New allegations on 1MDB scandal: More clarity still needed


Story behind the story: Wright and his ‘Billion Dollar Whale’ co-author Hope have published new allegations on 1MDB but the anonymity of their sources could compromise their credibility.

Nothing should be assumed too easily about even an established scandal like 1MDB, certainly not guilt or culpability, if sound investigations and public confidence are not to be prejudiced.


JUST when everyone seemed inured to shocking details about 1MDB, Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporters appeared to have come up with more.

Investigative reporters Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, who covered 1MDB issues before, made additional claims last Monday that would be shocking if proven true.

They say that upon the initiative of Malaysian authorities, China offered to bail out 1MDB’s debts or losses in exchange for Malaysia’s support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects.

These projects were further said to have come at inflated costs, were acknowledged as unprofitable, and lacked transparency in their implications.

Wright and Hope say their information came from the minutes of “secret meetings” between Malaysian and Chinese officials and the personal testimony of some Malaysian officials past and present.

The authors could have been more transparent about their sources and on the content of their revelations, but apparently not.

Countries do sometimes engage in such intrigue, but nonetheless it is always easier to allege than to verify. Serious allegations such as these require equally serious substantiation.

The gist of the claims had been troubling thoughtful Malaysians, yet few expected it to take such form. Not without reason, doubts linger about the details and accuracy of these claims among all parties.

Even when current government officials could have made political capital by weighing in, making the former government’s alleged actions seem nastier, they refrained from it.

Formal meetings between government officials of two countries are routinely confidential and therefore “secret”, so there is nothing particularly sinister about their unreported nature.

There is also doubt about the minutes of meetings containing compromising information. Some meetings were said to be in China where Malaysian officials visited, yet the hosts freely permitted the visitors to go home with the recorded minutes of potentially explosive discussions.

The WSJ’s story has present and former Malaysian officials informing it about a supposedly secretive pact between Malaysia and China, yet senior Malaysian officials both past and present know nothing about it. Both sets of Malaysian officials are genuinely concerned and seriously want to know. Yet it is said that some Malaysian officials already knew, had known for more than half a year since last May, and who preferred to tell all to the WSJ only now rather than to their colleagues or the media earlier.

The media at the time also did not know, neither Malaysiakini, Sarawak Report, nor any other that was actively covering the issues, despite a freer news environment after last May’s election that encouraged whistleblowing and exposés.

For the kinds of sources said to have been used for the WSJ story – minutes of several meetings, and the testimonies of officials – the substantiation has been rather lean.

In its January 7 report of just 1,703 words, only two dates (June 28 and September 22, 2016) have been mentioned for the meetings. Two Chinese officials had been named at the meetings but not any Malaysian.

Xiao Yaqing, Chairman of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, is quoted as stressing the importance of one particular meeting but nothing else.

Sun Lijun, “head of China’s domestic security force,” is cited as mentioning his agency’s capacity in conducting surveillance on parties inimical to Malaysia’s previous government, but nothing about what Malaysia is supposed to do in return.

Each of the two named persons had only part of a story to tell, with nothing to substantiate the larger claims made by the WSJ’s reporters. There is nothing definitive like a “smoking gun” to back those claims.

No Malaysian official at any of the meetings has been named or quoted, not even in reported speech. For many observers that seems odd, particularly where deals were supposedly agreed between two sides.

Malaysia is also supposed to have agreed to BRI projects only when China offered to bail out 1MDB. That presumption seems somewhat stilted.

Later in the story, former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is said in reported speech to have voiced support for “China’s position in the South China Sea during a regional summit in Laos.”

Najib’s Government may have been quiet on China’s sweeping maritime territorial claims, it was certainly less vocal than Vietnam or the Philippines on the dispute, but nowhere can it be said that it supported China’s position in the South China Sea.

And an Asean summit would have been the last place such a thing could have happened, even if it ever did. The WSJ story also claims that China had offered Malaysia its influence in stopping US investigations into 1MDB and Malaysian leaders at the time.

Given the highly competitive China-US relationship, particularly in third countries, what possible “influence” could China really have on the US in stopping investigations into allegedly shady deals involving China?

For many observers, the US would have had every incentive to proceed with such investigations, the more so when China appeared to be apprehensive about them.

It would be utterly foolish for any Chinese official to think there is such influence, and totally naïve for any Malaysian official to believe it. The same seems to apply to readers of the WSJ story.

The story behind the story is that the documents such as the minutes of meetings had been discovered in official files left behind by the previous Government after it had vacated official premises following its election defeat.

Again, many would doubt that the ousted officials had taken all possibly incriminating material with them as they left, except for these highly revealing documents.

