Najib’s US top lawyers, hiccup to choice of new AG as 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) probe widens


1MDB  EMBATTLED Najib Razak

Najib hires top American lawyers, including former US A-G – Nation …

John Ashcroft was the United States attorney-general during the George W. Bush presidency and oversaw the Department of Justice in the turbulent days after the September 11 terror attacks. – AFP pic, June 2,
2018.

面对人生最严峻的贪腐案指控,以及新政府倾全力的调查,纳吉不惜重金礼聘来自美国的“最强法律团队”,助他及家人洗脱“一马案”罪名。(图:透视大马)

 

Najib hires top US lawyers, including ex-AG, as 1MDB probe widens 

EMBATTLED Najib Razak has engaged the services of a team of top US lawyers, including former attorney-general John Ashcroft and star litigator David Boies, in a clear sign of concern that the widening global probe into 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) could snare him and his family members.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has been investigating the alleged siphoning of funds from the state-owned entity for several years and even tagged Najib as Malaysian Official 1, but he had enjoyed immunity from criminal charges as the prime minister of Malaysia.

So, even though the DOJ probe stirred occasionally and captured the headlines, he was largely nonchalant about the US probe and even made a widely-publicised trip to the White House last September.

Things have changed drastically since May 9.

Najib is no longer the head of a foreign government, and, therefore, no longer enjoys full immunity from legal action.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration’s vigour in nailing Najib for the 1MDB scandal and cooperating with US investigators, makes the former prime minister and even his wife, Rosmah Mansor, principal targets in the US.

In the past, the focus of the DOJ investigation was mainly on Najib’s son, Riza Aziz and businessman Low Taek Jho.

But without the immunity of a prime minister and with the focus of the investigation in Malaysia on him and his wife, Najib has moved to hire top lawyers in the US.

Ashcroft was the AG during the George W. Bush presidency and oversaw the DOJ during the difficult days after the September 11 terror attacks.

After the Bush presidency, he set up a powerful lobby group called The Ashcroft Group and The Ashcroft Law Firm.

Checks by The Malaysian Insight show that the law firm registered Najib Razak as client on the Foreign Agents Registration Act register last September. He was listed as the prime minister of Malaysia and under the category of financed by a foreign government/foreign political party and other foreign principal.

It is unclear whether that engagement was for lobby or legal work because the FARA usually covers lobbying work in the US.

The Malaysian Insight understands that in recent days, Najib has engaged Ashcroft as his lawyer. The former PM has also hired David Boies, one of America’s top courtroom lawyers.

He has acted for the US government in its anti-trust case against IT giant Microsoft and aided fallen financiers including AIG’s Hank Greenberg and Enron’s Andy Fastow.

Sources told The Malaysian Insight that also part of the high-powered legal team is Matthew Schwartz. He spent a decade as a prosecutor in New York and handled several high-profile cases including the investigation of ponzi king Bernie Madoff.

In 2013, he was named Prosecutor of the Year by the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation. Schwartz is now in private practice.

These lawyers are expected in Kuala Lumpur soon. – June 2, 2018. The Malaysian Insight
The Malaysian Insight

纳吉聘美法律界“最强团队”辩护 背水一战誓洗一马案罪名

即将面临人生中最严峻贪腐案指控的前首相纳吉,已经做好背水一战的完全准备,重金礼聘来自美国法律界多位传奇人物,包括美国前总检察长约翰阿什克罗夫与明星律师大卫博依斯等人,势必洒尽千金也要洗脱“一马发展公司”(1MDB)案所有指控!

据了解,自早前两名大马律师哈柏星及阿迪慕都从律师团队请辞后,纳吉似乎不太信任本地律师,转而向外国律师求援,这次他筹组的法律团队中,据悉皆为美国籍律师。

纳吉之所以大费周章筹备外国律师团,正是因为新上台的希盟政府,此刻也正倾全力搜集他在一马案中的罪证,不但成立两个特别调查委员会,还积极与美国联邦调查局和美国司法部合作。为应付这铺天盖地的检控网,纳吉务必打起全副精神迎战。

更重要的是,如今已失去免控权的纳吉,无法再张开保护伞,庇护同样受调查的家人,包括妻子罗斯玛及继子里扎等人。他唯有大手笔请来美国最具实力的律师团队,保护他及家人免于牢狱之灾。消息指,这支美国律师团将于近期抵马。

据悉,这个“地表最强”律师团队将由美国前总检长约翰阿什克罗夫带领。约翰是小布什总统任内的总检长,曾在2001年美国经历911恐袭事件后,领导美国司法部度过艰难时刻。

在卸任后,他成立属于自己的游说公司“阿什克罗夫集团”以及“阿什克罗夫法律事务所”,继续在美国政界及司法界发挥影响力。

《透视大马》查悉,“阿什克罗夫法律事务所”已于去年9月,根据美国“外国代理人登记法”(Foreign Agents Registration Act),在外国顾客一栏填上纳吉的大名。其上还注明纳吉的身份是“大马首相”,并由“外国政府/政党”出资。

