Sunday, September 27, 2015

Partying & "Investing" With 1MDB's Money?

'King Khadem' And His Sovereign Wealth! - IN DEPTH INVESTIGATION

'King Khadem' And His Sovereign Wealth! - IN DEPTH INVESTIGATION

26 Sep 2015

(Reproduced with permission)

Khadem's pad has hot water issues!
Khadem’s pad has hot water issues!

The most expensive mansion in Beverley Hills (reputedly) glitters with glass atop a cascading hillside of manicured terraced lawns – its projected price tag is around US$45 million plus.

According to court depositions, however, a recent Arab guest at the property was unimpressed by a temporary lack of hot water in the Palumbo designed futurist fantasy, which has sparked a revealing row about its ownership.

When the house changed hands last year (following a total rebuild by top designer Michael Palumbo) the cash buyer was announced to have been a British born ‘nightclub mogul’ named Neil Moffitt. However, this was questioned.

Moffitt - Genuine Mogul or just a front man?
Neil Moffitt – genuine mogul or just a front for Walker Tower penthouse buy?

Commentators at the time referred to raised eyebrows that even a man with the reported income of Mr Moffitt (it had just been announced he had sold his company Angel Management to the Hakkasan nightclub chain for some US$100 million) could have afforded such an expensive property.

After all, this was pretty much at the same time as he was also being identified as the buyer of yet another record breaking purchase, a US$50 million penthouse flat (now up for re-sale for US$70 million) in the Walker Building in New York.

Most expensive purchase ever - was it Moffitt or was it Khadem?
Priciest purchase ever in just 5 minutes – was it Moffitt or was it Khadem?

So was he the real buyer?

Moffitt, according to our researches, has had a checkered career as an ‘impresario’, since starting out as a bar owner in his native Stratford upon Avon before gravitating to Las Vegas.

In 2009 he was broke, say insiders, following the closure of the Vegas club he was managing by the name of ICE.

He was forced to sell up his dance music company by the name of Godskitchen, in order to fund a divorce from his British wife.

But, some point in the following year he struck a lucrative encounter with a man of apparent enormous means, whose obsession with nightclubs had seen him perhaps inevitably gravitate to Moffitt’s current corner of the globe.

This was Khadem al Qubaisi, who was soon to also link up with Malaysia’s most controversial businessman Jho Low both in business and on the nightclub scene:
“Moffitt was like a lousy shark hanging around looking for rich fools and both Khadem and Jho Low floated in around the same time – Moffitt netted them both and the rest is history” was how one Vegas insider observed the situation to Sarawak Report.

“All the stories about KAQ [Khadem Al Qubaisi] not being happy he did not get the table he wanted in Wynns is a load of rubbish, simply Moffitt used his usual gift of trying to find money explaining Vegas could be taken. KAQ jumped at the opportunity and today we see why” .
Promoting Hakkasan - Al Qubaisi's instant nightclub phenomenon..... girls and girls
Subtle? – promoting Hakkasan, Al Qubaisi’s instant US nightclub phenomenon…..  girls and bits of girls

Referring to Jho Low’s own arrival on the Las Vegas nightclub scene sometime later in 2010 the same observer reflects:
“Did Moffitt introduce KAQ to Low? I would bet 99% on this, as Moffitt liked to play the matchmaker and the more wealthy people he knew made himself look bigger.  KAQ and Low like the girls and everything around it, Moffitt had seen the weakness in KAQ and pushed him into having his own clubs. KAQ was a sort of very rich nobody in Las Vegas until Moffitt promoted him through Hakkasan – then the girls were non stop. Low same thing as KAQ – ugly but with deep pockets – they are now like the three best friends on the planet.”
Manager Moffitt - but where did the money come from?
Manager Moffitt – but where did the money come from?

This is an account that contrasts with the stellar trajectory now being presented to the press to explain Moffitt’s sudden big bang arrival as a top player in the US entertainment scene.

However, it provides a compelling explanation for Moffitt’s sudden transformation into one of the biggest investors in America.

With respect to the Beverley Hills mansion, it is the designer Michael Palumbo himself who has cemented allegations that the real buyer of 1201 Laurel Way was indeed Khadem Al Qubaisi, the ex-Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund manager and Moffitt’s later Hakkasan, confirming him as the source of the mega-money behind Moffitt.

Al Qubaisi's sober Abu Dhabi image gets shed in Vegas and San Tropez - where his parties with pal Jho Low have become legendary.
Al Qubaisi’s sober Abu Dhabi image gets shed in Vegas and San Tropez – where his parties with pal Jho Low have become legendary.

The papers submitted in Palumbo’s court case against Moffitt, which is due to be heard in the California Central District Court early in October, provide some fascinating insights into the relationship between Moffitt and ‘KAQ’ and also into Al Qubaisi’s perceived level of wealth.

