Jho Low Claimed The "PM/ FM" Gave Approval To Keep Bank Negara In The Dark On 1MDB Loan

Jho Low Claimed The "PM/ FM" Gave Approval To Keep Bank Negara In The Dark On 1MDB Loan

Just connecting influential  Arabs with 1MDB, like Prince Turki?

Just connecting influential Arabs with 1MDB, like Prince Turki?

The lawyers for Jho Low, the London firm Schillings have now finally issued a statement on behalf of the tycoon, in response to questions from the news agency AFP.

The widely reported response acknowledges that Low was “consulted” on the PetroSaudi joint venture deal with Malaysia’s 1MDB development fund, “but has never been involved in criminal acts with respect to this transaction”.

This latest statement contrasts with earlier claims by Jho Low’s spokespeople Edlemen in New York, who announced last year on his behalf:

“Mr. Low has never held any position in 1MDB or in the Malaysian government. Mr. Low was appointed as one of the many advisors invited by the stakeholders of Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) to provide advice from Jan 2009 to mid-May 2009 given his market-based knowledge. Mr. Low has not been involved in TIA since mid-May 2009.[Statement by Low’s PR company Edleman in May]

The PetroSaudi joint venture deal took place between September 8th and September 29th of 2009.

Mahony flew to Thailand to stage Justo's arrest

PetroSaudi Director Patrick Mahony 

And Sarawak Report has copies of detailed correspondence between Jho Low, 1MDB and the managers of PetroSaudi, relating to what appears to have been a further $1 billion paid out in loans by 1MDB to the oil company during the course of 2010.

That money appears itself to have been borrowed by 1MDB and ought therefore legally to have been declared to the Bank Negara Malaysia by 1MDB, according to expert advice given to Sarawak Report.

However, the correspondence shows that Jho Low, who took an authoritative role in the negotiations, was insisting to colleagues that the Central Bank should not be informed of the loan, because it would cause “unnecessary delays”.

Crucially, Low repeatedly informed PetroSaudi Director Patrick Mahony, who was anxious for confirmation that the Central Bank had indeed authorised the loan, that this was not needed because only:

” Mof approval is required for the loan which we have signed by pm who is also FM”

No need to tell the bank we have Ministry of Finance Approval and FM (also PM) has signed...

No need to tell Central bank, we have Ministry of Finance Approval and FM (also PM) has signed…

This claim appears to confirm that the Prime Minister was fully engaged in these negotiations and had personally signed the loan by 1MDB to PetroSaudi, without having passed it by the Bank Negara.

It also appears to confirm that Jho Low was acting as the interface between the Prime Minister/ Finance Minister on such matters with PetroSaudi.

Of even more concern is an apparent decision by Jho Low together with the “FM who is also PM” to leave the Bank Negara in the dark about the loan.  This was despite the anxious and repeated requests by PetroSaudi’s own lawyers for a “letter of comfort” to confirm that the bank had given its approval, which they insisted was legally required.

As PetroSaudi boss Patrick Mahony put it to Low in the course of the correspondence:

“I know you know my guys are freaking out”

Yet, Low continued to insist that because the loan was “off-shore to off-shore” there was no need to declare the transaction to the bank and the legal advisors could be ignored.  As he put it “Bank Negara consent not required”:

JL: Bank negara consent not required
JL: As its foreign borrowings
JL: So we r sending offshore to offshore
JL: Or else we’ll have unncessary delays
Patrick: According to your lawyers it is
JL: Take it out pls
Patrick: We had it last time
Patrick: We need comfort we are getting this money in an approved manner
JL: Last time local borrowings
JL: This is foreign
JL: Just don’t want bnm [Bank Negara Malaysia] to delay it

Experts linked to Bank Negara have confirmed to Sarawak Report that this is not the case and that because a loan was involved, which 1MDB a public body was ultimately responsible for, the bank should have been informed.

Jho Low was wrong.

How half a billion dollar loan was fixed via BBM 

These revealing exchanges between Mahony and Jho Low took place through Blackberry messenger between Wednesday 21st July and Tuesday 27th July 2010, according to Mahony.

