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This Is Way Not Good Enough From 1MDB!

1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) said today it had never invested in nor transferred funds to Red Granite Pictures, whether directly or via intermediaries.

Any statement to the contrary is false, it said.

“We, therefore, deny any suggestion that 1MDB funded the production of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, or had any involvement with the film in any capacity, as has been alleged or implied in some recent media reports,” it added, in a statement today.

Our comment

This very short statement of denial from 1MDB contrasts with previous rambling outpourings from the fund, all claiming its innocence.

And it is not good enough.

WSJ have made a very specific allegation that money from 1MDB was misappropriated to a fake company purporting to be a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s Aabar fund, but which wasn’t.

The WSJ goes on to say that US$105 million of that was sent directly to Red Granite Capital, belonging to the Prime Minister’s step-son, Riza Aziz, to fund Wolf of Wall Street.

More money was ‘loaned’ indirectly to Red Granite via another intermediary company Telinia Holdings (BVI), which is now closed down, raising questions about how the ‘loan’ can be repaid?

If 1MDB deny this, then they have no alternative but to sue WSJ in the United States, based on these very clear factual allegations – which if not true can easily be shown to be not true.

A weak and pathetic three line denial just doesn’t cut Mr Kanda.

Special Task Force

Salleh said the so-called revelation of WSJ on July 2, 2015, also triggered the setting up of a Special Task Force, the purpose of which, according to the announcement, was to investigate the allegation that Najib had stolen US$700 million or RM2.6 billion of 1MDB’s money and had transferred it to his personal bank accounts.

He said according to what WSJ said, the investigation had started before July 2, 2015, and was not the result of WSJ’s ‘expose’ on that date.

“And The Wall Street Journal confirmed it was in possession of documents related to that probe (which means the investigation had already been launched before 2nd July 2015 if there are already documents related to the probe).

“This in itself sounds very suspicious because The Wall Street Journal said its 2nd July 2015 report is based on the investigation, while the official statement from the Special Task Force is that it was set up to investigate The Wall Street Journal‘s 2nd July 2015 ‘expose’.

“So which came first? And if The Wall Street Journal‘s 2nd July 2015 came first and the launch of the Special Task Force came after, as what we are being told, this would mean The Wall Street Journal was given documents that were not based on any investigation but were planted to slander the Prime Minister.”

Our comment

Najib has publicly said that he promotes ministers for blind loyalty rather than their abilities.

He must by now have learnt to understand the disadvantages of being served by fools.

The special task forces (there were four) were set up after Sarawak Report revealed the massive misappropriation of 1MDB money assigned to the PetroSaudi ‘joint venture in February 2015.

It was these task forces who uncovered the rest of the information about the money coming into the Prime Minister’s accounts AS PART OF THEIR INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE MONEY MISSING FROM 1MDB.  Sarawak Report and the WSJ released this information in early July.

Let us hope the explanation releases Salleh from his muddle and his ill-conceived criticisms of the Wall Street Journal, who only hire people if they are clever.

Digging A Deeper Hole For Najib

The Australian media has confirmed Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s statement and the findings of Malaysian authorities that the money deposited into his personal bank accounts was a donation from a Saudi royalty, said Putrajaya.

“The investigations included forensic examination of every wire transfer,” said a government spokesperson in a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office today.

“Malaysian authorities also travelled to Saudi Arabia to examine documentation and interview members of the royal family, and the officials who administered the donation.

“As the leaked letter from Saudi Arabia states, the donation was a gift to the prime minister for promoting moderate Islam, and his leadership in combatting terrorism and extremism – such as by launching his Global Movement of Moderates initiative.

“The letter makes clear the gift was to be used as the prime minister saw fit; would be transferred directly or through the donor’s companies; and no benefit was expected in return,” the spokesperson added.

Our comment

Now that Putrajaya has announced that the details in the Four Corners Programme about the Saudi letter purporting to be Najib’s donor are correct, they can no longer pretend to be coy about the identity behind the name.