Khadem, after all, was only a salaried official at Aabar and IPIC, the wealth funds from which he was sacked earlier this year, which  raises considerable questions as to how he himself became so phenomenally rich.

According to Palumbo’s court deposition, the Arab guest who had suffered the disturbing episode without hot water at 1201 Laurel Way, was a fellow by the name of Darwish, described as Khadem al Qubaisi’s brother.

The matter had apparently filled Mr Al Qubaisi with shame, given the huge expense of the property:
“Mike, [wrote Moffitt in February 2015]….  As you know KAQ was very annoyed at the ongoing situation at 1201 Laurel Way .. on a recent visit from his brother there were many issues with the property not limited to a land slip and lack of water, which led to a very embarrassing situation for both he and I when his brother returned to Abu Dhabi. Clearly this was not what was expected when purchasing a 31 Million Dollar property… As I stated to you KAQ became so disenchanted by the combination of circumstances he no longer wanted his company to be involved in this project or with your future development efforts” [letter cited in the current fraud case against Moffitt relating to a second property, 1169 Hillcrest, Beverley Hills.]
According to Palumbo, Moffitt used this incident as an excuse to break an agreement over a later separate development, in order to wrest control of a multi-million dollar property (1169 Hillcrest) from the designer, who is now prosecuting him for fraud.

Palumbo’s deposition describes Moffitt as:
“.. a wealthy British-born businessman and Chief Executive Officer of the Hakkasan Group. Upon information and belief, Moffitt acts as an agent and/or intermediary in the United States for certain wealthy Arab investors, including Khadem Al Qubaisi, Chairman of  the Hakkasan Group….  Moffitt told Palumbo that if he partnered with ‘His Excellency’ [Khadem al Qubaisi] who has an estimated net worth of billions, Palumbo would “never need to look for money again”
It appears therefore that the money behind Moffitt is established as being Al Qubaisi’s in this case.

Jho Low - Third man in the billionaire party line up with Khadem and Moffit
Jho Low – Third man in the billionaire party line up with Khadem and Moffit

Likewise with the purchase of the Walker Tower Penthouse, where Sarawak Report has already previously identified Al Qubaisi as the actual buyer.

Documents examined by us reveal that  the transaction was negotiated through Khadem Al Qubaisi’s Luxembourg bank manager Marc Abroisien of Edmond de Rothschild Banque Privee, on behalf of an off-shore vehicle named Vasco Investment Services S.A., which is owned by KAQ and based in the British Virgin Islands.

The law firm which negotiated the penthouse purchase was New York’s Greenberg Traurig, which holds several connections with both Al Qubaisi and Jho Low’s various business ventures and other interests.

No wonder real estate agents were left gasping after Moffitt agreed to sign on the deal after a five minute visit – he was just the front.

Khadem's application to the Tower Block owners as purchaser of the penthouse property
Khadem’s application to the Tower Block owners as purchaser of the penthouse property

Sovereign wealth?

However, the profile of Mr Al Qubaisi as some form of royal ‘His Excellency’ from the Emirates worth billions of dollars is also troubling, given his actual status in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Sacked from Abu Dhabi's public wealth funds, but several parallel private businesses remain
Sacked from Abu Dhabi’s wealth funds, but several parallel private businesses remain – eg Nural Island Abu Dhabi

He is in fact a commoner and was a salaried official working in very senior positions in the International Petroleum Investment Company, Aabar and their various subsidiaries.

Aabar lost billions under Al Qubaisi’s management, experiencing a drop in its base capital from over US$70 billion to under US$15 billion in that period, which hardly suggests special bonuses on performance.

Yet, Mr Al Qubaisi nevertheless clearly numbers amongst the global super-rich, as evidenced by his personal property purchases and ostentatious spending.

He has also been pouring hundreds of millions into private businesses, which continue to operate separately from Aabar and IPIC, from which he has now been sacked.

In the United States these businesses number most notably the company Tamaseem Real Estate Limited (Abu Dhabi) which directly owns the nightclub and restaurant chain Hakkasan, of which Al Qubaisi is Chairman.

Wow Hakkasan!

Hakkasan’s expenditures and expansion over the past two years have taken the entertainment industry by storm and turned into fast moving global phenomenon, with Neil Moffitt at the helm as Chief Executive and PR front man.

Moffitt presides over another opening with the usual Hakkasan style of presentation.
Moffitt presides (with familiar taste) at the opening of Hakkasan’s Las Vegas club in 2013 – 
the most ‘expensive club ever built’

The level of investment and expansion has been nothing short of seismic, projecting Mr Moffitt into the front line of the US entertainment industry’s line up of ‘power players‘.

