Posts Tagged ‘Riza Aziz’

Malaysia Ruling Party Leaders Denounce Violence at Mahathir Forum — 92 Year Old Former PM “Chased From The Stage” — PM Najib Accused of “Gangsterism”

August 14, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR — Leaders of Malaysia’s ruling party have condemned violence that erupted at a forum where former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad was speaking, as political tension rises ahead of a general election that could be called in coming months.

One opposition leader accused Prime Minister Najib Razak of “gangsterism” to keep Mahathir quiet after some people at the Sunday meeting threw shoes, chairs and flares at Mahathir, who has made it his mission to unseat Najib over his handling of the a multi-billion dollar scandal involving a state fund.

Mahathir, 92, was not hurt, his aide said.

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Malaysia — Troublemakers ignited two flare, threw chairs and flung shoes and slippers on to the stage when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was speaking. The fracas forced organisers to escor Dr Mahathir our of the venue. Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, August 13, 2017.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said differences of opinion did not give anyone license to act violently.

“As a country that practices democracy, such an incident should not have happened,” Ahmad Zahid was quoted as saying in the Star daily newspaper on Monday.

Mahathir, who served as prime minister for 22 years until he stepped down in 2003, chairs a fractured opposition alliance hoping to unseat the long-ruling government coalition in election due by next year.

Mahathir has offered to head a government again if the opposition wins.

Some opposition leaders allied with Mahathir accused Najib of orchestrating the violence. A deputy president of the People’s Justice Party, Azmin Ali, said in a statement the prime minister had resorted to “gangsterism”.

A senior member of Najib’s United Malay National Organisation, who is also a government minister, Salleh Said Keruak, said such accusations were “unhealthy” for politics.

“Remember that gangster politics is not part of our political culture,” Salleh said in a statement.

Another government minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, condemned the violence in a Twitter message saying it “cannot be tolerated”.

Media reported that police had detained two people.

Mahathir has been a prominent critics of his former protege Najib over the scandal-ridden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Najib denies wrongdoing.

1MDB is the subject of money-laundering investigations in at least six countries. The U.S. Justice Department alleged in civil lawsuits that about $4.5 billion of funds were misappropriated from the fund.

The U.S. Justice Department said in its latest court filing on Thursday it was conducting a criminal investigation of 1MDB and asked for a stay on civil lawsuits it had filed to seize assets allegedly bought with money stolen from the fund.

Najib denied taking money from 1MDB after it was reported that investigators traced nearly $700 million to his bank accounts. Authorities cleared him of any wrongdoing, saying the money was a donation from Saudi Arabia.

(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Town Hall by Ex-Malaysian Leader Mahathir Marred by Violence — Opposition Blames PM Najib for “Gangsterism”

August 13, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A town hall meeting with former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who now heads an opposition coalition, was marred by violence Sunday, with several people hurling flares, chairs and shoes at the stage.

The 92-year-old Mahathir, who has set up a new political party to try to oust Prime Minister Najib Razak in elections due by mid-2018, was answering questions at the forum, hosted by his party, when chaos erupted. Shoes, water bottles and chairs were flung at the stage before two flares were ignited, filling the hall with smoke and turning it bright pink.

Mahathir was safely escorted out of the hall. Forum organizer Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said several people were injured but couldn’t give details on the exact number or their condition.

Police said three people, ranging in age from 17 to 19, were detained.

Syed Saddiq slammed the disruption as “sabotage,” saying officials from Mahathir’s Bersatu party had earlier noticed a group of youths wearing T-shirts with fake logos of Bersatu’s youth wing.

Opposition lawmaker Azmin Ali said: “Najib is using gangsterism to shut Mahathir’s mouth. It’s a cowardly act.”

There was no immediate comment from the government.

While it was unclear who was behind the fracas, it highlights that Mahathir — Malaysia’s prime minister for 22 years before stepping down in 2003 — is seen as a political threat.

Mahathir has been spearheading calls for Najib to resign over a multibillion-dollar financial scandal in indebted state fund 1MDB, which is being investigated in several countries for money laundering. Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

Mahathir came out of retirement to set up Bersatu last year and was recently appointed chairman of a fractured opposition coalition.

Earlier at Sunday’s forum, which was dubbed “Nothing to Hide” and was attended by more than 1,000 people, Mahathir said Najib is unfit to be prime minister, calling him a “liar and a thief” over the 1MDB scandal.

Mahathir said the four-party coalition he heads has set aside differences to focus on ousting Najib. “We are united and our focus is clear: to oust Najib and set up a new government,” he said.

Malaysia’s government has said it found no criminal wrongdoing at 1MDB. But the fund has been at the center of investigations in the U.S. and other countries amid allegations of a global embezzlement and money-laundering scheme. Najib started the fund shortly after taking office in 2009 to promote economic development projects, but it accumulated billions of dollars in debt.

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Malaysia — Troublemakers ignited two flare, threw chairs and flung shoes and slippers on to the stage when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was speaking. The fracas forced organisers to escor Dr Mahathir our of the venue. Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, August 13, 2017.

SEVERAL youths lit flares, threw shoes and chairs at Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad as he spoke at the Nothing To Hide 2.0 forum, creating pandemonium and panic in a Shah Alam hall this evening.