Or rather names – because, unfortunately and most confusingly, this ‘donor’ is characterised by no less than three separate names in the documentation. According to the letter he is supposedly a Prince Saud Abdulaziz al-Saud from the Private Office of Saud Abdulaziz Majid al-Saud, but the money was sent from an account in the name of Prince Faisal bin Turkey bin Bandar Alsaud.

So, which of these three ‘Royal’ names is the correct version and to which individual in Saudi Arabia does it pertain?  Because, of course, none of these names refer to any known billionaire Prince in the Saudi royal household.

Putrajaya had better come up with an answer, because the rest of the world has started falling around holding their sides in laughter at this childish ploy and ridiculous letter to boot…. when they are not scratching their heads over how AmBank could accept such tosh, that is.

Sedition For Condemning Stealing?

Lawyers who submitted the motion to discuss attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali’s position for refusing to prosecute Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak over deposits in his personal bank accounts have been summoned by police under the Sedition Act.

Francis Pereira, one of three lawyers who proposed the motion at the Malaysian Bar annual general assembly (AGM) on March 19, confirmed that he received a letter from Bukit Aman.

Pereira added that his colleague, R Shanmugam, who was another proposer of the motion, also received the letter.

“The Bukit Aman letter clearly states that it is with regard to a police report made on the motion presented at the Bar AGM.

“They said the investigation is under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act,” he told Malaysiakini when contacted.

Section 4(1) concerns offences that have a seditious tendency.

Our comment

The Malaysian Bar Council, the governing body of the legal profession, passed a motion accusing the government of misusing the law to try to conceal criminal acts by the Prime Minister and his criminal associates; among whom must prominently be mentioned the Atrorney General, Apandi.

In any genuine democratic country such a atep would never occur, because the politicans concerned would long since have resigned their offices and submitted themselves to investigation.

Unfortunately Malaysia is no longer a democracy governed by the rule of law. It was to draw attention to this state of affairs that the Bar Council acted as it did, and was bound by its professional ethics to do.

At the time there was no official reaction of any kind. Honest men so accused would have instantly sued for defamation.  But Najib and his cronies, despite being daily accused of heinous crimes and despite having packed many courts with complaisant judges have never begun even one defamation action.

Why not? The answer is crystal clear. They dare not face a civil court. They even have an offence of criminal defamation on their statute book but dare not prosecute.  So, pitifully they resort to a colonial offence of “sedition” which consists of criticising the government. But rarely do they go so far as to charge “seditionists” in Court knowing that such charges must fail.

So, with childish spite they call in citizens to the police buildings for ‘interview”  Only too happy to beat up helpless members of a minority community the thugs of Bukit Aman will not dare to do more to these Bar Council members than utter empty and meaningless threats.

What Is Possible And Not Possible

The Australian Immigration Department’s investigations found that former police commando Sirul Azhar Omar did not record or distribute any videos to the media while he was held at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre (VIDC) in Sydney.

This is based on checks on CCTV recordings, Sirul’s appearance in the videos and the backdrop used in the video, the department said in a statement. The statement was published by Australia’s 60 Minutes programme on its website today.

“These factors support the Department’s view that the video was made between the time of the Malaysian Federal Court decision and the time the individual entered immigration detention,” the department said, adding that it had obtained two independent translations of the video recordings.

It said it is not possible for someone to have smuggled in the clothing Sirul wore or the flannel backdrop seen in the videos. In a number of video recordings leaked to Malaysiakini, Sirul had among others said he was being used by certain quarters to slander others, but did not mention names.

Lawyer Americk Sidhu has earlier argued that Sirul recorded the videos after his detention as he had in one of the clips referred to a press conference by lawyer Kamarul Hisham and Hasnul Rezua Merican (photo), which happened on Dec 31, 2015. Sirul also refers to the application he is making for permanent residency in Australia, Americk said.

Our comment

What is not possible is to predict the future. On the other hand, as the world knows, items get smuggled in and out of detention centres and prisons all the time.

Sirul was picked up in Australia and detained in Villawood in January of 2015.  The eruption of the corruption crisis surrounding the Malaysian Prime Minister did not occur until Sarawak Report published details of the PetroSaudi deal later in March.

