Challenge to Najib to deny that he had not created an instant billionaire (in Malaysian ringgit) by approving RM1.8 billion commissions to Leissner or 9% of the three 1MDB bonds totally US$6.5 billion in 2012/3 - which is several times the industry average for underwriting risky bonds
The international headlines about former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner, who had been linked to the 1MDB scandal, barred from the US securities industry for failing to provide documents for 1MDB investigations, is the latest proof that despite Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s optimistic forecast in his 2016 New Year Message 21 months ago that the 1MDB scandal was no more and his Sept. 12 visit to the White House and meeting with US President Trump, the 1MDB scandal is not only very much alive, but has become more global in its tentacles and scope.
The US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) said the indefinite ban on Leissner was issued on Sept 11 as he did not respond to requests for documents and other information on 1MDB investigations.
The US industry body was probing Leissner’s departure from Goldman Sachs in early 2016, in particular into a reference letter he allegedly wrote during his time with the firm.
Leissner, who was formerly Goldman Sachs’ Southeast Asia chairperson, was an adviser to 1MDB and had allegedly issued an unauthorised letter in June 2015 to a financial institution in Luxembourg, vouching for controversial entrepreneur Jho Low, a key figure in the scandal surrounding the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.
Goldman Sachs suspended him, and he later quit the firm. Subsequently, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a 10-year ban against him trading in the country, effective March 13, 2017.
Leissner was prime mover in Goldman Sachs’ effort in raising US$6.5 billion through the sale of three bonds in 2012 and 2013 for 1MDB, a deal where the firm made US$593 millionh (or RM1.8 billion) in commissions.
Malaysians are entitled to know who in 1MDB, the Finance Ministry and the Government of Malaysia was responsible for approving US$593 million (or some RM1.8 billion) profits to Leissner or 9% of the three 1MDB bonds totally US$6.5 billion in 2012/3 - which is several times the industry average for underwriting risky bonds.
I challenge Najib to deny that he had not created an instant American billionaire (in Malaysian ringgit) in the 1MDB scandal by approving RM1.8 billion commissions to Leissner or 9% of the three 1MDB bonds totally US$6.5 billion in 2012/3 - which is several times the industry average for underwriting risky bonds.
Najib cannot really disclaim responsibility for creating an instant American billionaire (in Malaysian ringgit) in the 1MDB scandal because under Article 117 of the 1MDB Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A), the Prime Minister is the ultimate authority who exercised final direct control of 1MDB, as Article 117 required all major decisions of the company involving financial commitment (including investment), restructuring and major appointments to have the written authorization from the Prime Minister.
Under Article 117, the Prime Minister has powers exceeding those of the Advisory Board, the Board of Directors and the Top Management of 1MDB all added together, being the final approving authority for all 1MDB decisions, deals, investments and transactions.
If Najib claims he did not personally approve the RM1.8 billion commissions to Leisnner for the three 1MDB bonds in 2012 and 2013, then let Malaysians know who was the 1MDB operative or operatives who had acted with such recklessness in so high-handed a manner as making Leisnner an instant billionaire (in Malaysian currency) at the expense of 32 million Malaysians, and why no action had been taken by the police or other authorities to bring him or them to justice?
According to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) litigation to forfeit U$1.7 billion of 1MDB-linked assets in the US, UK and Switzerland, the three 1MDB loans arranged by Leissner and Goldman Sachs totalling US$6.5 billion represented two of the four “principal phases” of criminal conduct in the 1MDB scandal.
The US DOJ pleaded in its kleptocratic litigation that in 2012, “1MDB officials and others misappropriated and fraudulently diverted substantial portion of the (US$3.5 billion) proceeds that 1MDB raised through two separate bond offerings arranged and underwritten by Goldman Sachs International”.
It continued: “Beginning almost immediately after 1MDB received the proceeds of each these two bond issues, 1MDB officials caused a substantial portion of the proceeds – approximately US$1.367 billion, a sum equivalent to more than forty per cent of the total net proceeds raised – to be wire transferred to a Swiss bank account belonging to a British Virgin Island entity called Aabar Investments PJS Limited (“Aabar-BVI”).
“Aabar-BVI was created and named to give the impression that it was associated with Aabar Investments PJS (“Aabar”), a subsidiary of IPIC incorporated in Abu Dhabi. In reality, Aabar-BVI has no genuine affiliation with Aabar or IPIC, and the Swiss bank account belonging to Aabar-BVI was used to siphon off proceeds of the 2012 bond sales for the personal benefit of officials at IPIC, Aabar, and 1MDB and their associates.”
The same modus operandi was applied to the third 1MDB bond worth US$3 billion, where more than US$1.26 billion were diverted to a bank account in Singapore held by Tanore Finance Corporation (“Tanore account”), which was in effect operated by 1MDB mastermind Jho Low.
Who was responsible in 1MDB and the Malaysian Government in making Tims Leissner instant billionaire (in Malaysian currency) from the three 1MDB bonds in 2012 and 2013, while Malaysians suffered from one economic crisis to another, whether from the relentless rise in price of goods and services as a result of the GST, inadequate medical supplies for the sick in government hospitals or problems faced by 100,000 Felda settlers and 700,000 PTPTN loan defaulters.
Is this the way Najib is helping to “strengthen” the American economy?