The new Pakatan Harapan leaders had also been slow in taking office, first with the delayed swearing-in ceremony of the new Prime Minister and then in the phased nature of ministerial appointments.

Yet despite these delays, it is said that the departing Barisan Nasional leaders still did not retrieve the documents that could be used against them.

The WSJ sources rest on the what (documented minutes) and even more on the who (Malaysian officials who provided the minutes, and those who testified to it).

All of these officials are persons unknown or unnamed. Anonymity sometimes accords legitimate protection, but not now when it only compromises their credibility.

When serious allegations are levelled against one party or another, in this case against both Chinese and former Malaysian officials, some vested political interests of someone somewhere could be served.

It has also been implied that other “secret talks” had led to Malaysia’s readiness for Chinese naval vessels to dock in Malaysian ports.

But to a non-aligned country, the docking of vessels from friendly nations for supplies and refuelling should not be an issue – certainly not an issue requiring the seal of approval from secret negotiations.

Sarawak Report, which initially gave 1MDB information to several newspapers including WSJ, has since complained about some of its methods.

The WSJ has done very good work on 1MDB investigations and similar stories before, and it will most certainly do so again.

Najib and Jho Low have meanwhile rejected the latest WSJ story as expected, but others also have their doubts.

To get to the truth behind hazy intrigues, both clarity and credibility are essential at every stage. That has yet to happen consistently with 1MDB coverage.

Behind The Headlines by Bunn Nagara The Star

Bunn Nagara is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia.

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Malaysia files criminal charges against Goldman Sachs, ex-bankers in 1MDB probe


https://youtu.be/jNJU98b4lzI

Malaysia takes Goldman Sachs to court with AG Tommy Thomas saying that the bank’s dealings with 1MDB broke laws at the heart of the capital markets; MRT Corp will be looking for a new CEO; and Unisem’s offer is “not fair or reasonable”.

This is the first time Malaysian prosecutors have directly targeted Goldman Sachs for its alleged role in the 1MDB scandal © AP

PETALING JAYA: The Attorney-General Chambers has filed criminal charges against subsidiaries of investment bank Goldman Sachs and its key employees over the handling of bonds issued by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) totalling USD6.5bil (RM27.2bil).

Attorney general Tommy Thomas said that charges were filed against Goldman Sachs’ former Southeast Asia chairman Tim Leissner and former 1MDB employees Jasmine Loo Ai Swan and fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.

He added that banker Roger Ng Chong Hwa would be charged shortly.

Thomas said Leissner and Ng had conspired with Low, Loo and others to bribe Malaysian public officials in order to procure the selection, involvement and participation of Goldman Sachs in three Bond issuances.

He also said that the Goldman employees had not only received part of the misappropriated bond proceeds, but also received large bonuses and enhanced career prospects at the bank and in the overall investment banking industry.

“The charges arise from the commission and abetment of false or misleading statements by all the accused in order to dishonestly misappropriate USD2.7bil (RM11.3bil) from the proceeds of three bonds issued by subsidiaries of 1MDB, which were arranged and underwritten by Goldman Sachs,” he said in a statement on Monday (Dec 17).

Thomas said the three bonds were the 10-year USD1.75bil (RM7.32bil) issued by 1MDB Energy Limited, the 10-year USD1.75bil (RM7.32bil) issued by 1MDB Energy (Langat) Limited and the 10-year USD3bil (RM12.6bil) issued by 1MDB Global Investments Limited.

Thomas added that the investment bank had benefited by receiving underwriting and arranging fees of approximately USD600mil (RM2.5bil), which was higher than market rates and industry norms.

Thomas also said the Offering Circulars and Private Placement Memorandum for the Bonds filed with the Labuan Financial Services Authority had also contained statements which were false, misleading, coupled with omissions of material.

“Offering Circulars and Private Placement Memorandum are serious documents, intended to be relied on, and, in fact, were relied on, by purchasers of the bonds.

“The scheme designed and crafted by the accused to fraudulently structure the bonds for ostensibly legitimate purposes when they knew that the proceeds thereof would be misappropriated and fraudulently diverted by the accused themselves was planned and executed in order to defraud the Government of Malaysia and the purchasers of the bonds,” he said.

Thomas said their scheme had contravened Malaysia’s securities laws, particularly, Section 179 of the Capital Markets and Services Act, 2007 (Act 671).

“Malaysia considers the allegations in the charges against all the accused to be grave violations of our securities laws, and to reflect their severity, prosecutors will seek criminal fines against the accused well in excess of the USD2.7bil (RM11.3bil) misappropriated from the Bonds proceeds and USD600mil (RM2.5bil) in fees received by Goldman Sachs, and custodial sentences against each of the individual accused: the maximum term of imprisonment being 10 years,” he said.

