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Friday, December 23, 2016

PM OR NOT, NAJIB NOW THE WORLD’S GREATEST ‘THIEF’? EXPOSED – HOW 1MDB SCANDAL SPREAD ACROSS THE GLOBE

Global investigators believe that billions of dollars were misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd., an economic-development fund set up by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009. The money allegedly moved through Singapore, Switzerland and other wealth centers before being used to buy real estate, art, and other assets in New York, Beverly Hills and elsewhere.
A GLOBAL SCANDAL
The 1MDB scandal involves at least 10 countries around the world from Asia to the Middle East to North America. It includes the use of shell companies in offshore wealth centers, spending at a Honolulu Chanel store and Las Vegas gambling.
SINGAPORE
A GLOBAL SCANDAL
The 1MDB scandal involves at least 10 countries around the world from Asia to the Middle East to North America. It includes the use of shell companies in offshore wealth centers, spending at a Honolulu Chanel store and Las Vegas gambling.
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
Headquarters of 1MDB, a fund set up in 2009 to boost Malaysia’s economy.
A 1MDB logo is set against the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. JOSHUA PAUL/ASSOCIATED PRESS

ABU DHABI

International Petroleum Investment Co., an Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund, served as an early 1MDB partner, guaranteeing 1MDB debt. More than $2 billion in expected payments from 1MDB to Abu Dhabi for its guarantee were allegedly misappropriated. IPIC declined to comment.
International Petroleum Investment’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi. THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

SAUDI ARABIA

A private Saudi oil company, PetroSaudi International Ltd., served as an early 1MDB partner. Prosecutors say more than $1 billion from 1MDB’s joint venture with PetroSaudi was diverted to a Swiss bank account. PetroSaudi hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing.
Saudi commuters drive down a main street in the capital, Riyadh. FAYEZ NURELDINE/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

HONG KONG

Headquarters of Jynwel Capital Ltd., an investment firm headed by alleged 1MDB co-conspirator Jho Low. Prosecutors say Jynwel was involved in transactions using money diverted from 1MDB to make purchases, including an interest in a New York hotel. Mr. Low has denied wrongdoing. Jynwel didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The Hong Kong skyline and Victoria Harbour. ISTOCKPHOTO

SEYCHELLES

Prosecutors say an entity named Good Star Ltd. was set up in this Indian Ocean beach destination in 2009 and allegedly was used to divert more than $1 billion in misappropriated 1MDB funds through the entity’s Swiss bank account, whose beneficial owner was alleged 1MDB co-conspirator Jho Low. Mr. Low has denied wrongdoing.
The Seychelles coastline. ISTOCKPHOTO

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

Prosecutors say an entity named Aabar Investments PJS Ltd. was set up in this offshore tax haven in 2012 and allegedly used to divert about $1.4 billion in misappropriated 1MDB funds through the entity’s Swiss bank account, for the benefit of individuals affiliated with 1MDB and others. 1MDB has denied wrongdoing and pledged to cooperate with investigations. Aabar has declined to comment.
Tortola, British Virgin Islands. ISTOCKPHOTO

CURAÇAO

Prosecutors say offshore mutual funds based on this island off the coast of Venezuela were used by 1MDB co-conspirators to handle diverted 1MDB money.
Queen Emma Bridge in Willemstad, Curaçao. ISTOCKPHOTO

SWITZERLAND

Investigators say misappropriated 1MDB money was moved through accounts in this private banking hub, including an account controlled by alleged 1MDB co-conspirator Jho Low. Mr. Low has denied wrongdoing.
Authorities have been investigating the roles of BSI SA and another Swiss bank in allegedly facilitating money-laundering related to 1MDB. BSI has said it is cooperating with investigations and has improved its anti-money-laundering controls. KARL MATHIS/KEYSTONE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

SINGAPORE

Investigators say misappropriated 1MDB money was moved through bank accounts in this offshore wealth center, including ones controlled by an associate of alleged 1MDB co-conspirator Jho Low. Mr. Low has denied wrongdoing.
Tower One of Suntec City, left, which houses BSI’s Singapore headquarters. Singapore ordered BSI’s unit in the city-state to shut down as Swiss authorities began criminal proceedings against the bank. NICKY LOH/BLOOMBERG

LUXEMBOURG

Investigators say misappropriated 1MDB money was moved through a bank account in this wealth center, with the account beneficially owned by Middle Eastern businessman and alleged 1MDB co-conspirator Khadem Al Qubaisi. Mr. Al Qubaisi, who is being detained by Abu Dhabi authorities in connection to its investigations into 1MDB-related affairs, hasn’t commented.
Luxembourg City. ISTOCKPHOTO

NEW YORK CITY

1MDB money allegedly was spent on luxury real estate for 1MDB conspirators, including a $33.5 million duplex in a tower overlooking Central Park and a major investment in the Park Lane Hotel. The leader of the investment group that owns the hotel, Steve Witkoff, has said the investors look forward to working with U.S. authorities “to make the Park Lane project a success.” Mr. Witkoff isn’t accused of wrongdoing.
The Park Lane Hotel in Manhattan. GETTY IMAGES

LOS ANGELES

1MDB money was allegedly spent on luxury real estate for 1MDB conspirators, including $39 million for a mansion and $45 million for the Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills hotel. The hotel has declined to comment. 1MDB money was also allegedly used to fund the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Red Granite Pictures, which produced the film, has said it had no reason to believe the source of its financing was irregular.
The L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. GETTY IMAGES

LAS VEGAS

1MDB money was allegedly used to fund gambling expenses for 1MDB conspirators, including $12 million at Caesars Palace and $13.4 million for Las Vegas Sands Corp., owner of the Venetian Las Vegas. The casinos aren’t accused of wrongdoing.
Caesars Palace casino in Las Vegas. ISTOCKPHOTO

