Najib has claimed on TV that the US indictment did not involve him nor 1MDB:
“I want to say that what was done by the DOJ recently does not involve me, or the Malaysian government, or 1MDB directly….This is not a criminal suit, but a civil suit… but it has been politicised by certain enemies”. [Najib on Indonesian Metro TV]
Contrast the above with the actual indictment by the DOJ, which in fact refers to criminal actions throughout, although it has instituted civil action to forfeit proceeds of crime in the United States. For example:
“.. multiple individuals, including public officials and their associates, conspired to fraudulently divert billions of dollars from 1MDB through various means, including by defrauding foreign banks and by sending foreign wire communications in furtherance of the scheme, and thereafter, to launder the proceeds of that criminal conduct, including in and through U.S. financial institutions”.[‘Nature of the Action’ Point 6, DOJ Indictment]
It doesn’t get plainer that that. From the above you can see that the DOJ indictment implicates public officials in Malaysia (specified as being led by Najib) in criminally and fraudulently stealing billions from 1MDB and then criminally laundering the money.
The suit does involve Najib. It does involve 1MDB. It does allege criminal behaviour and major fraud:
“The criminal conduct alleged herein occurred in three principal phases: The “Good Star” Phase… The “Aabar-BVI” Phase …. The “Tanore” Phase… The proceeds of each of these three phases of criminal conduct were laundered through a complex series of transactions, including through bank accounts in Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the United States.” [DOJ indictment]
As for that “Tanore Phase”, the DOJ gets very personal indeed with regard to the Prime Minister (termed ‘Malaysian Official 1′) who we all know admitted over a year ago to receiving US$681 million into his private AmBank account from Tanore Finance Corporation, claiming it had been a ‘donation’ from an anonymous ‘Saudi Royal’ towards his 2013 election campaign.
This is what the DOJ has to say about that money and there is zero reference to any Saudi Royal:
$681 MILLION WAS TRANSFERRED FROM THE TANORE ACCOUNT TO AN ACCOUNT BELONGING TO MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1
Shortly after proceeds of the 2013 bond sale were diverted to the Tanore Account, $681,000,000 was sent from the Tanore Account to a bank account belonging to MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1.
On or about March 21, 2013, Tanore transferred $620,000,000 into an account at AmBank in Malaysia, whose beneficiary was listed as “AMPRIVATE BANKING-MR.” On or about March 25, 2013, an additional $61,000,000 was wired from the Tanore Account to the same account at AmBank, for a total of $681,000,000.
This account belonged to MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 and is the same account that in 2011 received $20 million from the PETROSAUDI CO-FOUNDER that was traceable to the Good Star Account, as set forth in Section II.G. It is also the same account that in 2012 received at least $30 million from the Blackstone Account that was traceable to the Aabar-BVI Swiss Account and the 2012 bond proceeds, as set forth in Section III.E.3. [Section 259-61 of DOJ indictment]
So, when Najib appears on TV and says he has not been implicated in the DOJ report and that nothing criminal has been alleged, who can believe him?
Unfortunately, this pampered son of a former Prime Minister has got away with far too much for far too long and he seems to think he can treat this as merely another skirmish, whether anyone believes him or not.
He has boasted of his ‘proud pirate (Bugis) ancestry’ and those around Malaysia’s ‘First Couple’ privately confide they have nicknamed them Bonnie & Clyde. Najib should probably be dubbed ‘The Cover-up Kid’ given his list of scandals, all “fixed” by tame officials and judges – more of which shortly .
Yet, all gangster stories end in flames and with the DOJ findings it is plain to most players now that this particular pair have reached their last shoot out. Pumped up with adrenalin (and hormones too) the question is whether they themselves have yet absorbed the realities of their situation?
The couple have told their teamsters that they can still brazen this out and come out stronger, emergency legislation now to hand. Rosmah is on the phone all day long, report insiders, calling all their ministers to step out and speak up in support. The few who have done so either have no political future or plainly don’t care if they once did.
1MDB is just the latest episode in a political career that should rightly have ended long before Najib Razak got anywhere near the top job. He was already tarnished for all to see.