He said that if no criminal proceedings are instituted against the accused, their undermining of the financial system and market integrity will go unpunished.

“Having held themselves out as the pre-eminent global adviser / arranger for bonds, the highest standards are expected of Goldman Sachs. They have fallen far short of any standard. In consequence, they have to be held accountable,” he said. – The Star.

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RM47bil lost to corruption, problem can’t be solved ‘overnight’ says …

Goldman Sachs fires back after Malaysia charges bank in 1MDB probe – Business News


Malaysia files criminal charges against Goldman, ex-bankers in 1MDB probe – Business News

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South Korean Christian-based cult leaders pastor Lee jailed for raping followers


South Korean Pastor Lee Jaerock was convicted of the multiple rape of eight
female followers — some of whom believed he was God. — AFP
  • Religious devotion is widespread in technologically advanced South Korea
  • South Korea has proven fertile ground for religious groups with
    strong, unambiguous ideologies that offered comfort and salvation

A South Korean cult leader was convicted Thursday of the multiple rape of eight female followers — some of whom believed he was God — and jailed for 15 years.

Pastor Lee Jaerock’s victims were “unable to resist as they were subject to the accused’s absolute religious authority”, judge Chung Moon-sung told the Seoul Central District Court.

Religious devotion is widespread in technologically advanced South Korea, with 44 percent of people identifying themselves as believers.

Most belong to mainstream churches, which can accumulate wealth and influence with tens of thousands of followers donating as much as 10 percent of their income.

But fringe groups are also widespread — experts say around 60 people in the country claim to be divine — and some have been implicated in fraud, brainwashing, coercion, and other behaviour associated with cults worldwide.

Lee set up the Manmin Central Church in Guro, once a poor area of Seoul, with just 12 followers in 1982. It has now grown to 130,000 members, with a spotlight-filled auditorium, sprawling headquarters, and a website replete with claims of miracle cures.

But three of Lee’s followers went public earlier this year, as South Korea was swept with a wave of #MeToo accusations, describing how he had summoned each of them to an apartment and raped them.

South Korean Pastor Lee Jae-rock arrives at the Seoul Central District Court to attend his trial on Thursday. | AFP-JIJI

“I was unable to turn him down,” one of them told South Korean television.

“He was more than a king. He was God,” added the woman, who had been a church member since childhood.

Lee told another that she was now in Heaven, and to strip as Adam and Eve went naked in the Garden of Eden. “I cried as I hated to do it,” she told JTBC television.

Eight women laid criminal complaints, and the court found Lee raped and molested them “tens of times” over a long period.

“Through his sermons the accused has indirectly or directly suggested he is the holy spirit, deifying himself,” the judge said.

The victims believed him to be “a divine being who wields divine power”, he added.

Lee, who denied the charges, stood with his eyes closed as the judgement was read, showing no emotion, while around 100 followers filled the courtroom to overflowing, some of them sighing quietly.

The 75-year-old’s lawyers had accused the women of lying to seek vengeance after being excommunicated for breaching church rules.

– Second Coming –

South Korea has proven fertile ground for religious groups with strong, unambiguous ideologies that offered comfort and salvation that appealed strongly during times of deep uncertainty.

More recent versions have claimed a unique knowledge of the path to material and spiritual prosperity — a message that resonates in a highly competitive and status-focused society.

According to a 2015 government survey, 28 percent of South Koreans say they belong to Christian churches, with another 16 percent describing themselves as Buddhist.

But according to Park Hyung-tak, head of the Korea Christian Heresy Research Institute, around two million people are followers of cults.

“There are some 60 Christian-based cult leaders in this country who claim to be the second coming of Jesus Christ, or God Himself,” he told AFP.

AFP/File / MENAHEM KAHANA

“Many cults point to megachurches mired in corruption and other scandals in order to highlight their own presumed purity and attract believers,” he added.

On his own website, Lee says that God has “anointed me with His power” but the Manmin Central Church has been condemned as heretical by mainstream Christian organisations, partly because of its claims to miracle healing.

In one example on the church website, Barbara Vollath, a 49-year-old German, said he was born deaf but her bone cancer was cured and she gained hearing in both ears after Lee’s daughter and heiress apparent Lee Soojin prayed for her with a handkerchief he had blessed.

South Korean cults can have deadly consequences: in 1987, 32 members of an apocalyptic group called Odaeyang, were found dead at their headquarters in an apparent murder-suicide pact, including its leader, who was under police investigation for embezzlement.

And they can influence the highest reaches of power.

Choi Soon-Sil, the woman at the centre of the corruption scandal that brought down her close friend president Park Geun-Hye, is the daughter of late religious leader Choi Tae-min.