"After making his fortune revamping distressed assets in the U.K. food and beverage industry in the 1990s, music and nightlife entrepreneur Neil Moffitt tore his way through Europe's electronic music scene with his Godskitchen superclub brand, producing sold-out dance events in the U.K. and Ibiza, and launching the popular Global Gathering festival. Now, he's settling in Las Vegas to try his hand at U.S. nightlife through his Angel Management Group. Read more:  Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

“After making his fortune revamping distressed assets in the U.K. food and beverage industry 
in the 1990s, music and nightlife entrepreneur Neil Moffitt tore his way through Europe’s 
electronic music scene with his Godskitchen superclub brand, producing sold-out dance events in 
the U.K. and Ibiza, and launching the popular Global Gathering festival. Now, he’s settling in Las 
Vegas to try his hand at U.S. nightlife through his Angel Management Group..” [Rolling Stone 
Over the past three years Moffitt as the Chief Executive of Hakkasan has rolled out an astonishing series of bars and restaurants world wide.  The Chairman of the enterprise and also Chairman of its registered owner Tasameem Real Estate LLC has been Khadem Al Qubaisi.

Moffitt's former 'Euro-empire' - Bar M, now closed
Moffitt’s former ‘Bar M’ in Stratford, now closed

The sums involved been phenomenal, with the Hakkasan nightclub opened on the re-vamped Studio 54 site in Las Vegas in 2013 rated as the most expensive ever built.

This was followed by a string of Las Vegas venues including Wet Republic, Stingaree, HQ Nightclub, HQ Beach Club, and Omnia, which hosted a massive opening event at the original Caesars Palace venue in January, itself a once favoured haunt of Jho Low.

The investment has continued with clubs in LA and across the world – Moffitt has declared to newspapers that he plans 15 mega-clubs to open internationally, causing other nightclub entrepreneurs to whisper that they fear a strategy to put the rest of them out of business.

Omnia - bigger and better by far..
Omnia – bigger and better by far..

A parallel restaurant chain has also rolled out across the US and beyond and the brand is now extending into a global portfolio of luxury hotels – all mega investments since the crash period of 2010.

And the spending has not been restricted to venues – much of the gossip around Hakkasan has been on the subject of the eye-popping fees being paid by the group to its ‘cult’ DJs, whom it alleges are the terrific draw bringing custom into their clubs.

A record spinner named Calvin Harris, who happens to be an old friend of Moffitt, has been signed up for a reported $400,000 a night to perform at the Omnia Club, forming just one of a team of DJs who are being paid what would appear to be unnecessarily enormous fees for the skill set involved.

Calvin in action - $400k a night
Calvin in action – $400k a night

The names include promoted ‘icons’ such Afrojack, Chuckie, Oliver Heldens, Nicky Romero and Showtek, all paid astonishing sums.

The question on several lips therefore is why is the chain relaxed about paying so much more than it logically needs to for such services – in other words who are the shareholders behind the nightclub industry’s biggest splash in years and why are they so keen on flushing their money through these clubs?


Moffitt has proved highly non-committal on the matter of who owns the company which owns Hakkasan and its related businesses. According to the UK Telegraph:
He is cagey about Hakkasan’s financiers, however. When pressed for details of shareholders or any of the company’s recent fundraising activities, he simply says: “Hakkasan is a private company based out of Abu Dhabi,” although he does say that he has skin in the game himself.  “I’m very invested in the business.” [Telegraph Dec 2014]
There is of course the widespread legend about how one of Abu Dhabi’s royal figures Sheikh Mansour (owner of Man City) enjoyed a Chinese meal at the original Hakkasan restaurant in London’s fashionable Knightsbridge and promptly bought out the restaurant and launched the brand.

Owner of Man United - is Mansour also behind Hakkasain?
Owner of Man City – is Mansour (front left) also behind Hakkasan?

Mansour was Khaddem’s boss as the Chairman of the International Petroleum Investment Fund and is popularly understood to have been the big money behind parallel private enterprises also headed by Al Qubaisi.

However, Chinese cuisine in Knightsbridge is one thing. The bare flesh, booze and bawdiness of the nightclub scene in the world’s premiere gambling capital Las Vegas is quite another.

Has a member of Abu Dhabi’s conservative ruling family really sponsored this mass investment in ‘Sin City’ and beyond?

Club scene - Al Qubaisi
Club scene – Al Qubaisi

Or is Tasameem a more personal enterprise on the part of the club-addicted KAQ, whose double life we revealed shortly before his retirement from the sovereign wealth business earlier this year?

If so, how did Mr Al Qubaisi come to amass so much personal wealth?

Sultan of San Trop

There seems little doubt that much of the conspicuous consumption by KAQ is indeed entirely personal.