Bersatu security personnel detained two of the troublemakers at the event in the Selangor Youth and Culture Complex in Shah Alam.

The forum was organised by Bersatu Youth (Armada) as a platform for the former prime minister and Prime Minister Najib Razak to debate issues surrounding 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

At least five suspects were seen throwing chairs into the crowd after the flares were lit.

Dr Mahathir and moderator Azhar Harun, who were on stage, did not react when the commotion broke out but were quickly escorted out of the hall.

An aide told The Malaysian Insight that Dr Mahathir, his wife Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, Bersatu president Muhiyddin Yassin, former Kedah MB Mukhriz Mahathir, Perkasa vice-president Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, Bersatu youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman and veteran DAP lawmaker Lim Kit Siang were not injured in the incident.

“All the VIPs were rushed out of the hall when the commotion broke out.”

The forum saw mostly members of Bersatu in attendance.

Dr Mahathir, who was formerly the Barisan Nasional chairman, alleged that Najib had led a band of “thieves” who robbed the country of RM42 billion.

“I challenged the prime minister to come. What is there to be scared of? You said you are innocent and if I can’t prove your guilt, then I am wrong. So why are you hiding?” he said.

Najib was invited to attend today’s forum but was at Masjid Tanah Umno division delegates conference at Sekolah Menengah Imtiaz Ulul Albab, Durian Daun, Masjid Tanah in Malacca today.

Dr Mahathir said Najib must be made accountable to investigations conducted worldwide.

“The stolen money was brought to the US, it went through banks and was also used to fund the movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’.

“What is being done by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has to do with crimes committed in the US. Nothing can be hidden. The Department of Justice can obtain proof from bank letters.

“Everytime money moves, there’s a paper trail. We are not just speaking of amounts of RM10,000, which must be reported (to the central bank). RM1 billion is a lot of money. It can fit 1,000 lorries. We are talking about 42,000 lorries. This amount of money cannot be kept hidden,” he said.

In its civil cases, the DoJ alleged that between 2009 and 2015, more than US$4.5 billion belonging to 1MDB was diverted by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.

Last year, DoJ filed a civil asset forfeiture suit to seize more than US$1 billion in assets that were bought using funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB.

A year later in June, DoJ filed another suit to seize US$540 in assets, including a US$165 million yacht the Equanimity, owned by Jho Low, and rights to comedy movie ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ produced by Red Granite, a production house co-owned by Riza Aziz, the stepson of Najib.

The DoJ last week applied to stay its civil forfeiture suits on assets allegedly purchased using misappropriated 1MDB funds to facilitate ongoing criminal investigations by the US government.

“I don’t like it when the laws are blatantly broken. Laws are important and meant to maintain peace and order. The country will fall apart without the rule of law.

“The DoJ says the trail ends with Malaysian Official 1. Who is Malaysian Official 1. It’s easy. (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) Abdul Rahman Dahlan says it’s Najib.

“I will never return to Umno. The Umno that was formed by Onn Jaafar, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Hussein Onn has been hijacked by Najib and now the whole party is ruined and does not continue Umno’s struggle which is for race, religion and the country.”

“Now they steal money to live in luxurious houses. I hope the people no longer give them another chance. We must destroy them. Don’t be afraid.” – August 13, 2017.

https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/10719/

Malaysia: Sound advice to Najib – don’t hide any more

January 2, 2017

 

By Stephen Ng

Malaysiakini

COMMENT Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s alleged involvement in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) imbroglio has dragged on for far too long, making people becoming more impatient with the ruling party.

If I may use the word, it is ‘restless’. Yes, the people are getting very restless over the way that the economy is taking a beating as a result of the 1MDB scandal. 1MDB has been headlined in nearly every newspaper and magazine overseas, whereas in Malaysia, people are allegedly still being told one lie after another.

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Everywhere I go, whenever I speak to people, whether old friends or new people I meet, everyone is fully aware of the scandal that has plagued the nation for far too long.

If Umno’s own warlords do not unseat him as party president before the next general election, it would do a great injustice to the entire coalition that has ruled the country for the past 60 years.

In fact, by Aug 31 this year, it would be exactly 60 years since Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra as the country’s first prime minister, declared Independence from the British colonialists.

Since his time, Umno has morphed into something totally different from the times and era of the Father of Independence. Its alleged involvement in one scandal after another has shocked the nation, yet Malaysians at large are to be blamed for being laid back and good at criticising others whom they expect to change the world for them.

It takes people like Anwar Ibrahim, Rafizi Ramli, Tian Chua, Teresa Kok, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Lim Guan Eng, Lim Kit Siang and Tony Pua to expose the scandals.

The latest scandal exposed by PKR vice-president Rafizi allegedly involves Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) where US$505million (RM2.26 billion) was to be spent on purchasing a 37 percent stake in Indonesia’s PT Eagle High Plantations.

The price at which Felda was going to pay for a 37 percent non-controlling stake in the Indonesian plantation, according to PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, raises an alarm, as Indonesian billionaire Peter Sondakh, who owns Rajawali Group, had taken up a 68.6 percent stake in EHP at only US$570 million.

Rafizi claimed he has “given information to assist authorities so that they can commence investigation into whether or not there was interference or instructions from superiors, whether at the board level or from politicians or government to Felda to proceed with the acquisition of Eagle High.”

