Thursday, 31 March 2016
Sarawak Report : First 1MDB Arrest
First 1MDB Arrest - Former Senior Fund Manager Faces US Extradition Request In Abu Dhabi EXCLUSIVE!The first 1MDB related arrest has taken place at the request of the United States, in a move that will send shock waves and shivers through the Malaysian political establishment and also in related businesses in Hollywood and Las Vegas.
Sources close to Department of Justice officials in the United States have confirmed to Sarawak Report that the former CEO of Aabar, Mohamed Al Husseiny (top right), has been placed in detention by the authorities in Abu Dhabi, who are now processing an extradition request by the US Department of Justice, relating to charges concerning 1MDB.
Al Husseiny, who originated from Kenya, holds US citizenship, despite having moved to Abu Dhabi.
This is the first outward move in an investigation that has been ongoing in the United States and other jurisdictions for several months, into the disappearance of billions of dollars from the Malaysian development fund.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister, Najib Razak, who is the sole shareholder and signatory of the fund, has solidly denied that any wrong-doing took place.
Key player at International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) subsidiaryWhilst CEO of Aabar (a subsidiary of IPIC) until July of last year, Al Husseiny was a key player in a number highly controversial deals involving 1MDB, from which billions of ringgit appear to have disappeared.
He also fronted a massive bail-out of 1MDB’s debts, in a surprise move last June. It was one of his last actions in the post, from which he was summarily dismissed the following month.
There are numerous other questions concerning the management of Aabar, where Al Husseiny was regarded as a right hand man of the ex-Chairman, the high-rolling nightclub supremo, Khadem al Qubaisi, also CEO of IPIC.
Al Qubaisi was thrown out of all his official posts some weeks earlier in April of last year and following a period under house arrest he fled to the South of France, where he has considerable property.
Sarawak Report has identified that Al Qubaisi has also been removed from a number of his private business positions over the past fortnight – in the same period IPIC has mysteriously removed all reference to a number of key subsidiaries of Aabar (which were linked to Khadem) from its websites.
US dimensionThe effects of the news has already caused an apparent major loss of confidence in related businesses in the United States.
The previously burgeoning Las Vegas-based Hakkasan nightclub empire, which is owned by Al Qubaisi and fronted by its British born CEO, the Head of Mergers & Aquistions, Neil Moffit, has shown signs of panic over the past few hours, according to contacts.
Rumours circulating Las Vegas that three top executives, including Moffit, were about to jump ship have been quashed by Khadem’s New York law firm Greenberg Taurig.. for now.
However, there are equal concerns in Hollywood, where Mr Al Husseiny had revealed himself as the major investor in none other than the high-profile new movie production company Red Granite, which is owned by Najib’s step-son, Riza Aziz.
At the time of the announcement in August 2014 Sarawak Report questioned the apparent conflict of interest over a major business partner of 1MDB investing hundreds of millions in films commissioned by the shareholder’s own son.
How the former Abu Dhabi fund manager – a public servant – acquired such huge sums was another question that has gone unanswered.
Perhaps Mr Al Husseiny will be able to address these issues if he is indeed brought to the United States, as now formally requested. If so, the position of Rosmah’s son and Najib’s step-son Riza Aziz, who has been subject to much speculation over his ostentatious living and property acquisitions, might start to look somewhat precarious.
It is widely known in Hollywood that before Sarawak Report queried Red Granite’s connections to Malaysia’s public funds, Riza and his partner, Joey McFarland, had told their colleagues and connections that their funding came from Jho Low (rather than Al Husseiny).
Their blockbuster Wolf of Wall Street even carried a credit thanking Low.
Jho Low connectionRiza’s funding comes under the spotlight, just as Red Granite prepares to launch the production of its next planned Scorcese blockbuster, The General, a bio-pic of America’s hero George Washington, starring (of course) the Oscar-winning Leonardo di Caprio, a close party pal in Jho Low’s circle.
Al Husseiny’s dealings with the fugitive billionaire, his former boss Khadem Al Qubaisi, and their mutual business contact Jho Low are therefore likely to be top of the agenda during any questioning by law enforcers.
Aabar, once a wealthy investor with a US$70 million equity base, appears to have lost the bulk of its money. It has been struggling to raise sufficient lending in recent weeks on the London, largely to cover these commitments to 1MDB – the authorities in Abu Dhabi must be wondering why?
The authorities in the US are likely to be more interested in the extensive private investments made in property and businesses by these players, in particular record price breaking penthouses in New York and homes in Beverley Hills, plus the multi-million dollar investments in the Hakkasan chain managed by Moffit.
March 31, 2016
Interesting revelations by ABC AustraliaOn Monday, ABC Australia aired an episode of their programme Four Corners, detailing the shocking events surrounding the 1MDB scandal. The prime minister of Malaysia is alleged to have received vast amounts of money by improper means.
Yesterday morning, in a report entitled ‘Najib Razak 1MDB Scandal: Malaysian Prime Minister’s accounts triggered internal money-laundering alarm’, ABC News disclosed that Najib’s account received more than US$1 billion in two years and that millions were spent on luxury hotels, cars and jewellery.
What was interesting was the disclosure that Najib used this money in his account to fund ‘political affiliates’ in the run up to the 2013 general election, naming the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) as one of the recipients of the PM’s tainted money. This is a serious matter which the leaders of SUPP must explain to the public. There are legal and ethical issues about being the recipient of the proceeds of corruption.
Besides that, one must ask what price the PM extracted from SUPP for his generosity. Blind and unquestioning support? Is this why the leaders of SUPP have not made any stand about the 1MDB scandal?
The other question that springs to mind is this: did the other BN component parties receive similar handouts from Najib? If SUPP was a recipient, it is logical to assume that the other BN parties were also on the receiving end of Najib’s generosity. This means that they are all beholden to Najib.
It is no wonder that they fall over themselves fawning over him when he comes to Sarawak, pledging their undying loyalty to him. It is no wonder that they are all silent about the 1MDB scandal. Is the price for this largesse that they all shut down their thought processes and not apply their minds to whether it is possible, in the face of all the evidence, that the PM is in fact engaging in corrupt practices?
I invite the leaders of all the BN component parties to come clean and tell the public whether they received money from Najib for GE13, before further disclosures are made by the investigative journalists. This 1MDB money belongs to the people of Malaysia and we have the right to know. They must explain to us how they can claim to be fighting to safeguard Sarawak’s rights when they are beholden to Najib for the huge sums of money given to them.
The chief minister must also make his stand on 1MDB. Just saying that a man is innocent until proven guilty does not work in this case as the accused has removed the parties who are believed to have intended to bring criminal charges against him. The gravity of the situation should not be lost on the BN leaders.
Human beings have been murdered over this scandal and I hope these leaders will ask themselves whether it is worth them sacrificing their conscience to continue to deny an unassailable fact. The prime minister is unable to explain this obscene amount of money flowing into his accounts. The story keeps changing. Nobody believes he is clean. Do not insult our intelligence by insisting he has done no wrong.
BARU BIAN is the state assemblyperson for Ba’kelalan and Sarawak PKR chief.