Not only are the properties in the US indicative, but our research has unearthed an extraordinary accumulation of wealth and assets also across Europe, most particularly in his favoured watering hole in the South of France, home to the favourite discotheques and yachting marinas of the super-rich.

Al Qubaisi is a famed fixture of the party scene in the Cote d’Azure and San Tropez with a string of properties in the region and also apartments in Paris.

KAQ's pink Bugatti - personally branded in Cote d'Azure
KAQ’s pink Bugatti – personally branded in Cote d’Azure

His fleet of fast cars, including two Bugatti’s emblazoned with his personal brand of KAQ hang outside his pad at Boulevard Croisette in Cannes.

Property companies in France, lined up under the names of SCI KAQ 1, SCI KAQ 2, 3, 4, and 5 also represent his ownership of several high-end apartments in Av Vaquerie, Av Montaigne, Av Lena, E. Reclus and Val de Pons in Paris.

Our researches indicate that a number of other companies under his encompassing VASCO Trust own a Formula One car, a jet, an interest in one of the world’s larges yachts (Topaz) and various other items of real estate interests in Spain and elsewhere, all managed by his bankers Edmond de Rothschild, Luxembourg.

Money means power in France
Money means power in France

Khadem’s conspicuous wealth in France has given him apparent clout in the highest circles, according to our information, with rumours of an influential relationship with the former president and now once again presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy.

Just last February, before Al Qubaisi was removed from his posts in Abu Dhabi, Sarkozy caused anger amongst party supporters in France by flying to UAE during a critical political moment, in order to attend an IPIC meeting headed by Al Qubaisi.

Sarkozy was alleged by the press to have been well-paid for his pains and with politicians looking for financial backers for the up-coming election, Al Qubaisi is clearly regarded as a man with powerful connections in France.

More on the Tasameem mystery

Key role - Edmond de Rothschild Banque Privee in Luxembourg
Key role – Edmond de Rothschild Banque Privee in Luxembourg

With regard to the source of such spending power, Sarawak Report has researched further interesting evidence.

According to documents accessed by this site, Qubaisi’s private Luxembourg bank, Edmond de Rothschild, has specified him to be the “sole ultimate beneficial owner” of a number of off-shore legal entities managed by them.

The list includes a company named Tasameen (sic) Investment SA in the BVI.

This revelation begs the question whether this off-shore company might in fact be the ultimate beneficial owner of the Abu Dhabi owner of the Hakkasan chain, because a strange tangle of names has only caused further confusion about this matter which Moffitt has been so reluctant to clarify.

After all, when the London based Hakkasan restaurant was originally bought up to launch the brand in 2008, reports indicated that, far from being a private investment by Sheikh Mansour or anyone else, this was a purchase by the Abu Dhabi government owned Investment Authority ADIA, through its known property arm ‘Tasameem':

Tasameem is the property investment arm of ADIA
Tasameem is the property investment arm of ADIA

Tasameem is indeed registered as a property investment subsidiary of ADIA, however Hakkasan does not appear to number amongst its listed acquisitions.

Who was the real sponsor? ADIA or Tasameem Real Estate LLC
Tasameem Real Estate LLC hired Arabtec, an Aabar company, to build P17

Research shows on the other hand that there is an entirely separate private company in Abu Dhabi operating under the very similar name of Tasameem Real Estate LLC, which although it is closely connected to Khadem Al Qubaisi (who is the Chairman) has no link whatsoever with ADIA or any of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth funds, such as Aabar or IPIC.

Tasameem Real Estate LLI is an extremely big player in terms of investment in the gulf and it is clear that this is the company which owns Hakkasan and not the ADIA sovereign wealth fund, as was misleadingly understood to be the case.

It is a distinction that the Hakkasan chain’s own website makes abundantly clear:
“Hakkasan Group is owned by Tasameem Real Estate LLC, an Abu Dhabi-based investment company”. [Hakkasan website]
We therefore ask is this company chaired by Khadem Al Qubaisi in any part a subsidiary of the BVI company Tasameen Investment SA owned by Khadem Al Qubaisi, or is it owned in any part by Sheikh Mansour who is widely considered to be the ‘real money’ behind Khadem’s private ventures?

The answer can in fact be found thanks to a Tampa Florida court case (see below).

Still big in the Gulf

KAQ is Chair of 1st Energy Bank, whose largest shareholder is Tasameem
KAQ is Chair of 1st Energy Bank, whose largest shareholder is Tasameem

Tasameem Real Estate LLC has meanwhile developed considerable parallel shared interests with Aabar and IPIC over the period in which Al Qubaisi managed all three companies.

These interests in many cases still remain, as does Khadem’s private role in a number of major concerns identified in the Gulf by Sarawak Report.

