super-wealthy.  It is owned by Abu Dhabi's Aabar Fund.
Falcon Bank is a discreet bank promoted towards the super-wealthy. It is owned by Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Fund.

US$680,999,976 from Falcon Bank straight to Najib!


A further extraordinary transaction cited in this official investigation into 1MDB will attract the particular interest of international and US regulators, not only because of its shocking size, but also because it comprises a US dollar transaction through Wells Fargo Bank in New York.



Hundreds of millions of dollars wired from a BVI company account at Falcon Bank (Tanore Finance) to Najib’s personal AmPrivate Bank account days before the calling of the 2013 General Election


Malaysian followers of the 1MDB scandal will note that familiar names linked to 1MDB and Jho Low at the Abu Dhabi Aabar fund are closely involved.


Khadem al Qubaisi, ex-head of Falcon, Aabar and CEO of IPIC
Khadem al Qubaisi, ex-head of Falcon, Aabar and CEO of IPIC


Falcon Bank, which sent these enormous sums in March 2013, is a Swiss Private Bank, formerly called AIG Private Bank, which was bought up by IPIC (of which Aabar is a subsidiary) in 2009.


The original Chairman of the Board of Falcon Bank was none other than Khadem al Qubasi, the Aabar Chairman and IPIC CEO, who was at the heart of a series of controversial deals with 1MDB and simultaneous private ventures with Jho Low.


Al Qubaisi was sacked from all his official posts in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, following a series of exposes in Sarawak Report about his dealings with 1MDB, his extravagant and unaccountable wealth and his flamboyant behaviour in nightclubs – as well as a mysterious payment of US$20 million into his private account by the company Good Star in 2012.


Good Star was controlled by the 1MDB connected businessman Jho Low and the company was the recipient of US$1.19 billion siphoned off from the PetroSaudi joint venture, according to investigations by Sarawak Report.

Al Qubaisi was succeeded as Falcon Chairman by his CEO at Aabar, Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny.


Both these men have been closely involved in all the various deals between Aabar and 1MDB and it was Badawy Al-Husseiny who was in the post as the Chairman of Falcon when the massive transfers of hundreds of millions of dollars were made to Najib’s account in March 2013.


More deals involving Aabar's Khadem al Qubaisi and Mohammed Al-Husseini - Aabar purchased a share of RHB bank in 2011
More deals involving Aabar’s Khadem al Qubaisi and Mohammed Al-Husseini – Aabar purchased a share of RHB bank in 2011


Indeed Al-Husseiny remains on the Falcon Board to this day and also remains in place as Chief Executive of Aabar, which is a subsidiary of IPIC, which has just controversially bailed out 1MDB by agreeing to pay its outstanding debts of US$1 billion and to indemnify its repayments on a further $3.5 billion, in return for promised “assets” that have remained unspecified on the London Stock Exchange.


Despite the promise by the Malaysian Government that it would not agree to guarantee further loans to 1MDB, the LSE announcement has made clear that the Prime Minister has indeed made just this commitment to IPIC in this published agreement.


Close connections - Riza Aziz and Jho Low at the launch of Wolf of Wall Street - allegedly paid for by Aabar's CEO and Falcon Bank's Chairman Al-Husseiny
Close connections – Riza Aziz and Jho Low at the launch of Wolf of Wall Street – allegedly paid for by Aabar’s CEO and Falcon Bank’s Chairman Al-Husseiny


Interestingly, it was none other than the same Mr Husseiny who, after months of speculation, finally came forward to claim that it was he who personally invested the US$100 million in the Hollywood Movie Wolf of Wall Street made by Red Granite Productions, which belongs to Najib Razak’s step-son Riza Aziz (son of Rosmah Mansor).


No one has been able to explain how a salaried official like Mr Husseiny could afford to make such a vast one off investment in the first major movie project of a son of a client.

The detail on the transactions


The transfers made by Falcon Bank’s Singapore branch to Najib Razak’s personal account just days before the Prime Minister called the last election are eye-wateringly large.


On 21st March 2013 US$619,999,988 was paid out of account number 8550299001 at Singapore’s Falcon Private Bank, which is registered in the name of a BVI company named Tanore Finance Group.

This money was sent to yet another account registered in the name of “Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Hj And Razak” at AmPrivate Banking in Malaysia.  The number of this account was 2112022009694.



Hundreds of millions of dollars wired from a BVI company account at Falcon Bank (Tanore Finance) to Najib’s personal AmPrivate Bank account days before the calling of the 2013 General Election


The documentation also shows that a second payment was made four days later on 25th March 2013, via the same transaction channels, of US$60,999,988 into the same account belonging to Najib.


This account was closed, according to our information, on 30th August of that year.


During the intervening period was the GE13 election campaign, where the issue of vote buying featured heavily.  It therefore seems inevitable that questions will now be asked whether the Prime Minister was using this transfer of money as a personal ‘election fund’?


Indeed UMNO candidates have confided that Najib handed them multi million personal cheques, signed by the Prime Minister himself, in order to cover election expenses.

Suspicious transactions


Also at issue is whether the banks involved ever alerted regulators to the possibility of a suspicious transaction, according to money laundering regulations?


The wire transfer documents show that these multi-million dollar transfers were handled through New York by the American Wells Fargo Bank, International Branch.


The revelations will inevitably prompt calls for the regulators in Singapore, Switzerland and now the United States to examine the activities of a Swiss private bank based in Singapore through the US in paying such a sum into the private account of a politically connected individual.


Malaysia’s own regulatory authorities, on the other hand, have been presumably paralysed by the notorious and long-standing refusal of the Attorney General, Abdul Gani Paital, to ever prosecute cases involving senior members of UMNO.

Role of Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil is revealed


Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil - key link between 1MDB, Najib and Jho Low
Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil – key link between 1MDB, Najib and Jho Low


Another fascinating aspect of this investigation is the revealing of the pivotal role of Jho Low’s known close side-kick Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil in the close circle of operators around Najib Razak.


A letter from Nik to the branch manager of AmIslamic Bank in Jalan Raja Chulan, KL dated 20th January 2014 reveals his management of several of the bank accounts owned by Najib, including two involved in the SRC investigation.


Nik Kamil refers to three accounts, 211202201188-0/211202201189-8/211202201190-6, for which he reveals he has been appointed “Authorised Personnel” with the right to deposit cash.


Because he and the account holder (Najib Razak) have schedules involving “various international trips and meetings scheduled and other potential ad hoc requirements”, he explains to the branch manager that there will be occasions where he “may not be available to provide necessary transfer and remittance instructions to the Bank”.


He therefore wished to nominate a representative to “arrange for urgent cash deposits into the accounts where required for purposes of, inter-alia, clearances of urgent cheques against my instruction”.


This revelation shows that Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil is not only the Director of the 1MDB subsidiary SRC, but also the manager of private accounts owned by Najib Razak, which have received money from that company.


This new information, related to the on-going scandal of 1MDB and already being reported internationally, is likely to send shock waves through Malaysia’s banking and political circles.


Whatever the excuses (an of course there will be attempts at plenty) such vast transfers of money into a sitting Prime Minister’s private account cannot be ignored.


Neither can the unorthodox and irregular handling of public borrowings from an old age pension fund entrusted once again to the same Prime Minister cum Finance Minister, who allowed money from SRC to also pass into his personal accounts.


SARAWAK REPORT