The elder Choi became Park’s spiritual mentor after establishing his own church, Yeongsegyo (“Spiritual Life”), combining tenets of Buddhism, Christianity and shamanism.

Source: AFP

On a mission from God: South Korea’s many cults

The jailing of a South Korean religious leader on Thursday for the rape of multiple followers is the latest example of religious cults in the country.

The world’s 11th-largest economy is technologically advanced but has a history of cult organisations and charismatic religious leaders, some of whom have amassed enormous wealth and influence.

Here are some groups that have previously attracted controversy or had brushes with the law.
Pastor Lee Jaerock, a South Korean cult leader was convicted Thursday of the multiple rape of eight female followers. Here are other South Korean cult groups that have made headlines
+4

 Pastor Lee Jaerock, a South Korean cult leader was convicted Thursday of the multiple rape of eight female followers. Here are other South Korean cult groups that have made headlines

Pastor Lee Jaerock, a South Korean cult leader was convicted Thursday of the multiple rape of eight female followers. Here are other South Korean cult groups that have made headlines

The World Mission Society Church of God predicted the end of the world would come on December 31, 1999.

However, being wrong has been no barrier to its fortunes, and an anti-cult group estimates that it has more than 200,000 followers, although it claims more than two million.

Its founder Ahn Sang-hong, who died in 1985, is worshipped as the Heavenly Father, who it says will come for the salvation of 144,000 souls — the number appears in a biblical prophecy.

Ahn’s wife Jang Gil-ja is regarded as the Heavenly Mother. Its aggressive evangelical activities in south east Asian countries sparked controversy.

Shincheonji, or the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony, suggests that its founder Lee Man-hee has donned the mantle of Jesus Christ and will take 144,000 people with him to Heaven, body and soul, on the Day of Judgement.

But its adherents have long surpassed that number, and critics say they have to engage in endless loyalty competitions to earn credits to be included among the saved, sacrificing their everyday lives and leading to serious family disputes.

Shincheonji ‘is the nation of God, created by Him to fulfil what is in heaven on this earth in today´s time’, it says on its homepage, adding that Lee ‘is creating God´s kingdom of heaven here on earth, exactly as he witnessed it in heaven’.

The female leader of a doomsday cult and three of her acolytes were arrested this year for allegedly holding some 400 followers captive in Fiji and subjecting them to violence and barbaric rituals.

Victims were hit hundreds of times in ceremonies known as ‘threshing floors’, defectors told South Korean media.

Shin Ok-ju, founder of the Grace Road Church, has gone on trial on charges of violence, child abuse, exploitation and incarceration, among others.

One of South the largest and best-known cults is Providence or Jesus Morning Star, also known by the acronym JMS — which matches the initials of its founder Jung Myung Seok.

He set it up in 1980 as a breakaway from the Unification Church, also known as the Moonies.

Jung was released from prison earlier this year after serving a 10-year sentence for the rape and sexual assault of four female followers.

He told them to have sex with him to purge themselves of sin.

Guwonpa, or ‘Salvation Sect‘, came to national attention when the Sewol ferry — whose operating company was run by its leader Yoo Byung-eun and his family — sank in 2014 with the loss of more than 300 lives, most of them children.

On the run from charges of corruption and negligence, Yoo’s body was found in a field, so badly decomposed that authorities were unable to determine the precise cause of death.

In 1987, 32 members of an apocalyptic cult called Odaeyang, meaning ‘five oceans’, were found dead at their headquarters in the southern city of Yongin in an apparent murder-suicide pact.

Among them was the cult’s leader Park Soon-Ja, who had been under pressure from her lenders over $17 million of debts and was under police investigation for embezzlement.

Police said Park’s two sons and a cult official strangled her and 28 others before killing themselves.

Related:

 

Cult leader jailed over rapes – Asean Plus | The Star Online

 

South Korean cult leader jailed for raping followers | The Japan

Times

 

Cult leader jailed in South Korea for raping eight female followers …

 

South Korean megachurch pastor sentenced to 15 years for raping …

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Money for favours: millions demanded and paid, bribes from property developers


The court cases involving Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, her former aide Datuk Rizal Mansor and ex-Cabinet member Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor centre upon allegations that millions have been demanded and paid in connection with projects pursued by companies. 

Meanwhile, a property developer is charged with bribing Tengku Adnan and the names of other companies and businessmen have appeared in the charges  – The Star

 see more ….

Rosmah slapped with graft charges

  • RM1.25bil solar hybrid project scandal!
Datin Seri Rosmah MansorvShe’s accused of soliciting bribes linked with projects to provide electricity to Sarawak

 

Ku Nan charged with receiving RM3mil bribes from developers – Nation

 

Facing the law: Tengku Adnan being led to the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur.
Facing the law: Tengku Adnan being led to the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur.