For example, Al Quabaisi remains a key player in at least two private banks.

He is Chairman of Bahrain’s First Energy Bank (started 2012), whose largest shareholder is again Tasameem Real Estate Company LLC.

Is he Chair as the owner of Tasameem or as the representative of the owner of Tasameem?
Is he Chair as the owner of Tasameem or as the representative of the owner of Tasameem?

And he is also the second largest shareholder at the Alizz Islamic Bank in Oman (also founded in 2012)  in which he holds a personal 15% shareholder stake after none other that the sovereign wealth fund he chaired Aabar (30% stake) and again First Energy Bank (15% stake).

Tangle of joint public and private investments managed by KAQ - who took the falls and who took the profits?
Tangle of joint public and private investments managed by KAQ – who took the falls and who took
the profits?

In a separate venture Tasameem Real Estate made major investments in the private jet company Xojet in 2008, only to see Aabar take over as the major investor in 2010.

The P17 Tower in Dubai was commissioned by Tasameem Real Estate, which then hired Arabtec owned by Aabar to build it.

These businesses alone indicate a tangled overlap between investments by the sovereign funds, which Al Qubaisi was tasked with managing through the State on behalf of his IPIC Chariman Sheikh Mansour and his private interests through companies like Tasameem.

Front for Sheikh Mansour? 

The assumption has always been therefore that Khadem Al Qubaisi has been managing Mansour’s private investments alongside managing the public funds he is responsible for and that the money was not his in either case.

Santander building - Europe's most valuable real estate complex was secretly being targeted by KAQ.
Santander building – Europe’s most valuable real estate complex was secretly being targeted by KAQ.

Yet, there is solid evidence that at least some of his major private ventures have been on his own initiative, which goes a considerable way towards explaining Al Qubaisi’s private wealth.

Earlier this week, for example, Sarawak Report reported how a European court battle, relating to the ownership of Madrid’s Santander Bank Building, has revealed a similar tangle of public and private Al Qubaisi interests, with the Aabar fund posing as the major and exposed shareholder in a loan venture in which Al Qubaisi had also taken a secret private stake.

Meanwhile, a separate court case in Tampa, Florida has also revealed the true ownership of Hakkasan’s parent company Tasameem Real Estate Investment.

How a Florida case outed KAQ

The case, which was brought by an investment broker Capital Trans International (CTI) against IPIC, Aabar and Tasameem Real Estate Investment in 2013, cited Khadem Al Qubaisi as the responsible party controlling all three companies – two of them public wealth funds and the third entirely private:
Tasameem [Real Estate LLC] is private limited liability company organized under the laws of Abu Dhabi and has its principal place of business there. The government of Abu Dhabi had no role in the formation of Tasameem.”
“The Defendants [IPIC, Aabar and Tasameem] are tied together by their shared leadership found in Mr. Khadem Al Qubaisi.”  [Florida Middle Court]
Much of the subsequent court battle (which was eventually dismissed as being outside of Florida jurisdiction) then focused on CTI’s insistence on knowing who were the beneficial owners of Tasameem Real Estate LLC in the face of Al Qubaisi’s reluctance to provide that information.

Al Qubaisi's legendary fondness for the fast life appears to have heightened the appeal of investing in clubs
Al Qubaisi’s legendary fondness for the fast life appears to have heightened the appeal of investing in clubs

The court eventually commanded that the ownership documents should be produced, revealing none other than Khadem Al Qubaisi himself and a partner by the name of Saeed Mohd Butti Khalfan Al Qebaisi, an apparent relative, as the two partners behind the company.

There is no reference to Sheikh Mansour, which dispels all rumours that the big money behind the Vegas nightclub boom belongs to him!

However, this confirmation of his direct ownership of the Haakasan chain intensifies the mystery as to how Qubaisi, who is now with Jho Low at the centre of Malaysia’s 1MDB/IPIC missing money mystery, got to be so extremely rich?

Private partnership for KAQ, but no involvement of the Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mansour
Private partnership for KAQ, but no involvement of the Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mansour

Barclays deal began the rise to riches?

Amanda Staverley, the successful investment advisor in the Gulf who was friendly with KAQ
Amanda Staveley – popular investment advisor in the Gulf who was friendly with KAQ

According to researches by Sarawak Report Khadem’s first steps into the category of personal super-wealth took place as a result of the highly controversial Barclays rescue deal conducted during the 2008 financial crash.

The British bank was trying to avoid a government bail out and sold shares worth £3.5 billion apparently to Sheikh Mansour.

The deal was orchestrated by a close personal friend of Khadem Al Qubaisi of the time, Amanda Staverley – he was then CEO of IPIC with Chairman Sheikh Mansour as his boss.