Felda, on the other hand, plans to purchase a 37 percent non-controlling stake in the Indonesian plantation for US$505.4 million (RM2.26 billion), for 582 rupiah per share.

He also brought up another major issue regarding the highest spending of RM25 billion last year on Felda’s replanting scheme, citing that this exposed the scheme to various risks of abuse and corruption.

Najib’s personal accounts

Recently, Singaporean former BSI banker Yeo Jiawei, who was linked to the 1MDB scandal, was found guilty and sentenced to a 30-month jail term. Yeo, who is also linked to Najib’s close associate, Jho Low, will be facing other charges soon.

All that the Special Affairs Department (Jasa) could say was that Yeo’s jail sentence had nothing to do with either 1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy or Najib himself.

In two other recent cases down south, both Yak Yew Chee and Yvonne Seah are now serving jail terms because of their links to 1MDB. Yak is now serving an 18-week jail term on forgery charges and failure to disclose suspicious transactions, while Yak’s assistant, Yvonne Seah, is in prison for two weeks after she pleaded guilty to similar charges.

Two former executives of Abu Dhabi-based lnternational Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and its investment arm, Aabar Investments PJS, Khadem Al-Qubaishi and Mohamed Badawy al-Huseiny were also arrested for their links to “fraud and money-laundering on 1MDB”.

How then can Najib, through Jasa’s recent statement, deny that he had any link to the scandal, especially since he is all three – the chairperson of the 1MDB advisory board, the finance minister who came up with the brainchild, as well as the prime minister of Malaysia?

If Low was not involved, why did he not personally appear before the judiciary in the United States to claim the assets confiscated by the US Department of Justice? Why did his family members claim the assets on his behalf? I dare both the flamboyant Low and Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz, to step foot on the US grounds at this juncture of their lives.

As for Najib, who claimed that RM2.6 billion that went into his personal accounts was donated by an unnamed generous Arab prince, why did he apply to intervene in the ex-parte lawsuit filed by Zaid Ibrahim to compel AmBank Islamic Berhad to disclose the details of how RM2.6 billion had been deposited into five accounts which are allegedly his?

Zaid did the right thing to pursue this matter, but hopefully, the court will uphold justice and rule in public interest. Like Zaid, we, too, want to know where the money came from and how it ended up in one man’s personal accounts, especially since the US Department of Justice had alleged that the money came from 1MDB.

It is not only RM2.6 billion, but another RM41 million which had allegedly originated from SRC International.

After all, the whole nation and the world is being told that the money was a donation from a generous Arab prince. Is there anything for Najib to hide now?

Read more: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/367904#ixzz4UdvGPHQk

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/367904

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Abu Dhabi Sovereign-Wealth Fund Gets Entangled in Global 1MDB Scandal

December 2, 2016

Investigation into the missing billions from Malaysian fund focuses on ex-officials of the emirate’s IPIC investment arm

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Updated Dec. 1, 2016 2:11 p.m. ET

ABU DHABI—A futuristic 35-story tower where doors swoosh open with the wave of a hand houses a little-known firm long used by this emirate to deploy its oil riches around the world.

When Barclays PLC needed to raise capital in 2008, the Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund, known as IPIC, invested more than $5 billion in the U.K. bank. Through a subsidiary, IPIC acquired holdings in German auto maker Daimler AG and Swiss commodities powerhouse Glencore PLC. It helped finance the ultraluxury New York skyscraper One57, nicknamed the Billionaire Building.

Driving IPIC was Khadem Al Qubaisi, a nightclub aficionado with slicked-back hair, a taste for the good life and close ties to princes who rule the emirate.

Khadem Al Qubaisi
Khadem Al Qubaisi Photo: JOHANNES EISELE/REUTERS
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In June, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince abruptly ordered an end to the 32-year-old sovereign-wealth fund’s existence as a stand-alone firm, saying it would be merged with another state entity.

Mr. Al Qubaisi? He now sits in an Abu Dhabi jail, fired and under investigation for money-laundering, corruption and other possible offenses, according to people familiar with his situation.

Among the deals Mr. Al Qubaisi engineered at IPIC was one with 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, the embattled Malaysian state fund from which billions of dollars are missing, at least $800 million of which some investigators have said flowed into personal accounts of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Investigators trying to trace the money missing from 1MDB believe Mr. Al Qubaisi played a central role in diverting some of it, using his control of the Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund to conduct money laundering and embezzlement, according to people familiar with probes that are under way in several countries.

Far from just a Malaysian affair, the 1MDB scandal is unfolding as potentially one of the largest international financial swindles ever. A look at Mr. Al Qubaisi’s dealings with 1MDB through the Abu Dhabi fund helps illuminate the scandal’s global reach, from Singapore and Switzerland to the Middle East, Hollywood and Las Vegas. This account is based on interviews with people familiar with the various investigations or with the activities of Mr. Al Qubaisi and IPIC, as well as on documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Abu Dhabi has said little about Mr. Al Qubaisi’s situation. “We are committed to bringing him to justice,” a member of the United Arab Emirates’ ruling Al Nahyan family said in a rare interview. Mr. Al Qubaisi hasn’t been charged.

Mr. Najib, who set up 1MDB seven years ago to spur local development, has denied wrongdoing. Malaysia’s attorney general cleared the prime minister early this year, saying money that flowed into his accounts in 2013 was a legal donation from Saudi Arabian royalty and most was later returned.

