1MDB scandal should be on agenda of ASEAN Summit in Sydney next weekend to discuss how 30 million Malaysians could get justice from the world’s worst kleptocracy
Yesterday, the world learn about the banker son of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Alex, becoming one of scores of international victims of 1MDB scandal.
But even more important than the international victims of the 1MDB scandal, which are not confined to individuals but also banks and financial companies - are the 30 million Malaysians who are directly the victims of the 1MDB scandal.
What is being done to give justice to the 30 million Malaysians?
Alex was sidelined from his executive position at Goldman Sachs after acting as a whistle-blower on allegedly shady deals involving billions between the global investment bank and the Malaysian state investor, 1MDB.
In 2012 and 2013, while Alex was working at Goldman Sachs in Singapore, the bank raised US$6 billion (RM24 billion) in bonds for 1MDB, in deals organised by senior banker Tim Leissner.
The bank earned US$590 million in fees and commissions from the 1MDB deal.
Alex, who was not involved in the bond dealings, said he raised concerns with colleagues about the high price, as well as the lack of clarity in offer documents on the use of the money.
Alex’s revelation has come at an awkward time for the Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who chaired 1MDB advisory board, not only be because of the ASEAN Summit in Sydney next weekend, which Najib originally scheduled to attend, but undermine a major pre-general election media offensive to deny that 1MDB scandal existed.
A glimpse to this major pre-general election media offensive was offered by the ridiculous statement by the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun that there is “nothing to link Jho Loh with 1MDB” and the equally ridiculous statement by the Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak that there is no evidence that the billion-ringgit luxury superyacht Equanimity seized by the Indonesian authorities in Bali last week was owned by Jho Low.
It is simply unthinkable that the Malaysian authorities are perpetrating a media scam of fake news, claiming that the 1MDB scandal, which turned Malaysian into a global kleptoracy in the past four years, does not exist and nothing more than “fake news”.
The Bloomberg international news agency has just published an updated “Guide to the Worldwide Probes of Malaysia’s 1MDB Fund”, stating that 1MDB, “supposed to attract foreign investment” had “spurred criminal and regulatory investigations around the world that have cast an unflattering spotlight on financial deal-making, election spending and political patronage under Prime Minister Najib Razak”.
There are probes related to 1MDB in at least 10 countries, focused on possible embezzlement or money laundering.
On “Who is involved?”, the Bloomberg update listed individual and financial companies including Jho Low, described as “a central figure” in the 1MDB scandal “who set up shell companies to collect proceeds from the funds and arranged the withdrawal of tens of millions of dollars to pay Malaysian government officials and for his own lavish spending”; and Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson and “a friend of Jho Low”, who co-founded the movie production company, Red Granite, that paid US$60 million to settle U.S. Justice Department claims it financed the “Wolf of Wall Street” with money siphoned from 1MDB.
The 1MDB scandal which turned Malaysia into a global kleptocracy should be on the agenda of the ASEAN summit in Sydney, which should discuss how justice could be restored to the 30 million Malaysians who are the real victims of the world’s worst kleptocracy.