For years Najib was a notorious Minister of Defence, for which western governments and arms sales must take their share of blame. It was, as always, the Malaysian people who paid the price for pumped-up prices – Rosmah was never far away and never accepted a commission of less than 10%, insiders say.
For example, one senior French banker from a major Asian division reminisces how in 2009 in the Presidential Suite at the 5 Star Plaza Athene Hotel in Paris he witnessed procedures at the close of one such major deal. “Najib moved rooms so that the ‘commission’ could be dealt with and he observed a large suitcase stuffed with millions of dollars being offered to Malaysia’s Defence Minister“, says a source. “In turn, Najib waived to staff to take it to another nearby room …… where Rosmah was waiting. Within minutes, she was out of the place, police escort in tow, sirens wailing, to the diamond shops of the Faubourg St Honore“.
No wonder Najib acts bewildered to find how times have changed. “These things are done more quietly” he complained of the US action last week.
Even the French have named him in separate legal action as the suspected recipient of kickbacks over the Scorpene submarine scandal. Najib has told Malaysians, of course, that he has not been named, but look at how it was reported in the French press:
“The ex-president of a subsidiary of Thales, is suspected of having corrupted the present Prime Minister of Malaysia. Bernard Bioco, 72, ex-president of Thales Int Asia was put under criminal investigation on 15th sept 2014 concerning bribery of foreign public officials namely Najib Razak, the then Minister of Defence and one of his advisers Abdul Razak Baginda” [Le Point and other newspapers]
Attached to this murky submarine story is the well-known shocking murder of the translator on the deal, Altantuya Shaariibuu (who had threatened to reveal information on those very kickbacks).
Najib was comprehensively demonstrated over the subsequent court proceeding as having been up to his eyes in a legal cover-up, revelations that ought to have ended the career of any politician.
Instead the blame has been put on the shoulders of two of his own bodyguards, who were instructed to kill Altantuya by someone still anonymous and who languish in jail facing sentence of death.
But, there is another more current and pressing scandal that Malaysians should no longer continue to tolerate now their Prime Minister has been demonstrated so comprehensively to be a major thief and liar. That, of course, is the continued incarceration of Malaysia’s opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, in a case that was cooked up by Najib from beginning to end.
The evidence is overwhelming that Malaysia’s present Prime Minister was up to his neck in the conspiracy to accuse the man who most threatened him politically of a crime designed to lose him the greatest possible political support.
And Najib has been caught out lying over and again over this involvement.
For this reason alone the plainly politically motivated prosecution ought to have been thrown out of court…. and indeed so it was. After a vicious and protracted trial Anwar was resoundingly acquitted in the High Court.
However, Najib was not prepared to accept an acquittal of his political enemy, particularly since Anwar had just won the majority of votes at the General Election. The PM ordered an Appeal against that acquittal and then he ordered a conviction – the hand-picked judiciary at the top of Malaysia’s eroded judicial system complied with this irregular request, a sad indicator of the country’s institutional decline.
Consider how disgraceful the main facts of this case are, from the evidence in court.
Months and years of dragged out legal wrangling have conveniently blurred memories and confused foreign observers of the case, for Najib. However, it has been firmly established that Najib himself met the ‘victim’ at his house shortly before the complaint of sodomy was filed in June 2008, just after Anwar had caused shock waves with a landslide towards the opposition in the March election.
At first the Prime Minister lied and said he had not ever met the young worker from Anwar’s office. But, when a photograph appeared showing the man inside Najib’s home he changed his story and explained that Mohd Saiful had pitched up three months earlier to talk about student grants (as one does with the then deputy Prime Minister).
In fact Saiful was already a student drop-out, although he had been active in BN while at college before applying to join Anwar’s team just before the March election.
It was only after Saiful admitted under court questioning that he had discussed the issue of alleged sodomy with Najib in his house in June, just a two days before the alleged incident, that the DPM changed his story for a third time and admitted that he had indeed discussed the matter with Saiful and that yes, the lawyer and later prosecutor on the case Shafee Abdullah was also in the house at the time.
Najib acknowledged in this third version of events that he had advised Saiful to go and lodge a police report.
