Again, where is the beef?

This alleged white collar crimes involving individuals named by deposed US Attorney Loretta Lynch announced with the intent to cause ‘shock and awe’ almost two years ago really have so far been proven baseless, since no one has been charged anywhere with any acts of crime.

Straits Times story:

Indonesia court rules yacht seizure in 1MDB case invalid

PUBLISHED

1 HOUR AGO

UPDATED

38 MIN AGO

Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja

Indonesia Correspondent

JAKARTA – An Indonesian court on Tuesday (April 17) ruled that the seizure of a luxury yacht linked to a US investigation into scandal-ridden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was invalid and without legal basis.

“We declare the confiscation by police as invalid and legally baseless,” Justice Ratmoho told the hearing at the South Jakarta District Court.

On Feb 28, Indonesian police in Bali confiscated the 92-metre, Cayman Islands-registered Equanimity yacht off Bali as part of a joint operation with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Mr Ratmoho said the seizure should have been carried out “under the reciprocal legal assistance framework as stipulated by the 2006 law, which gives the mandate to the law and human rights ministry,” and not the police.

The US Department of Justice had earlier alleged that the Equanimity, valued at US$250 million (S$328 million), was among assets purchased by Malaysian banker Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, using funds siphoned from 1MDB.

The funds, believed to be more than US$4.5 billion, were laundered in several countries including the US. The department filed a civil case in June 2017 in a bid to recover the assets.

Mr Ratmoho also said there has been no court ruling that the owner of the yacht committed a crime. “(If) there is no (proven) crime, there should not be any confiscation,” he said.

The US court documents say that Mr Low, an associate of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, had no formal role at 1MDB, but had considerable decision-making influence.

But in early March, Malaysia’s national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun, citing an on-going investigation, said Mr Low never worked for 1MDB and he did not make any business decision for the company.

The Bali police had planned to hand over the confiscated yacht to the US authorities after the Feb 28 seizure, but the company claiming legal ownership of the yacht took the matter to court in Indonesia, citing legal flaws.

Mr Andi Simangunsong, a lawyer representing Equanimity Cayman Ltd, told reporters earlier this month (April) that the yacht was not linked to any criminal case in Indonesia, therefore the local police had no authority to seize the vessel.

He added that a reciprocal legal assistance arrangement between Indonesia and a foreign country is possible but it must go through the law and human rights ministry, not just through the police.

He argued that the handing over of the yacht to the US authorities by the police would constitute a breach of legal procedures.

1MDB’s woes have weighed down Datuk Seri Najib politically, following a July 2015 revelation that some US$700 million (S$922 million) allegedly linked to the state fund were deposited into his personal accounts.

Mr Najib has said the money was a political donation from Saudi royals. He has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Malaysian authorities.

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/indonesia-court-rules-yacht-seizure-in-1mdb-case-invalida

*************

Unless proven with evidence, it is considered malicious slander and lies. 1MDB Chief Executive Officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy had been very consistent since he started talking to media about 1MDB about there is “No theft from 1MDB”.

Now, Arul opined that the Opposition is now having him on their sights and began shelling indiscriminately.

The Malaysia Kini story:

Arul Kanda: 1MDB roadshow prompted DAP to roll out ‘big bazooka’

Malaysiakini Team

16 Apr 2018, 10:28 am (Updated 16 Apr 2018, 11:40 am)

A A

INTERVIEW | In the run-up to the 14th general election, 1MDB chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy has been zipping around the country to explain issues plaguing the state fund, which is expected to be a key election issue.

In an interview with Malaysiakini, he revealed a long list of places where he had visited to conduct town hall meetings, which he believes had courted attention from the opposition.

This, Arul Kanda said, included the likes of DAP’s Tony Pua, whom he described as his “best friend.”

“Each time he speaks about 1MDB, he must mention Arul Kanda. I think the guy really loves me. But what’s interesting is also that DAP has recently rolled out a big bazooka, in terms of Lim Kit Siang, the supremo.

