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Malaysians shamed as Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali gets schooled by the United States Department of Justice

The updated second asset seizure suit filed by the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative contained even more outrageous exposés on how 1MDB funds have been misappropriated to those who are in power as well as their associates.

Besides some of the juiciest scandalous details befitting tabloid headlines around the world, the DOJ also took pains to elaborate how the funds exceeding USD5.6 billion have been laundered by 1MDB officials, Jho Low and his associates.

The DOJ detailed how 1MDB forged financial statements, falsified audited financial statements, created multiple version of agreements for the very same transactions, colluded with foreign companies, lied to financial officers and authorities and outrageously pledged worthless securities as collateral to secure its US$975 million loan from the Deutsche Bank-led consortium.

All these evidential details – telephone conversations, email correspondences, financial statements, transaction documents – were clearly painstakingly gathered by the DOJ from all international banking institutions involved with 1MDB as well as other relevant witnesses around the world.

And yet, the first and only response from our Attorney-General, Tan Sri Apandi Ali to date has been to rue DOJ’s “insinuations that have been made against the prime minister of criminal wrongdoing”.

You are wrong, Mr Attorney-General. The US DOJ suit did not mention or even highlight any specific wrongdoing by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak. The US DOJ merely detailed how more than US$5 billion from 1MDB, an entity owned by the Malaysian government have been laundered around the world by a Low Taek Jho and his associates.

In the process, the US DOJ merely mentioned that some of the ultimate beneficiaries of the laundering exercise were Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, to the tune of US$732 million and his wife, who received a gift of a pink diamond necklace worth more than US$30 million.

Like Jho’s girlfriend, Miranda Kerr who received multi-million dollar diamond studded jewelry, or “friend”, Leonardo DiCaprio who received multi-million dollar worth of rare movie memorabilia and paintings, they may be oblivious to the fact that the items were purchased with laundered funds.

Perhaps the Prime Minister and his wife are equally innocent and all they need to do is to return the money or surrender the jewelry, just as Leonardo have done. Hence, it is misguided for Tan Sri Apandi Ali to conclude the DOJ case as one against the Prime Minister.

The real question then is for Tan Sri Apandi Ali to investigate the money laundering exercise carried out by mastermind Jho Low and the abetting 1MDB officials. The Attorney-General cannot deny the overwhelming prima facie evidence presented by the DOJ on the above.

In fact, the DOJ even presented how the above crimes have broken Malaysian laws:

942. Misappropriating public funds by a public official is a criminal offense under Malaysian law, as enumerated by the Penal Code of Malaysia, including but not limited to sections 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 405 (criminal breach of trust), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant or agent), 166 (Public servant disobeying a direction of the law, with intent to cause injury to any person (including a company)), 415 (cheating), 418 (cheating with knowledge that wrongful loss may be thereby caused to a person whose interest the offender is bound to protect), and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property); and the Malaysian Anti- Corruption Act 2009, including sections 16, 17, and 23. Copies of these laws are set forth in Attachment B.

943. Bank fraud is a criminal offense under Malaysian law, as enumerated by the Penal Code of Malaysia, including but not limited to section 415 (cheating), 418 (cheating with knowledge that wrongful loss may be thereby caused to a person whose interest the offender is bound to protect), and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property).

Malaysians are embarrassed by the fact that our top prosecuting officer had to be schooled by foreign jurisdictions on the laws of this country.

Instead of crying “frustration” that “the AG’s Chambers was not informed or alerted by DOJ of this action”, Malaysians would like to know if the AG has bothered to even initiate requests for evidence from the US authorities since the DOJ filed their first asset seizure suit nearly a year ago?

Or is it a case for the AG to see no evil, hear no evil and hence speak no evil?

DAP National Publicity Secretary & MP for Petaling Jaya Utara
Media statement by Tony Pua Kiam Wee in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 18th June 2017