EMBATTLED Najib Razak has engaged the services of a team of top US lawyers, including former attorney-general John Ashcroft and star litigator David Boies, in a clear sign of concern that the widening global probe into 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) could snare him and his family members.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has been investigating the alleged siphoning of funds from the state-owned entity for several years and even tagged Najib as Malaysian Official 1, but he had enjoyed immunity from criminal charges as the prime minister of Malaysia.
So, even though the DOJ probe stirred occasionally and captured the headlines, he was largely nonchalant about the US probe and even made a widely-publicised trip to the White House last September.
Things have changed drastically since May 9…..
Sources told The Malaysian Insight that also part of the high-powered legal team is Matthew Schwartz. He spent a decade as a prosecutor in New York and handled several high-profile cases including the investigation of ponzi king Bernie Madoff.
Sarawak Report would humbly like to suggest that there are questions to be raised about Najib Razak’s choice of hot shot American lawyers to fight his cause.
Doubtless, Sarawak Report has to tread carefully to avoid expensive arguments about what one is and is not allowed to say about practitioners of the law, some of whom appear to think they are themselves exempted, by virtue of occupation.
However, the possibility of conflict of interest in the case of ‘star litigator David Boies’ appears to loom. After all, Mr Boies was an active participant in an investment company named Panavista, which was funded by Riza Aziz and managed by Riza’s personal ‘wealth manager’ Debra Whelan.
Riza Aziz, who is Najib’s step-son, gained most of his income from 1MDB, according to the investigations.
One of the lawyers in the partnership headed by Boies was also none other than “high powered” Matthew Schwartz, who has been the main lawyer for much of Riza Aziz’s recent defence work and who personally attended global meetings about projected multi-million dollar investments by Panavista.
The overwhelming likelihood, therefore, is that Mr Boies and Mr Schwartz have themselved profitted from the ill-gotten money, which might be seen to complicate their defence of the man behind the conspiracy, namely Najib.