The U.S. Justice Department agrees most of the money left Mr. Najib’s accounts but says it instead moved back into the shell company from which it had arrived, leaving its ultimate destination unclear. The department has said most of the hundreds of millions sent to the prime minister’s accounts originated with 1MDB. The Malaysian fund declined to comment.

The Justice Department’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative went to court in July to seek forfeiture of more than $1 billion of mostly U.S. assets the department says were acquired with money stolen from the Malaysian fund. It was the kleptocracy initiative’s largest-ever asset-seizure case.

Abu Dhabi’s IPIC—International Petroleum Investment Co.—dates to 1984, when United Arab Emirates founder Sheik Zayed Al Nahyan set it up to plow oil profits into the global petroleum industry. One of his sons, Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, later became chairman.

Mr. Al Qubaisi, who hails from a prominent Abu Dhabi family, became managing director of IPIC in 2007, where he oversaw its expansion and built its flashy headquarters tower in Abu Dhabi, the U.A.E. capital.

Mr. Al Qubaisi, now 45 years old, traveled the city with several Egyptian assistants who opened doors for him and tended to his needs. He bought a personal stake in an Italian Formula One racing team and had IPIC subsidiaries sponsor it.

IPIC began investing beyond oil, such as in the transaction with Barclays, which was lucrative for both IPIC and Sheik Mansour, who was granted warrants. As a vehicle for doing large deals, IPIC acquired a local energy investment company called Aabar Investments PJS.

Mr. Al Qubaisi, part of Sheik Mansour’s inner circle, wielded broad authority. He held power of attorney at IPIC and Aabar, enabling him to sign contracts. He managed the sheik’s personal investment company, one unit of which invested in Las Vegas nightclubs. Aabar provided hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to that unit.

Out of view of IPIC’s directors, Abu Dhabi investigators believe, Mr. Al Qubaisi embarked on increasingly audacious schemes to enrich himself, according to people familiar with the matter and to documents reviewed by the Journal. On some deals, the people said, Mr. Al Qubaisi or an associate asked counterparties or intermediaries for side payments.

In a lawsuit filed against IPIC over fees, a consulting company alleged that Mr. Al Qubaisi asked for a kickback relating to an IPIC attempt to acquire hotel company Four Seasons Group in 2009. Pierre Maroun, a co-founder of the consulting firm, said in an interview that Mr. Al Qubaisi asked him during a Riyadh-Abu Dhabi flight for a $300 million kickback. In the fee lawsuit, IPIC’s lawyers denied the allegations. No deal for the hotel company was done.

Another executive said he had a meeting with Mr. Al Qubaisi at a mansion in the south of France, where, according to the executive, Mr. Al Qubaisi conducted business in a swimsuit while scantily clad women paced the rooms.

Mohamed Badawy Al Husseiny, ex-CEO of Aabar unit of Abu Dhabi’s IPIC

Jho Low, a businessman and confidant of Mr. Najib’s family

Riza Aziz, a producer of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” stepson of Malaysia’s Mr. Najib.
Photos: Getty Images(2); Reuters
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The deal that linked the Abu Dhabi fund with 1MDB began after Malaysia’s Mr. Najib visited Abu Dhabi in 2009. Malaysian media said he announced the emirate would invest $1 billion in Malaysia’s real-estate, hospitality and energy businesses via the 1MDB state fund.

Abu Dhabi handed the energy part of this plan to IPIC. Instead of contributing money, however, IPIC supplied a guarantee on $3.5 billion of 1MDB bonds, making them easier to sell.

In return, 1MDB agreed to pay $1.4 billion of what was called “collateral” to IPIC’s Aabar unit. Mr. Al Qubaisi signed the deal without board approval, people familiar with it said.

The $1.4 billion of 1MDB money never reached Aabar, the Justice Department said, but instead was paid to a firm with a name nearly identical to Aabar’s that Mr. Al Qubaisi and Aabar’s CEO, an American named Mohamed Badawy Al Husseiny, had set up in the British Virgin Islands.

From that offshore firm, the Justice Department alleged in its July lawsuits, the diverted 1MDB cash was distributed to intermediaries, which sent it on to still other intermediaries, until hundreds of millions of dollars reached Mr. Najib, his stepson and others.

One of the others cited by the Justice Department was Jho Low, a Najib confidant who had helped to set up 1MDB. U.S. prosecutors have described Mr. Low as in the thick of the alleged fraud, helping orchestrate schemes to siphon away money. He is a subject of criminal investigations in the U.S. and Singapore, according to people familiar with them. Mr. Low has denied any wrongdoing.

The Najib stepson is Riza Aziz, one of the producers of the 2013 hit movie “The Wolf of Wall Street,” made with money the Justice Department has said was misappropriated from 1MDB. Mr. Aziz and his production company have denied wrongdoing, saying they had no knowledge that any money received had originated with 1MDB.

The Justice Department said in its July asset-seizure lawsuits that $473 million originating with 1MDB was transferred to a Luxembourg account owned by Mr. Al Qubaisi. The civil suits, filed in California federal court, said Mr. Al Qubaisi subsequently used some of the money to buy a $51 million New York penthouse and two Los Angeles mansions worth a combined $46 million.