//content.jwplatform.com/players/owD4o7xA-dBiC3tzP.html

Property developer Tan is a self-made businessman – Nation

Malaysia’s Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) a ‘personal piggy bank of sr managers!


Moving ahead: (From left) HRDF board director J. Rasamy Manikkam, GOC chairman Tan Sri Rebecca Sta Maria, Kulasegaran, HRDF board director Datuk Quah Thain Khan and HRDF chief executive Elanjelian Venugopal at the townhall meeting.

 Petty cash in the millions

Millions were pouring into the HRDF. And for some
high-ranking personnel, their exorbitant salaries and bonuses weren’t enough. Greed got the better of them and they treated the fund as their personal bank, helping themselves to some RM100mil, maybe more!!

KUALA LUMPUR: High-ranking staff of the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) misappropriated about RM100mil or about a third of the RM300mil in the fund.

While certain management staff members were overpaid with high salaries and bonuses, some training providers and a number of HRDF management personnel misused the fund in the name of training to purchase commercial properties.

Large sums of money were diverted without the authorisation of the HRDF board and there was collusion between managerial staff and external parties to award contracts.

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran revealed these wrongdoings at a townhall meeting with representatives of employer associations and HRDF-registered employers yesterday.

He said that some members of the HRDF board of directors also did not declare their vested interests to the board.

“There have been wrongdoings, such as abuse of duties, criminal breach of trust and exceeding procedure without reporting to the board.

“(They were) running (the HRDF) as though it was their own company,” he said.

Kulasegaran, who initiated a five-member independent Gover-nance Oversight Committee (GOC) to review and probe the allegations, said that there were elements of fraud in the misuse of the fund in the name of training.

The HRDF is an agency under the Human Resources Ministry that manages a fund for human resource training and development that were contributed by employers.

Regarding the alleged misappropriation of the fund, Kulasegaran said that the HRDF board was only informed after the money was spent.

“Out of RM300mil, nearly RM100mil has been spent,” he said, adding that some department officers, in other instances, also exceeded their authority and approved projects beyond their authorised limit.

When asked, Kulasegaran said that some staff allegedly involved in the wrongdoings are still holding positions in the agency, while some had left.

“After the Pakatan Harapan government took over, three directors have since resigned.

“If they have done anything wrong, action will be taken against them. We will let the process take place. It is not fair at this juncture to make allegations,” he said, adding that two police reports have been lodged based on the GOC report.

Not denying that more former and current HRDF staff are expected to be called up for questioning, Kulasegaran said that parties at fault would be pursued through civil and criminal proceedings.

“After this, I hope the HRDF management will make the agency transparent and accountable to the public,” he said.

Meanwhile, a source that has left the HRDF organisation told The Star that in the week before the townhall, three senior figures within the organisation were subject to domestic inquiries and released from the company.

Another three senior members were on contract and when their contracts expired recently they were not renewed.

A key figure implicated in the scandal resigned soon after GE14.

“Some senior figures have survived, but there is a definite clean-up exercise under way,” said the source.

In some cases, those due to leave found themselves locked out of their offices and escorted off the premises by security when they arrived for work.

The sources said finance personnel and those in special projects who released funds without going through the proper channels, and those who invested money without any accountability are believed to be among those implicated.

“A lack of accountability on the 30% given by companies to the HRDF led to certain figures treating it like a personal piggy bank,” said the source.

He said the culprits are now looking at making deals by providing evidence against the leadership in return for an easy way out.”

“The rot runs deep, and the money runs into billions,” he said. “That’s why there was no choice but to stop the 30% policy and fix the system before restarting it.”

The source said that a key figure implicated in the wrongdoings used tactics such as poor appraisals and internal audits to try to force out those who spoke out against dubious practices.

Some of the questionable property transactions may have involved property in Bangsar South, said the source. – The Star by allison laimartin vengadesan

 

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Goldman Sachs staring at ‘significant penalties’, its system of accounting controls could be easily circumvented


Goldman Sachs (U.S. Financial Institution #1) – “knowingly and willfully conspired to circumvent and cause to be circumvented a system of international accounting controls at [Goldman Sachs], contrary to the FCPA [Foreign Corrupt Practices Act]

From left: Leissner, Ng and Low.

Goldman Sachs Group has acknowledged that it may receive “significant penalties” resulting from its deals with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

It also recognised that it had weaknesses in its compliance controls, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

In its third-quarter earnings filing to regulators, the investment management firm made citations about the indictment against its former employees for bribery and money laundering involving 1MDB, WSJ said.

Although it had acknowledged that it could face “significant penalties resulting from 1MDB”, Goldman Sachs said it was also cooperating with investigators, the report on Monday said.

