Cabinet should remember the historic advice of Rulers in October 2015 to be transparent and truthful in investigations into the 1MDB scandal and should expand the Cabinet decision to enlarge the scope of RCI to inquire not only into Bank Negara forex losses but also into 1MDB scandal
The latest news in the unending 1MDB international money-laundering scandal which has catapulted Malaysia into the dubious stratosphere of a “global kleptocracy” is that another bank, the Swiss private bank Edmond de Rothschild, has become the latest financial institution to be punished for regulatory lapses in relations to money laundering and the 1MDB scandal.
The Luxembourg Financial Sector Supervisory Commission (CSSF) fined the local arm of Swiss private bank Edmond de Rothschild EUR8.985 million (RM43 million) for failing to take proper safeguards against money laundering in the handling of funds linked to scandal-hit Malaysian investment fund 1MDB.
Luxembourg is the latest country and Rothschild the latest Swiss bank to be swept up in the 1MDB case, which has triggered money-laundering investigations in at least six countries including Switzerland, Singapore and the United States.
As part of an extensive review into 1MDB-related transactions, Singapore has shut down the local units of Switzerland's BSI Bank and Falcon Bank due to failures of money laundering controls and improper conduct by senior management, frozen tens of millions of dollars and charged several private bankers.
The review uncovered a complex web of transactions involving shell companies and individuals operating in many jurisdictions, including the United States, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and Malaysia.
Singapore's central bank last month fined Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) and United Overseas Bank (UOB) a total of S$1.6 million ($1.15 million) for breaching anti-money laundering rules in transactions related to 1MDB.
Swiss agency FINMA has already reprimanded Credit Suisse and UBS for dealings surrounding 1MDB.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) updated kleptocratic suits to forfeit US$1.7 billion 1MDB-linked assets alleged more than US$4.5 billion had been stolen and money-laundered from 1MDB by high-level fund officials and their associates.
As stated in the statement released along with the updated DOJ kleptocratic suits in California to forfeit a new list of 1MDB0-linked assets last Thursday, Acting US Attorney Sandra R. Brown said:
“These cases involve billions of dollars that should have been used to help the people of Malaysia, but instead was used by a small number of individuals to fuel their astonishing greed. The misappropriation of 1MDB funds was accomplished with an extravagant web of lies.”
But wonder of wonders – while the whole world is agog at the brazen money-laundering and the unconscionable theft of billions of dollars of public funds by a few for monies meant for the people of Malaysia, with several countries producing proofs to fine and punish established and reputable banks as well as convict errant bankers for financial crimes, the Malaysian Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the major law and financial regulators, and major national institutions in Malaysia like Parliament and the media collectively staged the ongoing charade that there is no basis for the other countries, including the United States, Singapore, Switzerland and Luxembourg to fine and punish banks, convict errant bankers or institute legal suits in relation to the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal.
Are the Prime Minister and the 36 Cabinet Ministers aware that they have become the laughing stock in the world for establishing a Royal Commission of Inquiry to inquire into Bank Negara foreign exchange losses scandal a quarter of a century ago, but completely unconcerned and uninterested about what is probably among the most monstrous and colossal money-laundering scandal in the world – the 1MDB scandal?
The 36 Cabinet Ministers should remember the historic advice of Rulers in October 2015 that the government should be transparent and truthful in investigations into the 1MDB scandal and should expand the Cabinet decision to enlarge the scope of RCI to inquire not only into Bank Negara forex losses but also into 1MDB scandal
The historic Rulers’ statement asked the government to complete the 1MDB investigations as soon as possible and to take “the appropriate stern action” against all found to be implicated.
Up to date, no one has been found to be guilty or implicated!
The Rulers had stressed that all concerned should extend “real and sincere” cooperation so that the investigation could achieve its objectives.
They said: “The findings of the investigation must be reported comprehensively and in a transparent manner so that the people will be convinced of the sincerity of the Government which shall not at all conceal facts and the truth.
“The failure to give convincing clarification and answers is feared to have resulted in a crisis of confidence.
“As a consequence, the people believe, whether basing on reality or perception, that this is among the causes for the plunge in the value of the Malaysian Ringgit, impacting the country’s financial market and economic climate negatively and at the same time adversely affecting the world’s view of Malaysia.”
It will be Malaysia’s sovereign shame if Malaysians have to depend on international investigations launched in various countries like United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Luxembourg and United States (under the US Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative 2010) to throw light on the 1MDB scandal.
Malaysians can still remember the 1MDB investigations by multi-agency Special Task Force comprising the four Tan Sri chiefs of Bank Negara, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency, the Royal Malaysian Police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers, and headed by then Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail – but which completely fizzled out when Gani was sacked as Attorney-General some two months before his compulsory retirement on Oct. 6, 2015.
In view of the Rulers’ concern with 1MDB, which chimes in with the concern of thinking and patriotic Malaysian citizens, the Cabinet should be reminded of the Rulers’ Statement on October 2015, and at its next Cabinet meeting, expand the scope of the Cabinet decision on Wednesday to enlarge the scope of the Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate not only into the Bank Negara forex losses a quarter of a century ago, but the current losses of the 1MDB scandal which exceed the Bank Negara forex losses.
I want to repeat my call to the entire Cabinet to collectively resign next Wednesday if they are unable to purge Malaysia of the ignominy and infamy of the nation being regarded world-wide as a global kleptocracy as a result of the international 1MDB money-laundering scandal, or 36 Ministers will go down in Malaysian history as a Cabinet of kleptocracy, under whose tenure Malaysia acquired the ignominy and infamy as a “global kleptocracy”!