There has been considerable confusion as to whether it was Mansour or IPIC which actually put up the intial risk with the investment. However, in the outcome it was stated that the investor was not IPIC (as had originally been reported by Barclays) but Mansour, who then profited personally to the tune of £3.1 billion on re-selling the shares a few months later.
“Khadem became the golden boy after the Barclays deal and nobody could question him” observes one Middle East writer, “but look at all his subsequent investments at Aabar, they were all boys toys [cars, jets, space ventures] and they lost a lot of money”
The Barclays deal, which was managed by Staveley and Al Qubaisi, has been subjected to investigation by the UK serious fraud office, not only with regard to the reporting irregularities but also the complaint by shareholders that an enormous and unusual commission of £110 million had also been written into the deal to be paid upfront to the investor, nominally Sheikh Mansour.

The Hakkasan nightclub look
The Hakkasan nightclub look

There appeared to be no reason to write this commission into an already highly profitable opportunity for the Sheikh.

Investigations, by the magazine Euromoney have subsequently shown however that the shares in Barclays were in fact held by a series of off shore companies, PCP Gulf Invest 1, 2 and 3 that had been incorporated by Staverley and then placed under the sole ownership of Khadem al Qubaisi’s own company KAQ Holdings.

Euromoney also concludes from the documents that all of the questionable £110 million ‘commission’ on the deal was “divided up on a rough-and-ready basis between Sheikh Mansour’s associates and advisers… Staveley; Khadem Al Qubaisi; Al Jassim; and one Said” managed under the control of Al Qubaisi’s company.

Gulf observers have told Sarawak Report that this apparent windfall produced the first sign that KAQ had started to obtain real wealth.

However, it was only later in 2012 that the wealth fund manager started spending really serious money on properties and nightclubs.

Investigators looking into the huge sums of money that went missing from the 1MDB/ Aabar bond deals between 2012 and 2013 and how Aabar and IPIC’s various loss making ventures may have tied in with private deals orchestrated by Khadem, may eventually shed light for those seeking to understand how it can be that Mr Moffitt’s spending spree in the global entertainment business ultimately appears to be funded by Khadem Al Qubaisi.

Hakkasan Vegas
Hakkasan Vegas

SARAWAK REPORT                  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Will The Malaysian Kleptocrat PM & His Gang Of Thieves Finally Be Brought To Justice?

Confirmed - US Authorities Have Investigated 1MDB Since March

Confirmed - US Authorities Have Investigated 1MDB Since March

22 Sep 2015

(Reproduced with permission)

Welcome to America Mr Prime Minister
Welcome to America Mr Prime Minister

Following media reports in the United States, Sarawak Report can confirm that this news site handed over extensive data about 1MDB to a joint US investigation team back in March.
It means that the development fund and its prime fixer Jho Low, who holds American citizenship, have been under the scrutiny of US law enforcers for several months, during which time Low has posed as one of the country’s most generous philanthropists sitting on numerous boards, including that of the UN Foundation and National Geographic.
The law enforcement team, which travelled to London to collect the material, included staff from the Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Department and members of the FBI.
Jho Low and celebrity pals in the US
Jho Low and celebrity pals in the US

Sarawak Report has also provided similar data to the UK authorities and the Swiss authorities in recent days and weeks.
However, we can confirm we have received no such requests from the Malaysian authorities, who have chosen instead to incorrectly accuse Sarawak Report of failing to report the matter to the forces of law and order.
Much of the documentation received by the US and other jurisdictions relates to the 1MDB PetroSaudi joint venture set up in 2009 and it was originally provided by the Swiss national Xavier Justo, who is currently jailed in Thailand owing to denunciations against him by former PetroSaudi colleagues involved in the deal.
PetroSaudi Director Patrick Mahony went to Thailand to denounce Justo for spilling the beans
PetroSaudi Director Patrick Mahony went to Thailand to denounce Justo for spilling the beans

These individuals, currently themselves walking free, include the London based PetroSaudi directors Patrick Mahony and Timothy Buckland.
Neither of these men nor Jho Low have attempted to take legal action against Sarawak Report, despite their accusations of fraudulent reporting.
Together with Malaysian officials and UMNO media outlets, PetroSaudi have instead concentrated in recent weeks on their attempts to discredit Justo and their allegations that Sarawak Report ‘tampered’ with the evidence and supposedly ‘doctored’ documents.
Despite the complete lack of evidence behind such allegations, the Malaysian Government has responded by banning Sarawak Report, issuing an arrest warrant and attempting to place its editor on the Interpol Red Notice list.
However, these aggressive tactics have started to unravel just as the Prime Minister has set off on his first international tour since the 1MDB crisis struck his administration.