The suits also said about $67 million of 1MDB money was transferred to two accounts owned by Mr. Al Husseiny, who was the Aabar CEO.

In asset-seizure lawsuits, parties who believe they legitimately own the assets can contest the Justice Department’s claims, a process that is now under way with the pending July suits. The suits are filed against the property itself and don’t include any individuals as defendants.

Like Mr. Al Qubaisi, Mr. Al Husseiny was forced out of IPIC and has come under investigation in Abu Dhabi for money laundering and other possible offenses, said people familiar with the investigation. He, too, is held in jail, they said. Mr. Husseiny hasn’t been charged.

Besides the $1.4 billion of bond-guarantee collateral, an additional nearly $1 billion of 1MDB money also vanished into the British Virgin Islands firm with a name very like Aabar’s, according to documents reviewed by the Journal and to people familiar with the investigations.

This was money 1MDB sought to pay to IPIC’s Aabar unit to cancel some options on energy assets. Investigators are still tracking this nearly $1 billion.

At one point, investigators believe, Messrs. Al Qubaisi and Al Husseiny had put more than $8.8 billion of IPIC’s money potentially at risk through guarantees of 1MDB-related deals and loans, according to people familiar with the probes. IPIC has said some of the guarantees weren’t authorized. It is locked in a commercial dispute with 1MDB.

Las Vegas nightclubs Omnia and Hakkasan were among ventures of an investment business Mr. Al Qubaisi managed for an Abu Dhabi prince. Photos: Getty Images(2)
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In other lines of inquiry, as described by people familiar with the 1MDB probes:

•Mr. Al Qubaisi’s management of Sheik Mansour’s investment business has led to a focus on Las Vegas. A restaurant company controlled by the sheik’s business spent $207 million building the Omnia nightclub at Caesars Palace and a club called Hakkasan Las Vegas, where British singer Rita Ora sang “Happy Birthday” to Mr. Al Qubaisi in 2013, according to someone who was there.

U.S. investigators are looking into whether any funds diverted from 1MDB were indirectly provided to the restaurant company, Hakkasan Ltd., said people familiar with the probe. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Hakkasan, which said its capital had no connection with 1MDB. The firm has said the Justice Department confirmed Hakkasan is “not the subject or target of their 1MDB investigation.”

•Investigators are examining whether 1MDB money ultimately transferred to an Al Qubaisi-controlled account was used to make payments on Sheik Mansour’s 482-foot yacht, the Topaz, whose eight floors include a swimming pool, cinema and two helicopter pads. Sheik Mansour didn’t respond to requests for comment.

•IPIC owns Swiss-based Falcon Private Bank, and investigators are looking at whether Messrs. Al Qubaisi and Al Husseiny used it to facilitate some transactions at issue. Swiss and Singaporean regulators recently fined Falcon for money-laundering breaches, including an alleged transfer of 1MDB money into Mr. Najib’s accounts. A Swiss regulator said the dealings were driven by “two representatives of the bank owners,” which a person familiar with the case said meant Messrs. Al Qubaisi and Al Husseiny. Falcon declined to comment.

Sheik Mansour’s yacht Topaz
Sheik Mansour’s yacht Topaz Photo: AFP/Getty Images
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By 2015, Mr. Al Qubaisi’s wealth included bank accounts across the world, homes in France, private jets and about $31 million worth of automobiles in Switzerland, including a Bugatti Veyron and a Pagani Huayra. In his office, he kept fine cigars in a box emblazoned with his initials, KAQ. At least some of the assets now are frozen, including tens of millions of dollars in a Luxembourg bank account.

Around March of 2015, during a dispute between Mr. Al Qubaisi and a former employee, photos were published online showing him cavorting in a St. Tropez nightclub with a seminude woman sitting in a giant drinks glass. It was behavior of which the U.A.E. ruling family took a dim view.

During this period, fraud suspicions relating to missing 1MDB money were emerging. In April 2015, Abu Dhabi’s emir removed Mr. Al Qubaisi from IPIC without explanation.

In June of this year, IPIC reported a net loss, attributed to low oil prices, and said it was taking a $3.5 billion provision related to bond guarantees given to 1MDB. Abu Dhabi authorities said they had decided to merge IPIC into another state fund, Mubadala Development Co. They described the move as part of a strategic vision to streamline emirate-owned companies and funds.

People with knowledge of the discussions said Mr. Al Qubaisi’s ouster, caused in part by the 1MDB scandal, was a critical factor in accelerating the plans. Two months later, he and Mr. Al Husseiny were arrested.

Write to Bradley Hope at bradley.hope@wsj.com and Nicolas Parasie at nicolas.parasie@wsj.com

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http://www.wsj.com/articles/malaysian-money-trail-leads-to-the-middle-east-1480614247

1MDB: Investigation Finds U.S. Hip-Hop Entertainers Involved with “Helping to Squander the Money Stolen from The People of Malaysia”

November 24, 2016
(AllHipHop News) United States Hip-Hop star Swizz Beatz has been linked to the 1MDB scandal that is rocking Singapore and could unseat Singapore’s current Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is accused of massive corruption. [Actually, Mr. Najib is Prime Minister of Malaysia. — Peace and Freedom Editor’s Note]
.Malaysian PM Najib in front of the 1MDB logo

The U.S. and Singapore have been investigating Prime Minister Razak for corruption, after hundreds of millions of dollars of state money linked to a state fund called 1MDB, mysteriously ended up the politician’s personal bank accounts and accounts controlled by his family and friends.

