At the weekend Sarawak Report detailed some of the examples given in the US Department of Justice’s court filing showing the deliberate conspiracy to commit fraud participated in by top 1MDB officials in order to help siphon billions from the fund.
All their actions were orchestrated by Najib’s appointed advisor Jho Low and were signed off by Najib himself. These actions included providing different signed versions of the same formal agreements to different parties, primarily in order to get one set of bankers to release the stolen funds (on the grounds they were merely ‘repayments of loans’ or ‘refundable deposits’) and other sets of bankers to accept the stolen funds (as ‘payments’ or ‘loans’).
The 251 page document goes on to detail several more such instances of blatant fraud, forgery and deception, all sanctioned by today’s guest at the White House, Najib Razak, who together with his family was the major beneficiary of the missing billions.
One such further manoeuvre is described by the FBI investigators as they detail how the collaborators sought to inflate the value of the original PetroSaudi Joint Venture with 1MDB after most of the money had been stolen out of the venture from the very beginning.
LOW AND OTHERS TRIED TO COVER UP THE MISAPPROPRATION OF MORE THAN $1 BILLION FROM THE JOINT VENTURE
is the headline for this section, which explains how at least $1.03 billion of the $1.83 billion invested in the joint venture was stolen but 1MDB officials tried to alter the nature of its relationship with PetroSaudi several times (from a joint venture, to a loan, to a sell out in return for an investment in the company that was disguised as a ‘balanced portfolio’ but hidden off-shore). In summary the DOL says:
“Paragraph 131:”…… LOW and 1MDB officials attempted to inflate the reported value of 1MDB’s investment in the Joint Venture several times…the co-conspirators tried to achieve this end by restructuring 1MDB’s investment in the Joint Venture several times, ultimately converting that interest into an opaque and illiquid asset, the value of which could not be easily verified by auditors and others. Thereafter, the co-conspirators orchestrated a fraudulent valuation of the assets underlying the investment to massively inflate their value and to create the false impression that 1MDB’s investment in the Joint Venture had generated a profit, when in fact it had been diminished significantly through misappropriation.
Ouch! It means all the sceptisim of critics like Tony Pua, who questioned the real value of the Cayman Islands portfolio that claimed to be worth $2.2 billion, representing over a stunning $400 million in profits, has been born out. Exactly how Jho Low and 1MDB officials pulled off this fraudulent con to hide their thefts from the 1MDB auditors are detailed here:
Expand textExpand text
Remember that Najib’s cheerleaders are fond of repeating that the DOJ have “no proof” to substantiate their accusations. They clearly have chosen not to read this detective novel of a court filing available free online!
RELATED STORY: Who are the new characters in DOJ’s latest suit?
The excuse of many of the banks caught up in 1MDB is that they were lied to by Jho Low, PetroSaudi, Aabar and 1MDB officials. However, as the DOJ makes clear, a number of bankers colluded also in these lies, which has been backed up by trials in Singapore that resulted in prison sentences for a number of them.
For example, this is how 1MDB officials and their cronies at BSI (specifically Yak Yew Chee and Yeo Jiawei) helped mislead 1MDB’s accountants by providing false valuations and claiming there was cash in the Brazen Sky account belonging to 1MDB:
145. At the December 12, 2012 meeting with KPMG, which was held at BSI’s offices in Singapore, 1MDB and BSI officials misled KPMG about the nature of the Bridge Global assets held by Brazen Sky. Minutes from the meeting show that 1MDB OFFICER 4 [Terence Geh the Executive Director of Finance] and the BSI bankers present at the meeting (SINGAPORE BANKER 2 and SINGAPORE BANKER 3) withheld from KPMG the fact that the assets underlying the Bridge Global investment consisted of two drillships and instead conveyed the impression that the fund units were backed by cash.Expand text
Redeeming The Money!
The next piece of deception in which this team of lying officials all colluded was the nonsense farce of 2014 when Najib Razak and his Finance Ministry team and 1MDB repeatedly told the world that they were ‘redeeming’ the money ‘invested in PetroSaudi’ and then the ‘Cayman Island Portfolio’ back into 1MDB’s bank accounts.
