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Friday, June 16, 2017

Who are the new characters in DOJ's latest suit?

KINIGUIDE | Apart from fresh details on allegedly ill-gotten assets, the United States Department of Justice's (DOJ) latest bombshell on 1MDB also revealed new characters involved in the scandal.
Among them was “1MDB Officer 4”, and “1MDB-SRC Officer”. Although their names were concealed, the DOJ suit, filed yesterday, provided details which could hint at their identities.
1MDB Officer 4
"1MDB OFFICER 4 is a Malaysian national who served as the executive director of finance at 1MDB from, at a minimum, 2012 to 2015," said the DOJ.
According to the DOJ, 1MDB Officer 4 worked on the 2012 Goldman Sachs bond deals and was also the "main point of contact" for two Deutsche Bank loans taken by 1MDB in 2014.
Based on the timeline provided, the most likely individual is Terence Geh, who - according to the Public Accounts Committee - was still 1MDB's executive director of finance in October, 2015.
Previously, Geh's name cropped up in Singapore court documents about how SRC International funds were transferred to Jho Low's associate Eric Tan.
The funds had been channelled through Pacific Harbour Global Growth Fund AA4 - a fund that SRC International subscribed to and was allegedly overseen by Geh.
However, the DOJ suit yesterday indicated that Geh might have had a bigger role in the 1MDB scandal.
According to the DOJ, 1MDB Officer 4 had a hand in misleading the firm's 2012 auditor KPMG about the nature of assets held by Brazen Sky.
1MDB Officer 4 also helped to set up Aabar-BVI, a fraudulent company established to siphon proceeds from bonds raised by 1MDB in 2012.
Another deal the executive director of finance allegedly had a hand in, was in acquiring loans from Deutsche Bank, which was also allegedly siphoned.
1MDB-SRC Officer
"1MDB-SRC OFFICER, a Malaysian national, was the chief executive officer and director of SRC International Sdn Bhd ('SRC International') from late 2011 through 2013, at a minimum.
"In 2011, prior to assuming his role at SRC International, the 1MDB-SRC OFFICER was the chief investment officer of 1MDB," said the DOJ.
Based on the description, this is most likely Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who had served as a director at SRC International, and was formerly 1MDB's chief investment officer.
According to the DOJ, 1MDB-SRC Officer was involved in transferring US$681 million of allegedly misappropriated 1MDB funds to the accounts of Malaysian Official 1 (MO1).
He was also allegedly involved in the transfer of funds for a bogus joint-venture between 1MDB and PetroSaudi International to Good Star Limited, a company controlled by Low.
1MDB-SRC Officer had also gambled with Low at a Las Vegas casino in 2012. Others who were with Low at the time included actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's stepson Riza Aziz.
Jasmine Loo Ai Swan
The latest DOJ suit also provided the name of one individual whose identity was previously concealed.
Previously dubbed as 1MDB Officer 3, the DOJ now named her as Jasmine Loo Ai Swan. Loo was 1MDB's former general counsel and executive director of group strategy.
The DOJ and Singapore court documents said she was an authorised signatory for the Tanore Corporation accounts from which the US$681 million was transferred to MO1.
The others
The others stated in the suit's background on "relevant individuals" were the same as the previous suits.
They are Low, 1MDB Officer 1, 1MDB Officer 2, MO1, Riza, Tan, Khadem Abdulla Al-Qubaisi, and Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny.
However, in the rest of the documents, one new character in the suit who had caught the public eye was MO1's wife.
Previously, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan confirmed that the MO1 mentioned in the DOJ's first suit last year was Najib.
In its latest filing yesterday, the DOJ claimed that a portion of the US$620 million which MO1 had purportedly returned to his “donor” was used to purchase a 22-carat pink diamond pendant and necklace for MO1's wife for about US$27.3 million.
The DOJ also accused businessman Jho Low of purchasing 27 different 18-carat gold necklaces and bracelets for MO1's wife, worth a total of US$1.3 million.
Najib has repeatedly denied abusing public funds for personal gain and blamed such allegations on those conspiring to topple him from power.
Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali has also cleared the prime minister of any wrongdoing.
Malaysian Friend
Also in the spotlight is the friend of MO1's wife, who the DOJ simply dubbed as "Malaysian Friend".   
While it is not clear who this person is, the DOJ claimed she had received the pink diamond necklace from the jeweller and was supposed to deliver it to MO1's wife.

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