The first 1MDB related arrest has taken place at the request of the United States, in a move that will send shock waves and shivers through the Malaysian political establishment and also in related businesses in Hollywood and Las Vegas.
Sources close to Department of Justice officials in the United States have confirmed to Sarawak Report that the former CEO of Aabar, Mohamed Al Husseiny (top right), has been detained by the authorities in Abu Dhabi, who are now processing an extradition request by the US Department of Justice, relating to charges concerning 1MDB.
Al Husseiny, who originated from Kenya, holds US citizenship, despite having moved to Abu Dhabi.
This is the first outward move in an investigation that has been ongoing in the United States and other jurisdictions for several months, into the disappearance of billions of dollars from the Malaysian development fund.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister, Najib Razak, who is the sole shareholder and signatory of the fund, has solidly denied that any wrong-doing took place.
Whilst CEO of Aabar (a subsidiary of IPIC) until July of last year, Al Husseiny was a key player in a number highly controversial deals involving 1MDB, from which billions of ringgit appear to have disappeared.
He also fronted a massive bail-out of 1MDB’s debts, in a surprise move last June. It was one of his last actions in the post, from which he was summarily dismissed the following month.
There are numerous other questions concerning the management of Aabar, where Al Husseiny was regarded as a right hand man of the ex-Chairman, the high-rolling nightclub supremo, Khadem al Qubaisi, also CEO of IPIC.
Al Qubaisi was thrown out of all his official posts some weeks earlier in April of last year and following a period under house arrest he fled to the South of France, where he has considerable property.
Sarawak Report has identified that Al Qubaisi has also been removed from a number of his private business positions over the past fortnight – in the same period IPIC has mysteriously removed all reference to a number of key subsidiaries of Aabar (which were linked to Khadem) from its websites.
The effects of the news has already caused an apparent major loss of confidence in related businesses in the United States.
The previously burgeoning Las Vegas-based Hakkasan nightclub empire, which is owned by Al Qubaisi and fronted by its British born CEO, the Head of Mergers & Aquistions, Neil Moffit, has shown signs of panic over the past few hours, according to contacts.
Rumours circulating Las Vegas that three top executives, including Moffit, were about to jump ship have been quashed by Khadem’s New York law firm Greenberg Taurig.. for now.
However, there are equal concerns in Hollywood, where Mr Al Husseiny had revealed himself as the major investor in none other than the high-profile new movie production company Red Granite, which is owned by Najib’s step-son, Riza Aziz.
At the time of the announcement in August 2014 Sarawak Report questioned the apparent conflict of interest over a major business partner of 1MDB investing hundreds of millions in films commissioned by the shareholder’s own son.
How the former Abu Dhabi fund manager – a public servant – acquired such huge sums was another question that has gone unanswered.
Perhaps Mr Al Husseiny will be able to address these issues if he is indeed brought to the United States, as now formally requested. If so, the position of Rosmah’s son and Najib’s step-son Riza Aziz, who has been subject to much speculation over his ostentatious living and property acquisitions, might start to look somewhat precarious.
It is widely known in Hollywood that before Sarawak Report queried Red Granite’s connections to Malaysia’s public funds, Riza and his partner, Joey McFarland, had told their colleagues and connections that their funding came from Jho Low (rather than Al Husseiny).
Their blockbuster Wolf of Wall Street even carried a credit thanking Low.
Riza’s funding comes under the spotlight, just as Red Granite prepares to launch the production of its next planned Scorcese blockbuster, The General, a bio-pic of America’s hero George Washington, starring (of course) the Oscar-winning Leonardo di Caprio, a close party pal in Jho Low’s circle.
Al Husseiny’s dealings with the fugitive billionaire, his former boss Khadem Al Qubaisi, and their mutual business contact Jho Low are therefore likely to be top of the agenda during any questioning by law enforcers.
Aabar, once a wealthy investor with a US$70 billion equity base, appears to have lost the bulk of its money. It has been struggling to raise sufficient lending in recent weeks on the London, largely to cover these commitments to 1MDB – the authorities in Abu Dhabi must be wondering why?
The authorities in the US are likely to be more interested in the extensive private investments made in property and businesses by these players, in particular record price breaking penthouses in New York and homes in Beverley Hills, plus the multi-million dollar investments in the Hakkasan chain managed by Moffit.