Saiful also admitted under further questioning that the day before the alleged incident he had also held a secret meeting with a police chief in the Concord Hotel in KL. Assistant Commissioner Rodwan Mohd Yusof had a long grudge against Anwar, who accused him of framing him during his previous arrest and imprisonment. Again the case was not thrown out.
Even so, it was two days after his visit to Anwar’s house and the alleged incident took place that Saiful took himself first to a private clinic to complain of sodomy. The doctor could find no evidence of interference, but when Saiful complained there had been crime involved the doctor sent him for full examination at a public hospital.
The doctors at the public hospital could find no evidence of any interference either, as would have been expected, but since Saiful claimed he had not washed or defecated in the two days since the alleged incident they took sample to check for DNA.
There was great mystery and confusion over what happened next as delay in the arrival and analysis of these samples appears to have occurred, according to Australian barrister Mark Trowell who has written about what he describes as a travesty of a legal case. The prosecution refused to provide details about how they acquired and processed their ‘evidence’.
The entire case was conducted against a backdrop of politicking and further accusations of a sexual nature against Anwar by BN, this time allegedly involving a female prostitute and a video without a properly identifiable face.
Unsurprisingly, after months of this nonsense the High Court Judge threw out the prosecution and acquitted Anwar. In any normal country that would have been the end of the matter, as the process of appeal is reserved for the defendant and not the prosecutor, who has failed to prove his case to the judge and jury (sadly the latter institution was abolished in Malaysia).
But, in Malaysia no. Najib was by this time Prime Minister and he drove through an appeal by the prosecution to the higher courts, where BN have control over top appointments. Over the next two years and in the aftermath of a triumphant 2013 election result by Anwar Najib got the judges of the Federal Court to present the judgement he was after – a guilty verdict that would force his foe from politics.
That night a sick and sickened pilot drove his plane out over the Indian Ocean and ditched it in – Najib should take his share of the blame for that as well.
Are Malaysians to sit an tolerate a situation where a disgraced thief and liar has succeeded in driving the opposition leader into jail in a case he masterminded himself from start to finish? To be even more sure of controlling the case, the self-same Shafee Abdullah, Najib’s close legal associate, who attended that first meeting with the ‘victim to be’ in Najib’s house, unaccountably replaced the normal prosecution barristers on the case as a private prosecutor hired by the government during the final appeal hearings.
Najib has worked to exploit the leaderless situation confronting the opposition ever since and BN/UMNO smugly talk of divisions faced by the party they deliberately decapitated. He has gone on to “woo” the PAS Islamic party away from the opposition coalition in the normal way he woos – RM90 million is widely reckoned to have flowed into the top echelons of PAS in recent months (BN veterans would tell them they came cheap).
To sugar matters further for PAS, Najib has gone on a crusade to show himself ‘more holy than thou’ on every PAS religious agenda, stirring up extremism in Malaysia and undermining civil law and institutions, without turning a single hair over the destabilising, divisive and dangerous consequences to his country and his own party.
He thinks it’s clever. If a man has no charisma to attract his followers he buys them, whatever it takes.
Najib’s next target it the other powerful centre of political opposition, which is the well-run DAP party, which enjoys a strong support for its reputation for integrity. The Prime Minister has adopted his preferred technique of legal persecution, abusing all his powers to accuse DAP’s leader of the crime with which he himself is most associated, corruption.
Malaysia now faces the spectacle of their own most corrupted world leader, caught out stealing billions, going after a state leader over paltry and flimsy accusations of an alleged cheap deal to buy his modest house.
With Guan Eng in jail alongside Anwar, PAS on the pay-roll, all his critics sacked and his emergency powers in place, Najib plainly reckons he can pull off another “election win”.
Can Malaysians tolerate more of this and more graft and squander by his pumped up, hormone abusing wife?
No wonder Najib’s own family, his former patron Dr Mahathir and so many others from his own BN party (none saints themselves) have fallen away in shock and disgust from this man supposedly ‘born to lead’. They know him best.
Malaysians should team up to reject Najib. Next they can fight for reform.
This article was the subject of legal proceedings brought by Abdul Hadi Awang. Mr Awang says that he has not personally accepted nor personally approved the acceptance by anyone at PAS of money from Prime Minister Najib Razak to secure their political support. Mr Awang dropped his suit on February 1st 2019.