Investigators with the Singapore Commercial Affairs Department are pursuing charges against Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is accused of looting of state funds.

According to award-winning, investigative website Sarawak Report uncovered court documents, rapper Swizz Beatz received $800,000 to perform at a birthday party in Las Vegas for an associate of the Prime Minister named Jho Low, who was celebrating his 31st birthday.

 

“Sarawak Report cordially invites the well-heeled Mr Swizz Beatz to repay this stolen development money, taken from the mouths and education of poor Malaysian kids, back in some form where it will not be re-appropriated by the present Prime Minister,” the website wrote in an investigative piece released today (November 23).

Jho Low is a well-connected financier who liked to party in Hollywood. He’s said to be a close associate of Prime Minister Razak’s step-son, Riza Aziz, a leading producer in Hollywood.

The FBI named Aziz a suspect in the case, after discovering a series of questionable financial transactions.

The Sarawak report says Jho Low’s birthday party was paid for with stolen from 1MDB’s $1.4 billion dollar “Power Purchase loan,” which was raised for the country in conjunction with Goldman Sachs.

The party was so lavish, even “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” host Robin Leach covered the event, and was amazed at Jho Low’s display of wealth.

It was nonstop, unlimited drinks poured by an attractive army of 250 glamour girls dressed in revealing, short, tight red outfits. There also was a super squadron of Cirque du Soleil-type entertainers on stilts, masked curvy creatures, revelers in lit-up costumes and bizarre outfits, and lacy lingerie-wearing ladies swinging on hoops suspended over the two screened, offside walls where the dancers kept the electricity sparking. A troupe of mini-people even added to the fun.”

The Sarawak report even accuses Swizz Beatz and his wife Alicia Keys of helping to squander the state’s money for Jho Low through Alicia Keys’ “Black Ball,” which was recently held in New York and a series of other political events in Singapore, including some paid for by another man linked to illegally spending money from the same fund, named Khadem Al Qubaisi.

The Sarwak report claims Swizz Beatz blocked them from Twitter, after they Tweeted him a series of messages and warnings about Jho Low, and where his funds were coming from.

“The Malaysian taxpayer picked up the tab for this party, thanks to a massive fraud perpetrated by their own Prime Minister. and we suggest that it is time for all those stars to dig into their bank accounts and pay back the money.

While Razak has continued to deny any wrongdoing, two Swiss banks already have been shut down for allegedly helping Razak and his cronies launder their stolen money.

This week, thousands of Malaysians took to the streets to protest the scandal, while the costs of living and poverty skyrocket in the country.

https://allhiphop.com/2016/11/23/swizz-beatz-alicia-keys-connected-1mdb-scandal-malaysia-bankers-800000-party-black-ball/

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Former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad urges citizens to join protest against Najib Razak

November 16, 2016

Reuters

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has thrown his weight behind a massive rally planned for the weekend to demand that scandal-tainted Prime Minister Najib Razak resign.

Mr Najib, who is eyeing an early election next year, faces outrage over his involvement in a multi-billion-dollar financial scandal at state fund 1MDB, and has used harsh measures to silence critics.

Election reform group Bersih, the organiser of Saturday’s rally, has demanded Mr Najib resign.

Malaysia is “facing a state of panic”, Mr Mahathir, wearing Bersih’s signature yellow T-shirt, said in a video posted online.

“I hope all Malaysians will join this demonstration by Bersih which is aimed at finding a way to fix this country,” said Mr Mahathir, who quit Mr Najib’s ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) in February.

Mr Mahathir, Malaysia’s longest serving prime minister, formed a new political group this year in his campaign to oust former protege Mr Najib.

‘Repeat of racial riots in 1969’

Concerns are growing that Bersih supporters and pro-government groups could clash at the rally, with the group’s chairwoman having received anonymous death threats.

“We cannot stop because if we stop and we don’t protest, then we can’t have any say in any legislation, policies or laws,” said the chairwoman, Maria Chin Abdullah, who led a similar rally last year.

Ethnic Indian and Chinese minorities formed the bulk of the 200,000 protesters at the time.

A six-week campaign by Bersih ahead of the rally has been marred by violent confrontations between the group and a pro-state group called Red Shirts.

Red Shirts leader Jamal Yunos, an UMNO member, has warned of a repeat of racial riots in 1969, when clashes between Malays and ethnic Chinese killed hundreds.

Mainly Muslim ethnic Malays form about 60 percent of Malaysia’s population of 30 million, while ethnic Chinese and Indians account for about 32 per cent.

Lawsuits filed by the US Justice Department in July say more than $700 million of misappropriated funds from 1MDB flowed into the accounts of “Malaysian Official 1”, whom US and Malaysian officials have identified as Mr Najib.

Mr Najib has denied wrongdoing, but has taken steps critics say aim to limit discussion of the scandal, such as sacking a deputy prime minister and a former attorney-general, besides suspending newspapers and blocking websites.