“So, to me, it shows that the opposition is genuinely worried and concerned at the fact that we’re going around sharing information and facts openly, having question-and-answer sessions and allowing anyone to attend.

“I think this has destabilised them and they realise they need to go one step above Tony Pua, and get Lim Kit Siang to come out and start attacking Arul Kanda to chip away at the credibility, because they are concerned that the message is now getting across,” he added.

Arul Kanda was referring to Lim (photo), who earlier this month accused him of peddling fake news about the 1MDB scandal.

This was after Arul Kanda told Indonesian magazine Tempo in an interview that he had no knowledge of businessperson Low Taek Jho’s relationship with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak or the latter’s stepson Riza Aziz.

“I was giving a truthful answer to which I had no knowledge of the facts and I refused to speculate. So, I don’t think you can fault me for that.”

Roadshows will go on

Lim had also challenged Arul Kanda to stand in GE14 on a “1MDB ticket” instead of going on a nationwide roadshow.

However, Arul Kanda said he intends to press on with the roadshows.

Asked if this was a form of campaigning on behalf of BN, he stressed that it was his duty to explain 1MDB’s position.

“What you have now are the investigations which frankly don’t involve us directly,” he said, in an apparent reference to the US Department of Justice probe, as well as investigations in several other jurisdictions.

“However, the opposition and the media are spinning these things to implicate the company and by extension, the Finance Ministry and government, to make them look bad.

“So, our role is to give the company’s perspective, the story of the events and to give facts. Then people can decide based on that,” Arul Kanda added.

https://m.malaysiakini.com/news/420020

**********

Arul even explained about the assets and obligations of 1MDB, including the financial instruments involved.

The Malaysia Kini story:

The mysterious 1MDB ‘fund units’, three years on

Malaysiakini Team

16 Apr 2018, 10:07 am (Updated 16 Apr 2018, 5:34 pm)

A A

INTERVIEW | Arul Kanda Kandasamy was brought into 1MDB as its chief executive officer at a time of crisis, in early 2015, as debt collectors came knocking in.

At that time, 1MDB was also facing mounting pressure on the status of Brazen Sky Ltd’s US$2.33 billion “units” investment in a Cayman Islands-registered fund. Brazen Sky is a subsidiary of 1MDB.

This was Arul Kanda’s first order of business when he declared, a week after his appointment, that the 2012 Cayman Islands investment had been fully redeemed.

“1MDB hopes that the redemption of these funds, in full, draws a line under this matter,” he said in a statement on Jan 13, 2015.

But to date, a line could not be drawn as the investment in Bridge Global Absolute Return Fund SPC, the Cayman Islands-registered fund, was never fully redeemed.

Malaysiakini, in a recent interview with Arul Kanda, grilled him about the status of the “fund units”.

When Arul declared the Brazen Sky “fund units” were fully redeemed at the beginning of his tenure, US$1.39 billion was supposedly in cash and immediately expended while the remaining US$940 million in units was meant for a sale to Aabar Investments PJS Limited (Aabar BVI).

It caused a stir when caretaker prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is also caretaker finance minister, claimed the remaining amount was also redeemed “in cash” but the Finance Ministry was later forced to clarify, two months later, that it was still in “fund units”.

Arul Kanda later took the rap, claiming that he thought the redemption was fully in cash as he was unaware of the planned sale of a portion of the fund units, which was inked before his appointment.

The sale of the remaining US$940 million Brazen Sky “fund units” to Aabar BVI never took place.

The standard explanation, and reiterated by Arul during the interview, was that the planned sale was “superseded” by the binding term sheet with the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) on May 27, 2015.

This 2015 “white knight” deal saw IPIC providing 1MDB with a US$1 billion advance and assuming responsibility on the principal and interest payment of US$3.5 billion in 1MDB’s bonds in exchange for an asset swap which included the Brazen Sky “fund units.”

But even this did not go through as the deal eventually fell apart and both 1MDB and IPIC went to arbitration and later, a settlement.