Vindicated by the Malaysian High Court The Edge Editor Ho Kay Tat saw the Home Ministry ban lifted yesterday
Vindicated by the Malaysian High Court – The Edge Editor Ho Kay Tat

Yesterday, The Edge newspaper, which also received copies of Justo’s material and reached the same conclusions as Sarawak Report about the missing billions of ringgit siphoned out by Jho Low, was yesterday vindicated by the Malaysian High Court, which ordered the Home Ministry ban on the newspaper should be lifted.
And Najib Razak now finds himself flying into New York amidst widespread reports that he is being investigated over PetroSaudi and also the US$681 million, which Sarawak Report revealed had been paid into his personal account just before the last election.
Najib’s 1MDB dealings with Goldman Sachs are also a major target for US investigators, after the US bank set eyebrows rising over the unusually high rates for money it raised for their Malaysian client.

Wanted in Malaysia, living in luxury in New York. 1MDB's Jasmine Loo has been found!
Wanted in Malaysia, living in luxury in New York. 1MDB’s Jasmine Loo has been found!

And in yet a further development, the New York Times has revealed that its journalists have tracked down one of the key witnesses hunted by Malaysia’s Bank Negara to assist in their own investigation into 1MDB’s missing billions.
Jasmine Ai Swan Loo was originally identified by Sarawak Report as a key player in so-called Project Uganda, the operation orchestrated by Jho Low to channel money out of 1MDB and through PetroSaudi in order to buy up Taib Mahmud’s family concern UBG group.
Bank Negara subsequently placed wanted notices to interview her and her colleague at 1MDB Casey Tan, as well as Jho Low’s key lynch pin at UBG, 1MDB and SRC International, Nik Ariff Faisal Aziz – however, all had gone missing from Malaysia.
The New York Times have now tracked down Jasmine to a swanky apartment right under their noses in East 22nd Street, purchased in 2014 for an impressive $4.5 million.

Found one - Jasmine is hiding in New York!
Found – Jasmine is hiding in New York!

Working at 1MDB has clearly provided rewards for the inner circle of now wanted officials, despite the huge losses of public money sustained by the fund.
Perhaps Najib Razak could assist the remaining 1MDB enquiry by asking the New York cops to pick Jasmine up, so he can bring her back with him to face questioning in Malaysia?
[Sarawak Report remains Malaysia’s only banned website, accused on similar grounds to The Edge of “disseminating false information”.  As the judge pointed out in the case of The Edge, no examples have been provided by the Home Minister as to which ‘inaccuracies’ they are referring to as the basis for their ban and we conclude that it is likewise an illegal restriction that has been imposed on our site. Pending any appeal the restriction should therefore be lifted immediately in line with the judgement in Malaysia’s own High Court ruling].

Sarawak Report

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Mastermind Behind The Mastermind?

Larry Low On List Of Frozen Swiss Accounts! - EXCLUSIVE

5 Sep 2015

(Reproduced with permission)

Swiss account frozen over 1MDB connections - Larry Low Hock Peng, Jho Low's Dad.
Swiss account frozen over 1MDB connections – Larry Low Hock Peng, Jho Low’s Dad.

A shocking new line of enquiry has emerged, following the freezing of 1MDB related accounts by the Swiss authorities last week, Sarawak Report has learned.

We are reliably informed that one of several individuals whose accounts have been frozen is Larry Low Hock Peng, the father of the billionaire youth tycoon, Jho Low.

The sums involved were described by the Swiss Attorney General office as ‘several tens of millions’ of dollars in its official statement. However, we have been told they in fact total hundreds of millions.

Larry Low has long been regarded as a key lynch pin behind his twenty something son’s stellar rise, thanks to Jho’s close connections with school pal Riza Aziz, who brought him into the Najib/Rosmah household from an early age.

The Low brothers (left Jho, right Szen) manage Jynwel Capital, the investment tool of billionaire playboy Jho Low - however Larry has also tied into their business interests.
The Low brothers (left Jho, right Szen) manage Jynwel Capital, the investment tool of billionaire playboy Jho Low – however Larry has also tied into their business interests.

Larry’s other son Szen Low is also heavily connected with his brother’s business in his role as Group Managing Director of the family firm Jynwel Capital.

Trail from Good Star Limited

Investigators believe that Larry Low formed part of the trail for money originally siphoned out of 1MDB in its first joint venture deal with PetroSaudi back in 2009.

US$700 million was removed from the initial US$1 billion investment by 1MDB, under the guise that it was a repayment of a loan by PetroSaudi to its joint venture subsidiary.

That money first went to the company Good Star Limited and was paid into an account opened on the day after the deal at RBS Coutts bank in Zurich.