Reuters

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Malaysia’s 1MDB Scandal: an audacious campaign of fraud and money-laundering with Billions unaccounted for

November 15, 2016

AFP

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been under fire since 2014 over allegations that billions of dollars were looted from state investment fund 1MDB in an audacious campaign of fraud and money-laundering.

On Saturday, an influential pro-reform group is planning a rally in downtown Kuala Lumpur to demand Najib’s ouster over the affair.

Here are some answers to key questions in the saga.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak launched the 1MDB state investment fund in 2009

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak launched the 1MDB state investment fund in 2009 ©Mohd Rasfan (AFP/File)

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– What is 1MDB? –

1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is a state investment fund Najib launched in 2009 shortly after assuming office.

Its portfolio has included power plants and other energy assets in Malaysia and the Middle East, and real estate in Kuala Lumpur.

The fund has been closely overseen by Najib.

Whistle-blowers say Low Taek Jho, or “Jho Low”, a shadowy, jet-setting Malaysian financier close to Najib but who has no official positions, helped set up 1MDB and made key financial decisions.

– How did the scandal emerge? –

Concerns escalated in 2014 as 1MDB slid into an $11 billion debt hole, and the intensifying public scrutiny led to a string of revelations concerning missing funds.

The issue exploded in July 2015 when the Wall Street Journal published documents showing Najib received at least $681 million in payments to his personal bank accounts.

Banks in Singapore, Malaysia, Switzerland and elsewhere were involved in the money laundering

The US Justice Department piled on the pressure this year by filing lawsuits to seize more than $1 billion in assets it said were purchased with stolen 1MDB money.

– What are some key Justice Department allegations? –

— US authorities said a figure it calls “Malaysian Official 1” knowingly received huge sums of 1MDB money. A Malaysian Cabinet minister has since confirmed that official was Najib.

— From 2009-11, at least $1 billion was secretly diverted from a 1MDB joint venture with a Saudi energy firm to bank accounts controlled by Low, who has been photographed partying with the likes of Paris Hilton and Leonardo DiCaprio .

 Paris Hilton. Getty Images

— $1.37 billion was diverted from a pair of 2012 bond offerings to accounts in the British Virgin Islands and Singapore, believed controlled by Low, as was $1.26 billion raised in a 2013 bond sale.

— Tens of millions of dollars in stolen money were used in 2012 by Najib’s stepson Riza Aziz, an aspiring film producer, to fund the Hollywood film “The Wolf of Wall Street” starring DiCaprio.

— Hundreds of millions were used, mainly by Riza and Low, to purchase high-end real estate in Beverly Hills, New York, and London, a Monet painting for $35 million, a Van Gogh for $5.5 million, a $35 million Bombardier jet and a $100 million stake in EMI Music Publishing.

– Has anyone faced justice? –

A Singaporean private banker was sentenced last week to 18 weeks in jail for facilitating illicit money flows, and another banker in the city-state has been hit with similar charges.

Singapore has also shut down the local operations of two Swiss-based banks involved in the scheme.

But so far no big fish have been hooked.

Najib shut down domestic Malaysian investigations last year, denying wrongdoing and saying the scandal was concocted by his political enemies.

The US lawsuits do not target any individual for prosecution, but investigations in several countries are continuing.

– What impact has 1MDB had on Malaysia? –

Since the scandal emerged, Najib has purged 1MDB critics from his government, curbed domestic investigations, enacted a tough new security law and generally lurched to the right.

Political analysts say Najib’s strengthened hold makes it unlikely he will come clean, but critics accuse him of imperilling Malaysia’s already fragile democracy just to save his skin.

Tension over 1MDB simmers, with the pro-reform group Bersih saying it will proceed with its rally in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday despite authorities declaring it illegal. Past Bersih protests have ended in clashes with police.

But pro-government rightists are threatening to disrupt the demonstration, raising fears of violence.

Malaysia's 1MDB scandal

Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal ©Laurence CHU, John SAEKI (AFP)

Malaysia: Zaid wants Ambank to disclose details of Najib’s accounts

November 8, 2016
 

| November 8, 2016

The former law minister says he needs information in support of suit in another case against Najib, his stepson Riza Aziz, 1MDB and the Malaysian government.

 

KUALA LUMPUR: Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim has filed a suit to compel Ambank Islamic Bhd to disclose the details pertaining to the RM2.6 billion donation and another RM42 million believed to have been deposited into five bank accounts belonging to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Zaid also wants the bank to reveal sources of incoming funds and the recipients of payments made from the time the accounts were opened until they were closed on Sept 30 this year.

The former Umno leader, who filed the action last month on behalf of Malaysian citizens and taxpayers, said he also wanted the bank to provide copies of bank statements of the accounts from the date they were opened and closed.

In his affidavit in support of the action, Zaid said he wanted the bank, formerly known as AmIslamic Bank Bhd, to make the disclosure under the Bankers Books Evidence Act 1949.

Zaid, represented by Americk Sidhu, said he needed the information in support of his suit in another case against Najib, 1MDB, the Malaysian government and Najib’s stepson Riza Aziz.

On Aug 17, Zaid filed the action to recover US$731 million and RM42 million banked into the prime minister’s accounts.

According to Zaid, US$50 million was deposited into the accounts between February 2011 and November 2012 while US$681 million in March 2013.

However, the US$681 million is widely known as a donation of RM2.6 billion based on the exchange rate at that time.