No one sensible believed them at the time and quite rightly so. The DOJ has lifted the veil over what they were up to and sure enough the money they had flowing through various bank accounts that they claimed were being returned from the Bridge Global Investment Fund based in the Caymans was in fact money 1MDB had just borrowed from Deutsche Bank, based on the lie that the Bridge Global money was sitting as collateral in the bank!
150. In 2014, officials at 1MDB and others engaged in further fraudulent conduct…In late 2014, 1MDB claimed publicly and in its financial statements that Brazen Sky had “redeemed” more than $1.2 billion-worth of Bridge Global fund units in cash. ..this “redeemed” cash did not originate from the Bridge Global Fund, however, but rather from money that 1MDB borrowed from Deutsche Bank in 2014. Deutsche Bank loan proceeds were passed through the Bridge Global and Brazen Sky Accounts multiple times to give the appearance that Brazen Sky was redeeming fund units. In fact, Brazen Sky’s investments in the Bridge Global Fund were not capable of producing $1.2 billion in cash.
In other words, a perfect example of what is known in the business as ’round-tripping’ or more colloquially as cooking the books. One wonders why Najib still bothers to declare the far milder Auditor General’s version of the same events an ‘Official Secret’ when the DOJ’s damning evidence is out there to back it up?
Low Forged Fake Documents
Dear Readers – we are still only one of the way through this DOJ page turner of a crime thriller and the word ‘fraud/fraudulent’ has come up two dozen times and the word ‘false’ a dozen times, as in:
Low Made False Representations and Provided False Documentation to Conceal His Role in the Misappropriation
In this section the DOJ details how Low tried to lie and pretend on the one hand he didn’t own Good Star and then to another bank the following month that he did in order to be able to move the money. And there is plenty in the DOJ report to show exactly how Low was using this stolen money – for example the millions he splashed gambling in Las Vegas:
293. The Venetian Casino used customer account number XXX4296 to identify LOW. On or about July 10, 2012, $11,000,000 was deposited into LOW’s account at theVenetian Casino, and records show that LOW gambled there for approximately seven days beginning on or about that date.
294. On or about July 11, 2012, an additional wire of $2,000,000 was sent from the Alsen Chance Account to Las Vegas Sands LLC. The payment details on that wire read: “TAN KIM LOONG PLAYER NO [XXX]8710.” The Venetian Casino Resort used customer account number XXX8710 to identify TAN.
295. On or about July 15, 2012, LOW withdrew an aggregate cash amount of $1,150,090 at the Venetian Casino: $500,000 as a withdrawal of deposit, and $650,090 as redemption of casino chips and other gaming instruments. Several individuals gambled with LOW on this occasion, using his account. These individuals included AZIZ; Red Granite Pictures co-founder McFarland; DiCaprio; and the 1MDB-SRC OFFICER, who was the former Chief Investment Officer of 1MDB and was at the time the CEO of another Ministry of Finance vehicle called SRC International (“1MDB-SRC OFFICER”).12
It has already been detailed many times how these same conspirators colluded on a number of ridiculous letters to banks, accountants and auction houses to pretend that the monies they had stolen were gifts either from Saudi Royals or each other (Hussein to Riza, Tan to Low, Low’s Dad to Low) or just no strings-attached investments from SRC to companies controlled by Low (Nik Faisal Arif Kamil of SRC signed off such monies to BSI Bank for companies like the bogus Affinity Capital and the bogus Pacific Harbour off-shore shell companies, bothowned by Tan/Low).
All of the above involved forgeries, lies and nonsense now lie revealed for all to read about and under the relentless spotlight of the DOJ investigation.
These conspirators didn’t just plot together. The bent officials from 1MDB partied and gambled the money away together with Low and Najib’s son, whilst ordering diamonds for The Boss.
So, when their successors pompously release 1MDB statements and press releases condemning critics and telling the world that their ‘restructuring programmes’ are underway and that there is no evidence of wrong doing, the rest of us should remember it is all still just lies and the lot of them will meet their eventual judgement time in a US court of law.