So, how did Sirul have the foresight to record a video, back in 2014, denouncing a ‘conspiracy’ to tarnish the name of the Prime Minister, when the whole theory of this so-called ‘conspiracy’ only emerged after that corruption crisis broke?

The Australian Immigration Minister is therefore going to have to decide if he is going to deal with this situation convincingly or become a complicit party in the laughable attempt to pretend that these recordings took place before Sirul was arrested in Australia.

The whole point of the video recordings was to use this former bodyguard to defend the Malaysian Prime Minister primarily against concerns that have been raised about who gave him the order to murder a woman who had threatened blackmail over a defence contract where he had taken bribes (according to prosecutors in a current French court case).

Before Sirul went into Villawood he himself was attempting to blackmail the Prime Minister for several million dollars over the same issue, as text messages have confirmed. Sirul wanted money to “say nothing.. that way I won’t bring down the PM”.  The PM’s intermediary responded by saying they wanted to negotiate.

At this time Sirul had yet to hire his immigration team, which was fixed up for him by expensive UMNO lawyers after his arrest. Neither was anyone approaching him at that time to highlight the Altantuya case, which had drifted out of the news.

In fact, when Sirul was arrested he first reached out to people he hoped could help him finally tell the truth – that included the former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir, who was visited by Sirul’s mother.

It was then that the operation swung into action, headed by the team of expensive UMNO lawyers, to control Sirul and use him to defend his former boss.  The videos were a ham-fisted and obvious part of that strategy and have been so easily seen through and ridiculed in Malaysia that the orchestrators have bottled out of showing the final episode, said to ‘name the conspirators’ seeking to ‘use Sirul to defame Najib’.

They can’t show that ‘episode’ now, because it would one hundred per cent prove that the video was made in prison, because all the people the video was seeking to target (eg the editor of Sarawak Report) had no involvement with Sirul prior to his incarceration at Villawood.

Sirul complained at his conviction that he was being used as a scapegoat by powerful people.  Nothing has changed in this situation and the Australian authorities should do a better job of protecting the innocent, not shield the guilty or face the public consequences.

People Who Think They Can Get Away With Anything Like Bonnie & Clyde

Lessons can be learnt from the 1MDB controversy as the country progresses forward, said CIMB group chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak.

Nazir said this was so that there would not be a moral hazard where people think they can get away with anything.

He added that people responsible for any wrongdoings should be held accountable so that no one would dare to do it again.

“Something did go wrong in 1MDB and no one can deny that. The total debt was way out of range of its capital base,” said Nazir.

He added that in 2009, 1MDB raised a RM5bil bond n the capital market.

“I was not privy to information about it,” said Nazir while responding to the audience during the question-and-answer session of the StarLIVE Power Talks-Business Series at Menara Star attended by Star Media Group chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow and Star Media Group CEO Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai .

However, he added that his bonds team showed him that the transactions were not properly priced and were handled in a very unusual manner.

Our comment

The brother of the PM has spent his career as a responsible senior banker and has increasingly made his concerns clear about the way Malaysia has been run by his sibling and wife.

It has become one of those countries where certain people think they “can get away with anything” he laments and he makes clear this mentality must end for survival of the economy and the well-being of the people.

He focuses on 1MDB, where the management still persist in denying a single impropriety has taken place, but where he himself flagged up issues from the very start in 2009.

The CEO of 1MDB Arul Kanda and former CEO Shahrol Halmi appear to think they can continue to lie that all is well, because they have the backing of the all-powerful brother of Nazir and his wife, who have been nicknamed amongst close associates ‘Bonnie & Clyde’.

Bonnie & Clyde also appeared to imagine they could get away with everything, as long as they had a fast horse….

More From The Minister For Libel And False Communications

Abdul Rahman, who is BN strategic communications director, took issue with DAP’s Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong and Tanjong MP Ng Wei Aik’s statements blaming BN for Lim’s controversy.

“I advise these YBs to stop embarrassing themselves.

“Defending their master with lame excuses will only further weaken Lim’s position as chief minister,” Rahman said in a series of Twitter postings.

Rahman said it was not BN’s doing that got Lim into the position he is in right now.

“It wasn’t BN who forced Lim to buy the property and at such undervalued price. Stop blaming others.