According to WSJ, Goldman Sachs wrote in the filing that the indictment alleged the firm’s “system of internal accounting controls could be easily circumvented and that the firm’s business culture, particularly in South-East Asia, at times prioritised consummation of deals ahead of the proper operation of its compliance functions”.

The filing also mentioned that former Goldman Sachs bankers Tim Leissner and Roger Ng had “circumvented the firm’s internal accounting controls in part by intentionally deceiving control personnel and internal committees”.

Goldman Sachs is said to have received nearly RM2.5bil (US$600mil) in fees from the 1MDB deal.

Previously, the Financial Times reported that Goldman Sachs had helped 1MDB sell about RM27bil (US$6.5bil) of bonds between 2012 and 2013, two years before the authorities raided 1MDB’s offices to investigate allegations of massive fraud.

In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Goldman Sachs estimated that possible losses related to litigation proceedings could run as high as US$1.8bil (RM7.49bil) above its total reserves for such matters.

Previously, Goldman Sachs estimated litigation losses to be in excess of US$1.5bil (RM6.24 bil).

The Financial Times also reported that almost 30 people from Goldman Sachs had reviewed 1MDB deal’s approval process.

Meanwhile, in a 2016 indictment, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) alleged that most of the money raised with Goldman Sachs’ help was siphoned off by Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.

The fugitive businessman together with bankers Ng and Leissner were indicted by the DoJ on Thursday for conspiring to launder money and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in relation to 1MDB.

Leissner pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and to violating anti-bribery laws. He has been ordered to forfeit US$43.7mil (RM182.27mil) as a result of his crimes.

The criminal charges relating to 1MDB are the first by DoJ.

In 2016, the DOJ reportedly recovered over US$1bil (RM4.17bil being the current conversion rate) that was allegedly stolen, and sought the forfeiture of property, including a Bombardier private jet, Manhattan penthouse, Beverly Hills mansion and paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet.

Low is currently wanted in Malaysia and Singa­pore and other countries over investigations into 1MDB.

In a separate report by the Associated Press, PKR incoming president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that Low would be given a fair trial.

Anwar said he was “quite pleased” with developments in the case so far and that investigations in the United States, Malaysia and Singapore and other places were “progressing very well”.

The report also said Anwar had hinted that more former officials could be tried on corruption charges.

Malaysia has applied for a Red Notice to seek assistance from countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, China and Hong Kong via Interpol, and Taiwan via diplomatic channels to arrest Low. – The Star

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Goldman Sachs CEO: I feel horrible ex-bankers broke law in 1MDB case

https://content.jwplatform.com/players/r3OlEq4I-d74adXtC.html

SINGAPORE (Reuters): Goldman Sachs chief executive officer David Solomon said on Wednesday he felt “horrible” that two former employees “blatantly broke the law” in their dealings with 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

US prosecutors filed criminal charges against the two former Goldman bankers and a Malaysian financier linked to the alleged theft of billions of dollars from the fund.

An investigation into where 1MDB’s money went became the largest carried out by the Department of Justice under its anti-kleptocracy programme, and the scandal was a major reason why Malaysian voters rejected Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, their prime minister for nearly a decade, in the May 9 general election.

“It is obviously very distressing to see two former Goldman Sachs employees went so blatantly around our policies and so blatantly broke the law,” Solomon said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Singapore.

“I feel horrible about the fact that people who worked at Goldman Sachs, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a partner or it’s an entry level employee, would go around our policies and break the law,” Solomon said.

US prosecutors announced last week that Tim Leissner, former partner for Goldman Sachs in Asia, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and agreed to forfeit US$43.7mil (RM181.8mil).

Roger Ng, the other charged former Goldman banker, was arrested in Malaysia and is expected to be extradited.

Reuters was not immediately able to contact Ng’s lawyer on Wednesday. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment after US prosecutors unveiled the charges last Thursday.

Goldman has also placed its former co-head of Asia investment banking, Andrea Vella, on leave over his role in the firm’s involvement with the case, pending a review of allegations, according to a person familiar with the decision.

The Wall Street bank said in a securities filing on Friday that it may also face penalties from dealings with 1MDB.

Asked if he could provide assurances that neither he, former CEO Lloyd Blankfein or any of the senior management team suspected illegality or compliance breaches in dealings with 1MDB, Solomon said:

“We take compliance and control in our firm extremely seriously, we always have…We are going to continue to cooperate with the authorities and there’s a process in place and that process will proceed.” According to prosecutors, the investment bank generated about US$600mil (RM2.49bil) in fees for its work with 1MDB, which included three bond offerings in 2012 and 2013 that raised US$6.5bil (RM23.29bil). Leissner, Ng and others received large bonuses in connection with that revenue.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng told Reuters in June that the government will be looking at the possibility of seeking claims from Goldman Sachs.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia will look into why Goldman was paid around US$600mil in fees, an amount that critics say exceeds normal levels.

