Malaysian PM Najib Razak is obsessed with being ‘cleared’, even if it is just in courts of his own making.
When the US Department of Justice pointed a finger squarely at Malaysian Official One after a year long official investigation and confiscated a billion dollars of assets, Najib wheeled out a blinking Saudi Foreign Minister, who had been dragooned into changing his mind about possible payments.
The Foreign Minister shrugged his shoulders as Anifah Aman hovered over them and said he had now been led to understand that the $681 million in Najib’s account was a gift, so his earlier remarks that no Saudi he had heard of had donated such a sum did not apply and he regarded the matter closed.
“Najib is cleared!” Najib’s people whooped.
When the Malaysian Attorney General, backed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Central Bank, drew up charges against Najib for stealing more money from the KWAP pension fund through SRC (1MDB’s subsidiary), Najib sacked the AG at gun-point and appointed his pal Apandi.
Apandi said Najib was ‘cleared’.
“No he is not” said the MACC and Bank Negara.
“Yes, he is!” insisted the new AG. A year later the new AG has now admitted the investigations were not actually closed. He doesn’t have the authority you see.
Now we come to Abu Dhabi. For months we have all known that Najib has been trying to fix a deal whereby he pays back the money Malaysia owes Abu Dhabi over 1MDB, but only if the Emirate agrees to make yet another bogus statement ‘clearing’ him.
In other words, in order to secure their cash Abu Dhabi are being arm-twisted into ‘confirming’ something that they earlier stated wasn’t true.
They are being asked to say that there is no money missing from 1MDB and to take back previous statements to the London Stock Exchange in which they made clear that they never received the money for so-called ‘guarantees and terminations of options’, which 1MDB claimed they had paid out (totalling $3.5 billion).
Second Finance Minister Johari spelt out the situation in December:
“If IPIC could just acknowledge that they received the $3.5 billion payment made to them, then this matter could be easily resolved,” he told the Business Insider.
But, everyone who has followed the story of 1MDB knows IPIC didn’t receive the money, because it had been stolen.
The way many billions were channelled out of the fund, using Aabar as a front, was through a pretence that the Malaysian fund was making huge payments to Aabar for these guarantees and terminations, which in fact it wasn’t. The money was paid instead to a shadowy bogus off-shore company in the British Virgin Islands, which was posing as a subsidiary of Aabar with the almost identical name of Aabar Investments PJS Limited.
This company had no official connection to IPIC, but nevertheless had been set up (along with a number of other similar bogus companies in places like Curacao and the Seychelles) by the jailed former chief executives of Aabar in a plain conspiracy with 1MDB, Najib and Jho Low, who then paid them billions in backhanders from the stolen money.
The Department of Justice has provided us with the money trail in its court filing on 1MDB. The cash went from 1MDB’s Falcon Bank account (handily belonging to Aabar) to the bogus BVI Aabar’s BSI Bank account in Lugano, then on to the Singapore Standard Chartered account of Jho Low’s company Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners (another bogus off-shore company posing as a subsidiary), which he controlled under the alias of Eric Tan. Blackstone then paid whopping kickbacks to jailed Aabar executives Khadem Al Qubaisi and Mohammed Al Husseini for performing the favour and using Aabar as such a convenient front.
Thanks to the DOJ the whole thing is as clear as daylight. Moreover, back last year, IPIC stated to the London Stock Exchange that this was indeed the case and that those billions had never been recieved by them, despite the fact that the 1MDB accounts completed by Deloittes recorded the money as being sent.
IPIC also stated that another key claim by Deloittes, which was that Aabar had agreed to guarantee the value of the ‘units’ sitting in 1MDB’s Brazen Sky account in BSI Bank Singapore, was also wholly incorrect. Aabar had not guaranteed those Brazen Sky ‘units’ to the tune of a billion dollars, which was what had been claimed.
At which point Deloittes retracted their accounts, calling them ‘unsafe’ and resigned last year.
Now, Najib wants Aabar to un-say all this as part of the settlement due to be announced tomorrow on the London Stock Exchange over the bail out organised in 2015 by Aabar’s then compromised bosses, when 1MDB could not meet it debt repayments.
For days now a known press contact of Najib’s man, the world-class criminal and fugitive, Jho Taek Low, has been leading the way in Singapore’s Straits Times to spin what is plainly a total cave in by Najib. The Malaysian taxpayer is going to pay $1.2 billion by the end of the year and a further $3.5 billion by 2020.
According to the Straits Times’s Malaysia Correspondent, their well informed inside source has explained that it has been agreed that this money will be obtained by cashing out the Brazen Sky units that 1MDB and Najib have claimed for years are worth a billion dollars!
The bulk of the payment on the outstanding loan amount will come from the sale of so-called “fund units” from Brazen Sky, a financial unit owned by 1MDB, to an undisclosed buyer, said the executives. [Straits Times]
It is, of course, an outrageous claim. Should Abu Dhabi concede to it in any way in their own official announcements, Najib will whoop with joy and once more claim this as further proof he has been ‘cleared’.
Even if Abu Dhabi in fact refuses to say it, Jho Low, through the Straits Times is attempting by all this advance reporting to imply somehow they did, in order to be able to perpetrate a narrative that now the money has been repaid his boss is ‘cleared’.
This is all because there was a very good reason why IPIC denied categorically that it had guaranteed the ‘units’ in the Brazen Sky account at the now defunct bank of BSI (BSI was shut down over this very scandal).
Brazen Sky was the company into which 1MDB was attempting to claim that all the ‘profits’ from its original PetroSaudi joint venture had been stashed, when in fact all the money from that had also been long since stolen by Jho Low.
