Najib government has finally come out of the cold, openly claiming that the 1MDB scandal is “fake news”, even embracing Jho Loh becoming his defender and apologist
The Najib government has finally come out of the cold, openly claiming that the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal is “fake news”, even embracing 1MDB mastermind Jho Low becoming his defender and apologist.
The Minister for Multimedia and Communications, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak has out-Jho Loh even Jho Loh himself in asserting that there is no proof that the billion-ringgit Equanimity luxury yacht seized by the Indonesian authorities in Bali on Wednesday belonged to Jho Low.
This is because Jho Low had as good as admitted to the ownership of Equanimity yacht when in his reaction to the yacht’s seizure by the Indonesian authorities in Wednesday, the 1MDB mastermind accused the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) of "global overreach".’
Through his spokesperson, Jho Low said:
"The US Department of Justice has stayed asset forfeiture proceedings in this case and has still not taken any steps to prove that any impropriety has occurred.
“It is therefore disappointing that, rather than reflecting on the deeply flawed and politically-motivated allegations, the DOJ is continuing with its pattern of global overreach - all based on entirely unsupported claims of wrongdoing."
The superyacht, reportedly worth US$250 million (RM1 billion), is among several assets being sought by the DOJ for allegedly being acquired using funds it says were misappropriated from Malaysian state fund 1MDB.
The DOJ believes that at least US$4.5 billion has been misappropriated from 1MDB by Malaysian government officials among others and is looking to recover around US$1.7 billion of in assets allegedly acquired using these stolen funds.
The DOJ's involvement was in response to the funds being laundered through the US financial system.
The DOJ has temporarily filed for a stay on the forfeiture of these assets, which is through a civil suit, pending a parallel criminal case.
Salleh said the furore raised over the seizure of the yacht is yet another failed attempt by the Opposition to mislead Malaysians using fake news'.
Salleh also said there was also no proof that funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd were used to purchase the RM1 billion vessel, the Equanimity.
He said the source of the allegations was the DoJ civil suit, which had been on hold since last August.
Salleh said: "Until today, apart from bare allegations contained in the suit, the DoJ has not shown any tangible proof that Low is the actual owner of the yacht or that it was purchased with funds from 1MDB.
"Furthermore, the DoJ has yet to prove any of its allegations in a court of law, despite nearly two years passing since its sensationalised press conference of July 2016."
Salleh’s statement is virtually a mea culpa by the Najib administration on the 1MDB scandal, and reveals the real character of the Azalina Committee on Fake News as no more than Azalina Committee to Suppress the 1MDB Scandal as Fake News.