“It wasn’t BN who forced Lim to buy the property from this particular lady whose boss is the KLIDC (Kuala Lumpur International Dental Centre Sdn Bhd) owner.

“The timing, seller, and price of bungalow buy (were) not determined by BN,” he said.

Our comment

The Minister for Libel, Dahlan Rahman, is at it again.

This is the man who notoriously orchestrated the ban on Sarawak Report, based on concocted and rapidly disproved lies by a hired bankrupt journalist, Lester Melanyi.

Dahlan rests on the power of the Prime Minister to organise warrants of arrest and arm twist the courts, which in the case of Sarawak Report has meant we cannot pursue a suit in Malaysia against him.

However, now that this minister has discovered his moral outrage against corruption, we will suggest that he addresses the real issue, which concerns his  own party leader.

Taking Dahlan’s own argument, we did not force Najib to secretly transfer RM2.6 billion (and more) into his accounts, nor did we transfer and spend all those millions he took from the KWAP pension fund via SRC.

Najib Adds Hypocrisy To His Sins

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has described the RM100 million graft case in the Youth and Sports Ministry as disappointing and vowed tough action against those responsible.

“I view seriously the misappropriation case involving a senior government officer at the Youth and Sports Ministry which is being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

“This case is disappointing as it happened for a number of years without detection,” he said in a blog posting today.

Najib said those involved would be held to account.

“The government would never compromise on cases where government funds are misappropriated and stern action would be taken against those involved,” he added.

Our comment

Malaysians have been unsure whether to react more with laughter or anger at the sheer brazen cheek of Najib’s performance yesterday.

Here is a Prime Minister willing to shower indignation on folk, who were stealing a mere RM100 million from taxpayers!

He wants the sternest punishment against small fry, who were only following their masters’ example.

Their lawyers will be preparing their cases now. of course.  After all, look at the stunning precedent of a Prime Minister “cleared” on the grounds he spent the public’s money (on his credit cards), but says he didn’t know how he got it.

This is why leaders ought to resign if caught stealing, as they can no longer credibly uphold the law against others.

But Najib has plainly lost contact with reality within his bubble of BN sycophants. He is like an Emperor without clothes, as the nation watches slack jawed.

Those In Glass Longhouses Ought Not Throw Stones

A Sarawak BN leader has lamented the state DAP’s continued efforts to link the state government to Putrajaya’s scandals such as 1MDB.

Parti Bumiputera Bersatu Sarawak (PBB) information chief Peter Minos said it’s not fair to paint Sarawak BN as guilty by association.

“Take a longhouse – if the tuai rumah (leader) makes errors or mistakes or goes against the laws, it is not right or fair to blame everyone in that longhouse or chase them out,” Minos told Malaysiakini.

He was responding to Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen who said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has now become the opposition’s main “campaigner” in the upcoming state polls due to the 1MDB scandals and the goods and services tax (GST).

Minos said those were purely “KL issues”, and DAP should not blame Sarawak BN for it.

Similarly, he said, Sarawak BN would not blame DAP for the scandal surrounding Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s bungalow.

Our comment

It is amusing that BN leaders have suddenly discovered their moral outrage over corruption, now that they think they have something with which to accuse the opposition.

This PBB information chief, whilst alluding to alleged improprieties in Penang, expects not to be associated with BN’s 1MDB global mega-scandal, which he readily admits is a case of corrupt practice by painting Najib as the equivalent of a law breaking longhouse chief!

However, it was 1MDB money that was secretly channelled to buy out Governor Taib Mahmud’s family company UBG for an overpriced and typical crony BN profit.

And, while the world looks on scandalised, it is Taib, his side-kick Adenan and their PBB party, who continue to keep the Prime Minister responsible for 1MDB in power with their solid support and vital parliamentary seats.

Indeed, Adenan has said he wants Najib to stay in power “forever”, thereby 100% endorsing the corruption of 1MDB and all the rest of BN’s current dirty practice.

It is therefore entirely right to tar PBB with the same brush as 1MDB, as would also be the case were longhouse members knowingly supporting and taking money from a corrupt, law-breaking headman.