A further US$330 million was paid into Good Star in 2011, according to investigation documents released by Sarawak Report in April and documents from PetroSaudi also suggest that US$160 million more was paid into Good Star as part of a Muharaba loan to PetroSaudi in September 2010.

This produces a total sum of US$1.29 billion that initially came into the Coutts Zurich Good Star bank account.

The brothers are joint stars in glitzy corporate videos for Jynwel
The brothers are joint stars in glitzy corporate videos for Jynwel

1MDB and PetroSaudi have subsequently attempted to allege that Good Star was owned by PetroSaudi.

However, Sarawak Report has strong evidence that the real controller was Jho Low himself.

Likewise, although Low has always denied he had anything to do with 1MDB or its PetroSaudi joint venture, extensive documents in our possession prove that he was the mastermind behind the joint venture between the two companies.

Crucial evidence from investigations in Singapore, also released by Sarawak Report last April, has confirmed the Good Star connection with Low and proved money that came from Good Star subsequently flowed into Jho Low’s personal accounts.

Money transfers from Good Star Zurich to Jho Low's beneficially owned ADMIC account in BSI Singapore
Money transfers from Good Star Zurich to Jho Low’s beneficially owned ADKMIC account in BSI Singapore

The Singapore branch of BSI bank has informed the authorities (see above) that US$530 million (US$ 528,956,027.05) passed from the Good Star Coutts Zurich account into Jho Low’s own accounts at the bank in a series of payments after the PetroSaudi deals.

Yet, whilst this evidence proves that Low, 1MDB and PetroSaudi were lying when they claimed that Jho Low had no involvement or interest in the joint venture or Good Star, it only accounts for some of the money.

Sarawak Report has now learnt that much of the balance of the US$1.29 billion haul from 1MDB passed into accounts controlled by Jho’s dad Larry Low in Switzerland.

That balance amounts to some US$760 million.

Stellar rise of Jho Low and Larry Low enterprises

The 700 million dollar question facing investigators, therefore. is whether Low senior was acting as an intermediary for a third party recipient of the money?

If so, what was the final destination for the lion’s share of the money that was removed from 1MDB in a manoeuvre that has triggered years of lies and cover-up by the company and by its single signatory and shareholder, the Finance Minister himself?

It has been widely noted in the business press that Larry Low himself has transformed his reputation in recent years from being known as a reasonably successful businessman, able to promote his sons into advantageous western educations, into a multi-billion dollar player in his own right.

Jho Low had in earlier articles tended to refer to himself and his family as relatively modest compared to the high-rollers he was acting as ‘concierge’ to as part of his business dealings with them.
“I come from a fairly okay family but nowhere as close to the prominence and wealth levels of the people that I usually spend time with who also are my very good friends. So generally, I am usually the concierge service that arranges everything, and thus my name is all over the place.” [Star online]
These days however the family tend to describe themselves as third generation billionaires, indicating that Larry’s Dad had already made a fortune in mining before they settled in Penang and that Larry too has been turning a second fortune in order to propel Jho into his record breaking spending around the world’s hotspots.
“In his younger years, before his cancer scare, Jho Low made headlines as a billionaire party boy. The tabloids gleefully reported on his love of Cristal, bar tabs in the tens of thousands of dollars and wild nights on the town with the likes of Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Usher.

Nowadays the 33-year-old Low, youngest member of the third generation of one of Malaysia’s wealthiest families and head of the family’s investment firm, is making news for a completely different reason: his philanthropic donations.” [Washington Post]
“Like his image. The party animal moniker will probably stick with Low, now 33, thanks to a night spent clubbing with Paris Hilton in Saint-Tropez in 2010. … That year Low and his brother, Szen, set up Hong Kong-registered Jynwel Capital, an advisory firm for the family’s investments. There clearly is a lot of money to invest. Their grandfather Low Meng Tak was born in China, immigrated to Malaysia and then made a fortune mining iron ore and operating liquor distilleries in Thailand. He later added rubber, cocoa and palm oil plantations in Malaysia. He also married into a Thai business fortune. Their dad, Low Hock Peng, or Larry Low, expanded the family’s Asian property holdings to New Zealand, the U.S. and the U.K” [Forbes March 2015]
This narrative of long-standing great family wealth has tended to surprise contacts in Penang, who had no inkling till very recently that the Larry Low family was amongst Malaysia’s richest families.

One family friend of long standing told Sarawak Report:
“My Dad knew Larry’s father and we have known Larry too. They were millionaires, ringgit millionaires, but by no means dollar billionaires in the category of one of the richest families in Malaysia.”
For those people who go back with the Lows this sudden story of long-term super-wealth simply is not the case.  To them this re-writing of the family history is an attempt to disguise a sudden rise to super-riches linked to the now frozen bank accounts connected to the 1MDB investigation in Switzerland.