Goldman has maintained that the outsized fees related to the additional risks it took on after it bought the un-rated bonds while it sought investors and, in the case of the 2013 deal which raised US$2.7bil (RM11.24bil), 1MDB wanted the funds in a hurry for a planned investment.

The new Malaysian government has barred Najib and his wife from leaving the country, and the former premier faces multiple charges of corruption, money laundering and abuse of power, though he has consistently denied any wrongdoing related to 1MDB.

In another interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday, Malaysia’s prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim said it would be “inexcusable” if Goldman Sachs was complicit in the scandal. – Reuters

Guan Eng: Goldman Sachs should return RM2.4bil fees – Nation

American investment bank Goldman Sachs should return the US$588mil (RM2.4bil) in it was paid for 1MDB-related matters, says Lim Guan Eng.

The Finance Minister said the fees were for raising bonds totalling US$6.5 billion (RM23.29 billion) for the Malaysian state investment firm back in 2012 and 2013.

“They must pay us back this money, not only the US$588mil but much more than that,” he said during a briefing on Budget 2019 at Hotel Equatorial Penang on Wednesday (Nov 7).

He said there were consequential losses due to the fees paid as it had cost Malaysia big losses.

This was in respond to Goldman Sachs chief executive officer David Solomon, who admitted that their employees had broken the law over 1MDB matters.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/11/08/guan-eng-goldman-sachs-should-return-rm2_4bil-fees/#wqMtc2F6O1jC35UJ.99

 

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Malay supremacy – Ketuanan Melayu ! How to be supreme ?


 

“If we want to be tuan (master), we need to have knowledge, willingness to be hardworking, do things properly and not steal. Don’t fellow the example of our previous prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak” said Dr. Mahathir:  

Dr M: All races to be consulted on ICERD first

How to be supreme!

Here’s a plea to reconsider an unpalatable term favoured by certain politicians and nationalists.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Can our dear politicians stop fighting? That’s what they keep telling us, don’t they?

If it is a Malay politician, he is fighting for Malay rights. If it’s an Indian leader, he’s fighting for Indian rights. If it’s a Chinese bloke, he’s fighting for… You get the drift.

Instead of the aggressive and violence-laden word, “fighting”, how about they use words like “promoting”,

“protecting” or “nurturing”?

I actually like another word more: “sharing”. I wish politicians will say things like, “Let me share what the Malay community’s thoughts and concerns are so that we can address them together.”

The word “Malay” can be substituted by any of the following: Chinese, Indian, Iban, Kadazan, Orang Asli, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, etc.

And why should it be so? Because we share this nation. It’s as simple and obvious as that.

The soil, air and water we all need to live have no boundaries when it comes to pollution, global warming and diminishing resources that affect us collectively.

Because when our economy gets bad, everyone suffers – jobs are lost, crimes increase, prices go up… You get the picture. If that happens, will fighting over community rights or racial supremacy help?

That’s why this endless debate over Malay supremacy – ketuanan Melayu – is so pointless and unne­cessary.

Why do people get all riled up whenever it comes up, the latest being our youngest Cabinet member, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, who said on Saturday the era of ketuanan Melayu had ended under the Pakatan Harapan government?

He went on to give the assurance that this did not mean the needs of the Malay community would be sidelined but that Putrajaya now preferred to emphasise the concept of “shared prosperity” to ensure fair and equitable distribution of wealth across all races.

Somehow that was misconstrued by some quarters and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president and Home Minister, had to step in to explain and defend his young colleague. And how was Syed Saddiq misconstrued by the likes of Majlis Belia Negeri Johor?

Well, its president Md Salleheen Mohamad was quoted as saying that Syed Saddiq needed to understand Malay supremacy in the historical context.

He added that it wasn’t about the Malays as master and the non-Malays as slaves but about the position of the Malay sultans as pillars of the nation that protect the importance of Islam, Malay customs and the Malay language.

That sounds perfectly acceptable to me. But what is perhaps not very acceptable or palatable is the use of the word “supremacy” in the context of a race or community.

Despite the assurances that it is not about master versus slave, it brings to mind things like white supremacy and the Nazi’s brand of Aryan supremacism. And surely right-thinking people would agree these are really bad things.

The poster boys for white supremacists are the Klu Klux Klan of America whose members believe that the “white race” is superior in intelligence and culture over other so-called non-white races.

Back in the 1800s to the 1950s when white supremacy was at its height during the era of European colonisation of Africa and Asia, Europeans used being white-skinned and Christian to justify slavery and taking political and economic control of people of darker skin by military and religious methods.