Zaid said he was taking the action, which would benefit the second and third defendants – 1MDB and the Malaysian government – as they were not in a position to do so.

The first defendant, Najib , he claimed, would not allow the second and third defendants whom he controls, to take any action against him.

“Najib, as trustee of 1MDB, has a duty to protect and preserve the assets of the state and not convert them for his own use,” he said in the statement of claim.

Zaid sought orders directing Najib to repay RM42 million to the government of Malaysia, plus compound interest at two per cent per month from the date the money was first received to the date of full and final settlement.

This amount, he said, was received from SRC International and deposited into Najib’s private account and was tantamount to a breach of his fiduciary duties.

He also wanted orders directing Najib to repay 1MDB, the second defendant, US$731 million by way of restitution, plus two per cent compound interest per month from the date when the money was first received to the date of full and final settlement.

He said the US$731 million comprised US$681 million deposited into Najib’s personal account in March 2013 before the general election that year, US$20 million that he allegedly received from Good Star Ltd between February and June 2011, as well as US$30 million he allegedly received from Aabar BVI between October and November 2012.

Further, Zaid wanted orders directing the fourth defendant, Riza Aziz, to repay the second defendant, 1MDB, all monies he had received from it, either directly or indirectly.

He also wanted Riza Aziz to transfer all properties, movable or immovable, that he had acquired with money from 1MDB, and held under his name or held under his agents’ name, including businessman Low Taek Jho.

Earlier today, Justice S Nantha Balan, who heard the matter in chambers, recused himself and transferred the case to be heard before Justice Noraini Abdul Rahman.

Although Najib was not named as party in the action against the bank, lawyer Rishvant Singh, who represented the prime minister, said his client’s interest was affected in this case.

Rishwant informed Nantha Balan that lawyer Cecil Abraham was the lead counsel for Najib and he might not be able to appear before the judge (Nantha Balan).

It is learnt that Abraham and Nantha Balan were once lawyers from the same legal firm before the latter was elevated to the bench.

Zaid wants Ambank to disclose details of Najib’s accounts

BSI bankers given “free rein” by Swiss bank for illicit dealings with Malaysian state fund 1MDB — Singapore court hears that kickbacks, shell companies, money laundering produced multi-million dollar illegal pay-offs

November 4, 2016
Yeo Jiawei, 1MDB, BSI, Kevin Swampillai, Jho Low

The third day of former BSI banker Yeo Jiawei’s trial in Singapore brought embarrassing revelations for BSI, according to local media reports. The Swiss private bank was shut down in Singapore in May for allegedly helping to launder 1MDB money.

Kevin Swampillai, formerly Yeo’s supervisor told a court that he, Yeo and other bankers had «free rein» in moving what authorities have termed «staggering» sums of money for clients like 1MDB.

«There was a lack of central control over functions … for better or for worse,» Mr Swampillai said, dubbing BSI’s management «a lame duck committee».

The testimony is likely to cause a few sleepless nights in Switzerland, where financial regulator Finma has initiated enforcement proceedings against two unnamed former BSI executives.

“Brazen Sky” Deal

The charges against Yeo are serious: he faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of money laundering in a separate trial, while witness-tampering could get him another up to seven years jail time.

Swampillai has admitted criminal wrong-doing – taking kickbacks for arranging structures for 1MDB – and is testifying against Yeo.

The two brokered a clandestine deal dubbed, perhaps ironically, “Brazen Sky”, earning roughly S$6.95 million each behind BSI’s back by funnelling 1MDB money.

Yeo’s defense lawyer sought to undermine the incriminating testimony by asserting that Swampillai, and not Yeo, came up with the idea to funnel funds. He also accused Swampillai of shifting blame from himself to Yeo in order to avoid prosecution.

Low Taek Jho or Jho Low

Swampillai conceded that it had been his idea for Yeo to quit BSI for the employ of Jho Low, an 1MDB linchpin and former BSI client who U.S. prosecutors believe pilfered billions from the state fund. Swampillai maintained that both men had been equal participants in the criminal plan.

Elaborate 1MDB Kickback Scheme

The two concocted an elaborate scheme of fund management which paid millions in kickbacks to the private bankers, with the involvement of Yak Yew Chee, another former BSI banker who is facing charges. Yak is believed to have been Low’s private banker at BSI and before that, at Coutts.

Yeo didn’t have to be told how lucrative such a scheme would be, Swampillai said, saying his former employee had “recognised the potential of that business” on his own.

Yeo, who is 33, is believed to have earned as much as S$26 million from such illicit transactions involving shell companies and kickback schemes.

Cross-questioning by Yeo’s lawyer on Wednesday make it clear that the defense intends to undermine Swampillai’s credibility as a witness by highlighting his guilt. Swampillai was suspended by BSI and is now unemployed. He is not among several former BSI bankers to have been criminally charged.

BSI has just been sold to EFG International, in a deal which closed earlier this week.

Previously, the court had heard how Yeo had reveled in Low’s lavish lifestyle and how Yeo and Swampillai had conspired to cover up their illicit dealings with Singapore authorities had closed in, including using coded communications and fictitious names.

http://www.finews.com/news/english-news/25007-yeo-jiawei-1mdb-bsi-kevin-swampillai-jho-low

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