Kept in the loop, PetroSaudi's Tarek Obaid - but how about 1MDB's own chiefs?

Kept in the loop, PetroSaudi’s Tarek Obaid – but how about 1MDB’s own chiefs?

He then sent the entire transcript by email to his fellow Director Tarek Obaid to put him in the picture about the situation.

It places the conversations in the days running up to a planned loan deal to PetroSaudi of USD$500 million dated 26th July 2010.

Mahony refers to “Monday” as the date decided, which was indeed the 26th and corresponds to papers acquired by Sarawak Report, which relate to a USD$500 million Murabaha loan agreement between 1MDB and PetroSaudi, dated on that day.

From: Patrick Mahony
To:
Tarek Obaid
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 14:11:33 +0200
Subject: Bbm transcript

This is my conversation with jho – it is between last wednesday and today…

Participants:

Patrick, JL

Messages:

———

Patrick: Please send me your account details
Patrick: So I can send you final instructions
JL: Okay
Patrick: Thanks
JL: Asked bank n friend for it
JL: Will have it sent today once I get it
JL: Good progress?
Patrick: Will have doc to nik for open of business malaysia time [note: Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil was UBG’s senior executive, then working also as Chief Investment Officer for 1MDB]
Patrick: We still need bank negara consent from them
JL: All filled up?
JL: Bank negara consent not required
JL: As its foreign borrowings
JL: So we r sending offshore to offshore
JL: Or else we’ll have unncessary delays
Patrick: According to your lawyers it is
JL: Take it out pls
Patrick: We had it last time
Patrick: We need comfort we are getting this money in an approved manner
JL: Last time local borrowings
JL: This is foreign
JL: Just don’t want bnm to delay it
JL: U can just say “any required regulatory approvals”
Patrick: Can somebody please send me an official email saying why not necessary
JL: Just insert “any required regulatory approvals” so its
mdb’s liability n responsibility
JL: That covers all rather than specific bnm
Patrick: It is already their responsibility to provide this
Patrick: We need protection that we were allowed to take these funds
Patrick: Bnm approval has always been in there
Patrick: It was in the email I sent you, nik knows about it
Patrick: I thought this was all approved including all regulatory approvals?
JL: Can u just say “regulatory approval”
JL: Yes I know. But we r arguing we don’t need bnm as offshore
JL: Ministry of finance has approved
JL: Not bnm cause we don’t think bnm needed
Patrick: So can we get mof approval?
JL: Mof approval is required for the loan which we have signed by pm who is also FM
JL: When u borrow monies abroad, its not needed
JL: I will tell nik to email u
Patrick: Please get us some proof that there is high level approval and also if you don’t think bnm needed, the reason
Patrick: Then we should be fine
JL: Legally, mdb only needs mof approval for loan
JL: No approval needed to send out monies
Patrick: Your lawyers said they needed bnm
Patrick: That’s why it is in all the documents
Patrick: Given what we’re doing here, I’m sure you’ll understand the importance for us of having the proper approvals
Patrick: Therefore I need something official if your stance has changed on bnm
Patrick: Because bnm approval is everywhere in our docs
Patrick: This is first I hear not needed
JL: I will get nik to talk to them
JL: Foreign borrowing
Patrick: Whatever it is, please just get me the necessary comfort (and not just an email from nik explaining) that all the appropriate approvals have been sought
JL: K
Patrick: Sent drawdown notice to nik. It is on uganda
JL: K
Patrick: We put funding date for monday in the docs
Patrick: Please also don’t forget that email evidencing the authority for this transfer
JL: Yes
JL: Talking to them tomorrow
Patrick: Ok. ThanksPatrick: Any news on the drawdown notice I sent?
Patrick: Can funding happen tomorrow?
Patrick: I need to warn JPM before funds go
JL: Have call mon morning to get update?
Patrick: Are you asking me to have a call or telling me you have a call…?
Patrick: Can you please also get me that email saying we don’t need bnm approval?
JL: No no
JL: I am doing a call with mdb mon morning their timePatrick: Is there a board resolution from mdb approving this?
JL: Yes. On top of all of it
JL: No worries
JL: For sure
JL: Minister of finance n board approval
Patrick: Perfect – please get me those
JL: Pls request officially from nik
JL: So he can send it
Patrick: Ok
Patrick: Email just sent
Patrick: Forwarded a copy to uganda
JL: Thanks
JL: K
Patrick: Any news from your conf call?
JL: All good. Flying back to msia from london. Arriving wed morning
Patrick: So what is target for funding?
Patrick: I know you know my guys are freaking out so please give me a date
JL: I arrive kl wed 740am
JL: Cause of this bnm thing
JL: We don’t need it
Patrick: Please have nik send that email then
JL: But cause u officially emailed, now legal counsel is saying yes and no
JL: Will sort it out. Worse case, we’ll get bnm for u
Patrick: Ok
JL: In london now abt to fly to kl in 2 hrs
Patrick: You asked me to officially email
Patrick: As I said in my email, we’re willing to work with board approvals + mof
JL: Easier if I am there if we need bnm approval
JL: Yes
JL: I will sit with lawyers wed morning and sort it out
Patrick: Ok

