There is ample evidence of a Trump interference into the US Department of Justice’s legal actions against culprits of the infamous 1MDB scandal.
President Donald Trump’s invitation to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to visit the White House, and the sudden suspension of DoJ’s action to seize 1MDB-linked assets only days earlier is no coincidence. The latter paved the way for the former. Together, they signal a reversal of US action on the largest and most sensational money laundering case ever undertaken by the DoJ, which has vowed to demonstrate to the world that the US shall not be the playground for the corrupt to frolic with their ill-gotten money.
Ostensibly, the suspension of civil suits to seize the US$l.7 billion assets acquired from the US$4.5 billion alleged by DoJ to have been stolen from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB was to avoid the adverse effects of such seizure on its on-going criminal investigations. However, such reason is belied by logic and facts.
SUSPENSION OF ASSET SEIZURE ILLOGICAL
Why did DoJ escalate its seizure by adding another US$540 million of the stolen assets and enlarge its documentary evidence of theft from 136 pages to 251 pages only weeks before its sudden suspension of such action? How could the realisation of such adverse effects occur suddenly, out of the blue so to speak, when the investigation has been on-going for two years and the seizure action for one year
And why were the names of Najib (code named as MO1), his wife and his step son Riza Aziz completely erased in the latest documentation attached to court filing to suspend such asset seizure? They had earlier been exposed by DoJ in meticulous details to have possessed multi-million-dollar assets acquired with the 1MDB stolen billions.
If DoJ is really intensifying its crackdown on the 1MDB scandal as claimed, would its President be concurrently endorsing Najib’s leadership in such ostentatious fashion as a White House invite?
The fact that the case is already put into cold store is hinted by the FBI declaration that the criminal investigations would “take time” and that it will update the court only once every six months, conveying the impression that the probe may go on for years.
As further indication that something untoward could have happened to the case is the shocking replacement of the independent fiduciary overseeing Riza Aziz’s Red Granite Pictures with the latter’s own chief financial officer Randall Hermann. Red Granite was financed by owner/CEO Riza using stolen 1MDB funds to produce blockbuster “The Wolf of Wall Street” and other films. And DoJ had been trying to seize profits derived from these films on behalf of the Malaysian people.
So, how could Hermann be expected to act impartially on behalf of DoJ to recover maximum value from these fraud permeated assets which Hermann is also duty bound to preserve as the company’s CFO? It is like putting the fox to look after the chicken. Such a bizarre arrangement is unprecedented and smacks of criminal improprieties.
NEGATIVE FALLOUT OF THE TRUMP-NAJIB MEET
Meanwhile, news break of Trump’s invitation to Najib instantly attracted worldwide media attention with sensational headlines billing Najib variably as “Scandal-Struck Malaysian PM” (WSJ), “Malaysian Leader in Billion-Dollar Scandal” (NYT), “Scandal-Hit Malaysian Leader” (Reuters, The Independent, Indian Express), “Scandal-ridden Malaysian PM” (Asian Correspondent), etc. Imagine the heightening of such global media coverage when Trump actually welcomes Najib at the White House on September 12.
Najib’s scandalous role in the 1MDB infamy, which is often described as the world’s greatest financial scandal, will understandably be sensationalised again, thus reinforcing his image as the world’s leading kleptocrat. So too, will President Trumps’ perplexing decision come under the spotlight for his invitation to a foreign leader who has been heavily incriminated in the US government’s relentless hunt for culprits of this global financial felony.
Trump is already plagued by accusation of interference with DoJ’s on-going probe of his alleged Russian link in the presidential election campaign, which may yet result in an impeachment. Is he prepared to face the consequence of another round of meddling with the course of justice pursued by DoJ, this time over the 1MDB affair, should such evidence surface?
As for Najib, does he really think that a White House invitation could cleanse his stain in the 1MDB affair even among his otherwise captive electoral supporters, when the cat is already out of the bag? Will the consequential international denigration of him personally and the further degradation of Malaysia as a klepocracy be worth the imagined “gain” in domestic politics?