According to Bank Negara, the FBI, the Singapore Monetary Authority and anyone else you would care to trust, the $1.83 billion that went into that original joint venture went walkies long before it was ever invested. To cover up the fact 1MDB later pretended in 2012 that it had wound up the joint venture, sold off its interest and placed a whopping (but fictional) $2.3 billion in accumulated profits into a fund in the Cayman Islands, named Bridge Global Absolute Return.
The Bridge Global Fund later turned out to have been opened and managed by Jho Low’s sidekicks at BSI Bank, primarily a young fellow called Yeo Jiawei and all the details of that came out in his Singapore trial late last year, after which he was sent to jail. The management of the fund was further linked up by Yeo to another outfit in Australia called Avestra, which was also closed after investigations by the authorities, who interestingly observed that Avestra managed funds worth less than ten million dollars in total.
Which leaves one wondering about the $1 billion dollar price tag that the Prime Minister and the CEO of 1MDB put on the Brazen Sky/Lie account on numerous occasions.
The original accountants KPMG had refused to sign off such a value, which it finally emerged from enquiries by the Public Accounts Committee, was the reason why Najib sacked them.
Likewise, Deutsche Bank, which had originally raised 1MDB a $1 billion dollar loan based on the understanding that Brazen Sky had $1 billion in its BSI bank account, called back that loan the moment it realised the truth in 2015.
Finally, the new accountants Deloittes claimed they themselves had only agreed to value the account as indeed being worth $1 billion dollars after 1MDB managers told them that their friendly CEO from Aabar had agreed to ‘guarantee’ it at that value. On top of that some local research analyst had also been paid by Yeo Jiawei to write up the value of the account as well (for which he too has been sent to jail).
But, IPIC subsequently denied it had made that guarantee.
So, the importance to Jho Low and Najib of IPIC being made to appear to acknowledge the billion dollar value of that Brazen Sky account is now perhaps a little clearer.
Even though IPIC has denied that Aabar guaranteed the account and has challenged 1MDB to provide evidence, Low thinks by pretending IPIC has accepted it is going to receive its billion dollar repayment from that dodgy source will ‘clear’ Najib of all the evidence that there was no money ever there.
Hooray, once more the PM will have been ‘cleared’!
Jho must be most indebted to his contacts at the Straits Times, who in the longer version of their article laid out in even more excruciatingly obvious detail their naked bid to write up this cave-in by 1MDB as if it were a legal vindication of Najib and let the conspirators off the hook for stealing billions. This is what writer Lesley Lopez said:
“Bankers and legal executives familiar with the situation [ie Jho Low] believe the deal could significantly dilute the international legal challenges confronting Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration over the fallout from the 1MDB saga.
Here is why. The disputed monies in the Malaysia-Abu Dhabi row are central to legal suits brought by the US Department of Justice over the alleged misappropriation of funds from 1MDB. The Department of Justice claims that the funds siphoned from 1MDB went to fund purchases of real estate and other assets by associates of PM Najib.
The settlement agreement between Malaysia and Abu Dhabi would achieve what is known in legal parlance as “no predicate offence”, the financial executives said…
Proponents of the settlement between Malaysia and Abu Dhabi argue that a successful completion of the deal would weaken the impact of any legal action taken by foreign governments over alleged money laundering at 1MDB because of the lack of evidence”. [Straits Times]
“Weaken the impact of criminal charges because of lack of evidence?!” Dream on Jho Low. It’s like watching a toddler hiding behind a curtain when its feet are sticking out.
The argument reveals a blatant admission that Najib knows that criminal charges are about to hit him and his gang in places like the US, Switzerland and Singapore relating to the stolen money he was pretending had been placed into the empty Brazen Sky account.
Jho is trying to fend off the impact in Malaysia by promoting the contorted reasoning that if Abu Dhabi accepts its due payment, then those criminal charges will no longer apply because Najib is pretending the money came from the Brazen Sky account.
Really? Nice try Jho. What the money trails actually show is that Jho did steal the money, Jho did spend the money on yachts, diamonds for Rosmah, Hollywood mansions, movies, hotels, cars, jets, paintings, gambling, champagne and so much more.
There was none left in the Brazen Lie account.
So, his claim that the Abu Dhabi pay-off using yet more Malaysian taxpayers’ money somehow wipes clean the board is quite simply offensive predicated no sense. Find a lawyer who will put his name openly to saying otherwise.
Jho Low’s spin is such a gravity defying figment of imagination that it also had finance folk laughing out loud this weekend. The Brazen Sky account no longer exists and nor does the bank it once sat in, after all.
What’s more, there has never been any mention of any transfers of value out of BSI bank Singapore back to 1MDB. There are no units and there is no money. It will be the Malaysian taxpayer who will have to find the money to pay back Aabar and Aabar’s sober new financial managers would be tainted and humiliated if they made any attempt to lend credence to any other narrative.
We will soon find out what the IPIC London Stock Exchange announcement actually says and whether Abu Dhabi has sung for money rightfully theirs in the manner Malaysia has required. However, Malaysia’s media have been primed to take their cue whatever the wording of the settlement – “Najib is cleared over Brazen Sky and PetroSaudi!” is the likely headline. ‘No predicated offense’ clause lessens impact of likely criminal charges over billions stolen from 1MDB”.
That might sound baffling and full of jargon but Malaysians are not so dumb. They know what it really means is that they paid already and now Najib and Jho Low are trying to get them to pay again to get themselves off the hook. So, they should go to jail for twice as long!