The official motto of the USA and by a curious coincidence today, Inauguration Day, sees reports about a Court in New Zealand giving permission to a group of Malaysia thieves to sack the trustees charged with hiding their thefts and replace them with more pliant ones.
The thieves in question, Jho Low and members of his family had concealed their ownership of properties worth hundreds of millions of dollars behind “trusts”; a legal concept for hiding ownership and, very often, the fact that the properties so hidden were got with stolen and or tax evading money.
This is precisely the case with the present New Zealand court proceedings where the former trustees declined to fight seizure of the assets by the US Department of Justice which the latter, correctly, define as having been obtained with stolen money. To be precise money stolen by Jho Low and Najib Razak from1MDB.
While a change in trustees can be effected in countries where respect for money outweighs respect for criminal law the purpose of changing in this case is to put in place trustees who are prepared to challenge the US Department of Justice’s forfeiture orders. This is something the original trustees were not prepared to do, doubtless because they recognised the futility of denying the overwhelming evidence of fraud that led to the seizures.
These trusts, with their brand new trustees, contain assets in other jurisdictions apart from the USA. London for instance and the Lows may have been led to think that the British Government is shutting its eyes to the mega thefts by Najib and associates. Clearly the FCO should elucidate; by way of a public, or better still a Parliamentary statement. A word of final advice. Don’t hold your breath.
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