Another key aspect of this significant exchange is the casual acknowledgement by Jho Low that responsibility and liability for the loan would lie with 1MDB:

JL: Just insert “any required regulatory approvals” so its
mdb’s [1MDB’s] liability n responsibility
JL: That covers all rather than specific bnm [Bank Negara Malaysia]

But, yet again 1MDB appears barely to be engaged in this negotiation.

Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, UBG's man in 1MDB

Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, UBG’s man in 1MDB

As with the previous joint venture loan agreement the preceding year, the executives of 1MDB seem to be virtual by-standers in the affair, with the UBG bank place-man, Nik Faisal receiving documents from PetroSaudi as agreed with Jho Low.

In the event, it appears that because of Mahony’s protests the original loan plan may have indeed eventually have been reported to the Bank Negara, an outcome which was described by Jho Low as “worst case”.

Low confirms that he had already got Ministry of Finance and 1MDB Board approval for the loan, but because Mahony had flagged up the issue over getting Bank Negara approval as well he might have to fly to KL to sit down with the lawyers and work things out, a worst case scenario.

It begs the question as to why the Minister of Finance and Board had signed without checking the matter with the Central Bank, since this was required?

The entire exchange once again destroys any suggestions that Jho Low was merely engaged in a distant consultative role when it came to the negotiations between PetroSaudi and 1MDB.

USD$160 million went to Jho Low’s company

Jho Low’s interest in the loan deal was plain to see from the documents that eventually covered the distribution of the money.

As Sarawak Report has previously demonstrated $160 million out of the $500 million loan was sent to the RBS Coutts Zurich account of the company Good Star, which was controlled by the tycoon.

The remaining $340 million went to the PetroSaudi operating account held by JP Morgan in Geneva.

Whether there were two identical loans that went through on July 23rd and then September 8th, or whether the Central Bank was indeed informed, resulting in the “worst case scenario” envisaged by Low – a delay till September – is something that merits further research by the official Audit Office investigators, who are now being tasked with examining what happened at 1MDB.

Given the close links to the UBG bank buy out by many of the players in these 1MDB loan negotiations, it is worth noting that PetroSaudi’s offer for UBG was announced in January 2010, but that the buy out was not completed until September 29th.

Meanwhile, a USD$500 million transfer was made to PetroSaudi from 1MDB on September 8th. Then, on September 16th, Tarek Obaid, as Director of PetroSaudi International (Seychelles), paid USD$260 million into its subsidiary Jarvace Sdn Bhd, which bought UBG.

Capital transfer to Jarvace Sdn Bhd just days before

Capital transfer to Jarvace Sdn Bhd just days before

Yachts in the South of France

The revelations about Jho Low’s role in these dealings, while actively a Director on the UBG board, throws inevitable scrutiny onto his personal relationship with the Prime Minister/Finance Minister/ Chairman of the Board of Advisors of 1MDB.