不过,目前尚未清楚,双方的交易项目是游说事务或法律事务,因为“外国代理人登记法”的注册,常见于美国机构为外国领导人所进行的游说工作。

“外国代理人登记法”,是美国为保障国防,内部安全及对外关系而制定的联邦立法。要求凡为外国政府,外国政党或外国领导人进行宣传或其它活动的人,必须公开其身份,以便美国政府和人民知晓这些人的身份,并对其活动和言行作出考察。

除了约翰,据了解纳吉还聘请了数位知名美籍律师,他们每一位都擅长处理经济、财务及金融界的刑事案件。

纳吉的美国法律团队中,包括明星律师大卫博依斯,大卫曾代表美国政府在反失信案里与世界科技巨头微软对簿公堂。

他还曾担任不少臭名昭著的财经界丑闻人物法律顾问,包括美国国际集团(AIG)前首席执行长汉克格林伯格,以及安然集团(Enron)前首席财务执行长安德鲁法斯托。

消息指出,另一位律师马修史瓦哲也非省油的灯,他曾在纽约担任检控官长达10年,经受过不少知名大案,例如轰动国际的“庞氏骗局”案件。

至2013年,马修获得美国联邦执法基金会颁发“年度检察官”的荣誉,他目前已卸下检察官身份转任律师。- 透视大马

Hiccup to choice of Malaysia’s new AG

King prefers a Federal Court or Court of Appeal judge for top job

Senior lawyer Tommy Thomas as the country’s new Attorney General.

PETALING JAYA: A proposal by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to appoint senior lawyer Tommy Thomas as the Attorney General has sparked a major dis­agreement with the King.

Essentially, Dr Mahathir is adamant about replacing Tan Sri Apan­di Ali, submitting only Thomas’ name to Sultan Muhammad V.

However, the King insisted on more than one name, according to sources close to the royalty.

“The King has suggested four names to Dr Mahathir, including an existing Federal Court judge and a Court of Appeal judge,” said one of the sources.

“The King’s argument is that he wants somebody who has been a judge or even a retired judge. He does not care whether the AG is an Indian, Chinese or Malay,’’ said the source, adding that the King demonstrated this when he accepted DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng as the Finance Minister.

The sources also pointed out that the King had once even recommended Thomas to the Kelantan government to act in a case against Petronas.

“The King wants an AG who is able to advise him on Syariah matters too, but Dr Mahathir rebutted that the Solicitor General can handle that job.

“However, the King felt that the AG as the top officer should be the one advising him,’’ said the source.

The Palace felt that it was not right for the blogs to construe the issue as “a constitutional crisis”.

“This is just a difference in opi­nions. The King informed Dr Ma­­ha­thir that if he really wants some­one to prosecute the 1MDB case, he need not make Thomas the AG.

“Thomas could be appointed as a DPP (deputy public prosecutor) just like how it was done with lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee before this,’’ added the source.

Just two days ago, prominent pro-Dr Mahathir blogger Syed Akbar Ali wrote on Malaysia Today, saying that there seemed to be serious issues developing between the Government and “another party” over the AG’s appointment.

“There is a very strong rumour (which I heard from very strong people) that our Dr Mahathir has already shortlisted one candidate as the new Attorney General,” he wrote, adding that “the candidate is said to be a non-Muslim, male Indian” and “an expert on Federal Constitution”.

Syed Akbar ruled out eminent retired judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram as the candidate.

He further said that the appointment was being objected to on the grounds that the candidate was neither a Malay nor a Muslim.

He said the new AG was tipped to be on a strict two-year contract with a job focused on institutional re­forms.

Yesterday, news portal Malaysian Insight also reported that the new Government was headed for a clash with the Malay rulers over the appointment.

Thomas could not be contacted to confirm the matter. Neither the press nor his close friends could reach him yet.

A retired senior judge said the matter was far more complicated than it appeared to be.

“A candidate for the AG’s position would have to be as qualified as a Federal Court judge with no less than 15 years’ experience in legal practice.”

Senior lawyer Haniff Khatri Ab­­dulla said the three characteristics that an AG should have to be effective were that he should be able to give general advice on each and every legal policy of the country, assist the Government on every provision of the Federal Constitution and hold two roles as the AG as well as the Public Prosecutor.

“As a Public Prosecutor, the candidate must have experience in criminal practice in order to be effective and not end up being a lame duck.”

Malaysians have come out in support of Thomas as the new AG.

Social media users, in particular, said the Prime Minister’s choice of AG should be respected by the King, saying the Ruler must be above politics.

They also vouched for Thomas’ credibility for the top job, saying he is the most suitable candidate

Facebook user Hirzan Afifi said: “If Tommy Thomas is our new attorney general, I got nothing to oppose. He is the king.”

Another user, Ranendra Bhatta­chary­ya, said: “Haven’t we, Malay­sians, having put in place the Government of our choice, demand the best should be appointed into office for vital national interests. Tom­my Thomas for Attorney Gene­ral of Malaysia.”

Another user Lim Hwah Beng said “Tommy Thomas is the one preferred by PH to be AG. It’s good if they can succeed in appointing Tommy Thomas as AG but I doubt they can … Anyway, we will take it one step at a time.”

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia su­­preme council member A Kadir Jasin said in his blog that the King should respect the Constitution and act on the Government’s advice. – By Wong Chun Wai – Star

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