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Investigators believe approximately $80 million in 1MDB money was paid to entities founded by Frank White, a politically connected businessman who helped arrange an Oval Office visit for the son and stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. They attended with actor Leonardo DiCaprio and director Martin Scorsese to present to President Obama a copy of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which the stepson, Riza Aziz, co-produced. Mr. White isn’t accused of wrongdoing and says his dealings with 1MDB involved legitimate business, including a solar energy project. Messrs. DiCaprio and Scorsese aren’t accused of wrongdoing. Mr. Aziz has denied wrongdoing.
The U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. ISTOCKPHOTO

HONOLULU

More than $130,000 in expenses at a Chanel store were paid for via bank accounts owned by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, which investigators believe received hundreds of millions of dollars diverted from 1MDB. Mr. Najib has denied wrongdoing or using any 1MDB money for personal gain. Malaysia’s attorney general said money deposited into Mr. Najib’s account was a legal donation from Saudi Arabia, and that most was returned.
The Chanel store in Hawaii THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

LONDON

1MDB money was allegedly used to purchase a £23.25 million (US$28.8 million) townhouse for Riza Aziz, stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Mr. Aziz has denied wrongdoing.
This red brick four-story house, built around 1900, was purchased by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s stepson in London’s exclusive Belgravia neighborhood. DAN GABA/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

DRAGNET

Investigations into 1MDB are under way around the world. U.S. prosecutors have moved to seize $1 billion in assets allegedly acquired with misappropriated funds, and authorities have fined several international banks linked to the alleged scheme.

U.S.

What they’ve been investigating: Spending on assets allegedly acquired or financed with stolen 1MDB funds, including real estate and art and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Also under investigation: whether Goldman Sachs missed red flags about alleged misappropriation of 1MDB money.
Status: The U.S. Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit in July seeking the seizure of more than $1 billion of assets allegedly acquired by people connected to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, including Malaysian financier Jho Low and Riza Aziz, Mr. Najib’s stepson. A criminal investigation is under way, according to people familiar with the probe. Messrs. Najib, Low and Aziz deny wrongdoing, as does Goldman Sachs. Red Granite Pictures, which produced “The Wolf of Wall Street,” has said it had no reason to believe the source of its financing was irregular.

SWITZERLAND

What they’ve been investigating: The alleged misappropriation of money from 1MDB, including the role of two Swiss banks–BSI SA and Falcon Private Bank AG – in allegedly facilitating money laundering related to 1MDB.
Status: The Office of the Attorney General has said it suspects an alleged Ponzi scheme was used to hide the siphoning of money from 1MDB, with criminal probes of BSI and Falcon under way. The Swiss financial regulator has penalized both banks for their ties to the alleged misappropriation of 1MDB funds, but no criminal charges have been filed. BSI, which was recently acquired by EFG International, and Falcon have both said they are cooperating with the criminal investigation and have improved their anti-money-laundering controls. BSI has appealed its treatment by the regulator, Finma, as “disproportionate,” while Falcon said it welcomed completion of Finma’s probe.

SINGAPORE

What they’ve been investigating: The alleged role of Singapore banks in facilitating 1MDB money-laundering, including local offices of BSI and Falcon Private Bank.
Status: Authorities shut down the local offices of BSI and Falcon Private Bank and fined the banks, as well as other financial institutions for what authorities called failures in anti-money-laundering controls. They charged three former BSI employees with forgery and other offenses. Two pleaded guilty to forgery and failing to report suspicious transactions. One was fined, sentenced to 18 weeks in prison and agreed to surrender 7.5 million Singapore dollars (US$5.2 million) in earnings and bonuses. The other was fined and sentenced to two weeks in prison. The third employee, who fought all the charges, was convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice, with sentencing not immediately announced. BSI and Falcon have said they cooperated fully with authorities and have improved their anti-money-laundering controls.

ABU DHABI

What they’ve been investigating: Allegations of money laundering, corruption and embezzlement involving a former executive of International Petroleum Investment Co., an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, and the former chief executive of an IPIC subsidiary.
Status: Both men—Khadem Al Qubaisi and Mohamed Badawy Al Husseiny—were arrested by Abu Dhabi authorities, but no charges have been filed. Neither has commented. In June, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince ordered an end to the sovereign-wealth fund’s existence as a stand-alone firm, saying it would be merged with another state entity. IPIC declined to comment.

LUXEMBOURG

What they’ve been investigating: Allegations that 1MDB money ended up in a Luxembourg bank account controlled by Abu Dhabi businessman and alleged 1MDB co-conspirator Khadem Al Qubaisi.
Status: Investigation continuing. Mr. Al Qubaisi, who is being detained by Abu Dhabi authorities in connection to its investigations into 1MDB-related affairs, hasn’t commented.

MALAYSIA

Investigations: Malaysia’s attorney general, central bank, anti-corruption commission (MACC), auditor general, Public Accounts Committee and police launched probes related to 1MDB.
Status: MACC initially recommended criminal charges be filed against Prime Minister Najib Razak, according to a person familiar with the matter. Malaysia’s attorney general later cleared Mr. Najib of wrongdoing, saying money deposited in his account was a legal donation from Saudi Arabia and most was returned. The attorney general also rejected a recommendation from the central bank to file criminal charges against 1MDB, citing insufficient evidence. The auditor general’s report into 1MDB is classified under Malaysia’s Official Secrets Act. The Public Accounts Committee found weaknesses in governance by 1MDB’s board and management and called for further investigations. The police investigation is continuing. Mr. Najib and 1MDB have denied wrongdoing and pledged to cooperate with investigations.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
As 1MDB investigations continue, some alleged conspirators have gone underground or been detained, while others remain in public view.

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