Jho Low, far from acting as a mere advisor, was clearly heavily involved in the deal and in directing it with the avowed support of the Malaysian Prime Minister.

Altogether, Rosmah, Taib, Raziah & Robert Geneid at Monaco, after enjoying a stint on the PetroSaudi hired Tatoosh Summer 2010

Altogether, Rosmah, Taib, Raziah & Robert Geneid at Monaco Aug 2010,  after enjoying a stint on the PetroSaudi hired Tatoosh

His close relations with the PM and his family can not be in doubt over this entire period and this socialising also connected closely with the Taib family, the majority owners of UBG.

Two weeks beforehand Jho Low was living it up in St Tropez with Paris Hilton. Newspapers in New York had registered Jho Low when he first started splashing money in October 2009 straight after the PSI joint venture was signed.

Two weeks beforehand Jho Low was living it up in St Tropez with Paris Hilton. Newspapers in New York had registered Jho Low when he first started splashing money in October 2009 straight after the PSI joint venture was signed.

In the August of 2010, in the middle of these transactions, the Prime Minister and his wife were the honoured guests in Monaco of Prince Albert.

Here Rosmah played sponsor to the first of a series of Islamic Fashion Shows, designed to raise money for the Prince’s Environment Foundation.

The Taibs, the Geneids, the Hii family and Rosmah and Najib joined Prince Albert’s entourage at the extravagant fashion event after having reportedly spent time on Jho Low’s hired yacht off the South of France.

The Tatoosh was rented just before the event by PetroSaudi to entertain Malaysian friend in the South of France

The Tatoosh was rented just before the event by PetroSaudi to entertain Malaysian friend in the South of France

Rosmah then presented a $100,000 cheque to Prince Albert’s foundation, which Sarawak Report has already reported was in fact funded by the Sarawak timber tycoons, the Hii family, who are cronies of the one of the world’s worst destroyers of the environment, Taib Mahmud.

Low is believed to have told his guests that the yacht (which rents out at around half a million dollars a week) belonged to the owner of PetroSauid, Prince Turki bin Abdullah, the son of the King of Saudi Arabia.

Earlier, in late 2009, there had clearly been another such gathering in the South of France. According to the correspondence,  Jho Low contacted the PM’s office for photographs:

From: Low Jho
To: [email protected], Tarek Al-Obaid
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 2009 03:29:32 +0000
Subject: Re: Pictures from South of France (PM Najib & HRH Prince Turki)

Thanks so much Wan!

——Original Message——

From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
To: Tarek Al-Obaid
ReplyTo: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Pictures from South of France (PM Najib & HRH Prince Turki)
Sent: Dec 26, 2009 11:25 PM

Dear Jho and Mr. Tarek Al Obeid,

It would be a pleasure to email you  the photos of HRH. Unfortunately I am away with the Prime Minister at the moment whereas the photos are back in Malaysia and is not immediately accessible. I will send it through as soon as I return. Hope that’s alright.

May I take this opportunity to extend to you the season’s greetings and wish you a Happy New Year.

Warmest regards,

Wan

——Original Message——

From: Low, Jho
To: [email protected]
Cc: Tarek Al-Obaid
ReplyTo: [email protected]
Subject: Pictures from South of France (PM Najib & HRH Prince Turki)
Sent: Dec 27, 2009 9:08 AM

Dear Mr. Wan Shihab,

Would you pls kindly email the pictures you have of The Hon PM Mohd Najib Razak with HRH Prince Turki Al-Saud and Sheikh Tarek Obaid asap? They wld like it strictly for their private records. I have cced Tarek on this email so you can email him and cc me asap.

Thanks.

This may have been a private meeting, but it appears to have related to matters of public interest.

Sign-up to receive regular updates from Sarawak Report

We send out the latest story at 7am Malaysia time

Your views are valuable to us, but Sarawak Report kindly requests that comments be deposited in suitable language and do not support racism or violence or we will be forced to withdraw them from the site.

Comments

comments