But how “white” is defined is fluid. Not all ethnic groups with white skin were deemed white. The Irish and Italians were not considered as such in late 19th and early 20th century America. But the US government expanded its definition of whites to include Arabs and North Africans in 1944.

America is today very multi-ethnic but the Jim Crow mentality continues and is getting a major boost under Donald Trump’s presidency. The man suspected of sending letter bombs to Barack Obama and others last week considers himself a Trump supporter and a “foot soldier” for white supremacy. He openly proclaimed his love for Adolf Hitler and ethnic cleansing.

Indeed, the most dreadful and extreme example of racial supremacy was demonstrated by the Nazis and Hitler who used it to justify his extermination of millions of Jews and other undesirables like the gypsies, blacks, gay men and the disabled.

So when some people obsess over the need for their race or community to be supreme or “above” others, it doesn’t go down well as they come across as frightening and hate-filled.

That’s why such a term, Malay supremacy, to describe the up­hol­ding of the position of the Malay rulers and Islam is wrong in our Malaysian context.

Malays, I like to believe, are not hate-fuelled, nor do they want to exterminate the non-Malays. They just want to be reassured that the non-Malays understand this is a Malay-Muslim majority nation and that it will stay that way.

As a non-Malay Malaysian, I can give that assurance. And easily so. After all, as have been pointed out repeatedly, Malays dominate the armed forces, the civil service, the Cabinet, the GLCs and in plain demographics with a healthily growing urban middle class.

With such dominance and strength, surely the Malays are in a position to be more generous-hearted and can wean themselves off the siege mentality they were brainwashed with by the previous government that did it to stay in power.

As I have said before, non-Malays are not the enemy. Corrupt, divisive leaders are. They are the ones who want to continue the British colonial tactic of divide and rule that keeps the various races “at just the right distance from each other” so that it is easy to sow fear and suspicion against each other.

So let’s not fight any more. As Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who has said he did not subscribe to the ketuanan Melayu concept, puts it, what is far more important is the willingness of all the communities to share the good and the bad and work together.

Here is where the Malays can show the way. It’s called leadership, Malay leadership. – The Star So aunty, so what? June H.L. Wong

AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR ELECTED NEW GOVERNMENT PUBLIC SERVANTS

Dear PH elected public servants,
We, the rakyat, elected a coalition called Pakatan Harapan under a single banner led by a 92 year old statesman whom we have, at least, the most trust for to save this nation. This is a MALAYSIAN mandate. Do not forget that. You are all public servants. SERVE.
We did not elect you to squabble over posts and spoils of war.  We want a reformed nation.  Not the same politicking and sharing of spoils amongst politicians.  We do not care which party you came from.
The nation faces 3 immediate and present dangers:
1. We have an economic catastrophe waiting to happen due to economic malfeasance over the last decade – financed by debt.
2. We have a corrupt, racialist religiously-bigoted civil administrative system to be dismantled and replaced.
3. We have today an ineffective education but instead a religious-centric education system that has been the source of extremist indoctrination of Malay-Muslim youths and populace over the last 2 decades at least. The result being, Malaysia is per capita the largest exporter of terrorist Islamic fighters in the world and sympathisers. And a large unemployable pool of graduates as product of our failed system.
Lets be honest in our euphoria of victory that the work ahead is difficult. To be honest, the economic problems, intractable as it looks, is the easiest to solve. That I have full trust in Tun, his brilliantly assembled Council and newly minted Minister of Finance.
The other two challenges could very well be almost impossible but if not solved will mean the utter destruction of our beloved nation.
It will take great political-will from your leadership to make hard decisions to drag  some of you, not to mention the mostly entitled ketuanan bangsa and ugama Malay-Muslim populace kicking and screaming towards reforms.
1. We need clear separation of religion and government. Government and public
funds must stay out from the business of religion and religious morality.
2. We need to take out religious education and proselytising from the public arena.
Religion must be a private matter and kept private.
3. Our education must emphasise education not indoctrination. There is no such thing as religious education, only indoctrination. The nation’s future rests in its populace being science and technology passionate.
In conclusion, as I had mentioned before, by 2050, seven of 10 Malaysians will be Muslims. We do not reform at our peril. Do we want our nation to be another failed Muslim majority country as everyone of them is, or do we want to pioneer one that is a model Malaysia – developed, wealthy, technologically superior multi-ethnic multi-religious nation fair to all.
We, the Malaysian rakyat will be watching and  we will be calling you to account
throughout your term. Mark my word, we and I are only starting. We wish you all the best and before I forget – congratulations.
Siti Kasim
A Malaysian
Note:  No need to ask, just share if you agree.

 

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