So, three years after Arul Kanda declared the Brazen Sky “fund units” were fully redeemed, what has happened to the remaining US$940 million?

Highly intelligent and polished in his oratory skill from his debating days, Arul Kanda had a set explanation for every question hurled at him and rarely deviates from them.

He was initially coy about the remaining “fund units” but after repeated grilling, he acknowledged that they remain unredeemed. Below is a transcript of that conversation, which has been edited for brevity, grammar and accuracy.

Malaysiakini: In terms of the Brazen Sky units, ultimately you redeemed a part of it. What’s the status of the remaining US$940 million? Was it fully redeemed?

Arul Kanda: So in terms of the fund units that I told you, we have a rationalisation plan, and the plan required us to monetise our assets, over time, to meet our obligations. So there is an ongoing process and you have seen 1MDB has met every single interest payment under the remaining debt, so we have a process under which we have progressively monetised our assets as a whole.

Malaysiakini: But with regard to the US$940 million, has it been drawn down to pay for something or is it still US$940 million (in fund units)?

Arul Kanda: We have partially monetised some of the fund investment.

Malaysiakini: Brazen Sky, specifically?

Arul Kanda: Well, I can speak in general terms, right? We have partially monetised, but as I told you, we have a programme and we will utilise what is most efficient for the company and in terms of meeting our immediate requirements.

Malaysiakini: So, are you not willing to answer in terms of what happened to those units?

Arul Kanda: No, I am not saying that.

Malaysiakini: I mean you answered in very general terms but we asked you a very specific question.

Arul Kanda: I am saying in general terms because… you are welcomed to ask whatever questions you want, guys, this is an open scenario… and equally, I can give you the answer, right?

You have to bear in mind, we have commercial considerations and we have also confidentiality considerations. Remember, we signed the settlement agreement with IPIC, the settlement agreement covered a lot of things.

But frankly, we have constraints on what we can say and what we can’t say. So ultimately, I would love to answer your question, but there are commercial considerations and confidentiality considerations.

Malaysiakini: Are you suggesting that what happened to those (Brazen Sky) units is confidential? I think you have a duty to somehow give an explanation to Malaysians what exactly happened to those units.

Arul Kanda: Well, as I told you, there is a rationalisation plan and from the company’s perspective, it will be used the in the most efficient way to monetise its assets, over time, in order to pay the debt – that’s our responsibility.

Malaysiakini: Forgive us for harping on the remainder of the fund units. The reason why we are actually on this is simply because a couple of days after you took on the job, you told the Malaysian people that this has been fully redeemed. As you stated, there was some confusion about the fund units and it was later superseded by the IPIC binding term sheet. So, to date, more than three years since you made the public statement and told Malaysians that this has been disposed of, it still seems to be there. So we would like you, if you could, to explain what is the status.

Arul Kanda: Well, we have been very open about how we are meeting our debt obligations. So if you look at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report, there is very detailed set of cash flow, if you look at the various ceramah sessions I have done over a few years, particularly over the last two months, we always said first we needed cash for the operation of the company and pay back short-term debts. As a result, we sold Edra, then we have the real estate Bandar Malaysia, Tun Razak Exchange, Air Hitam (land)…

Malaysiakini: I’m sorry… you just said…

Arul Kanda: You keep asking the same question, you have to let me answer. So how and what is monetised over time is a function of what is the most efficient for the company to do. That’s the simple answer. So I can’t tell you today that I will monetise the units, or tomorrow I will monetise the lands or the day after I will monetise the other. At the point in time, what is most efficient for the company, that’s all we will do.

Malaysiakini: Will you, or will you not, go on record to explain the status of the remainder of the Brazen Sky units. If you are not willing, then we will move on.

Arul Kanda: As I said, the value is there, we are always open about it.

Malaysiakini: What’s the value?

Arul Kanda: US$2.5 billion. We are open about that.

Malaysiakini: That was before the earlier redemption, what’s the remaining amount?

Arul Kanda: We maintained US$2.5 billion as the value and as I told you, what we monetise – Edra, land, fund investment – it depends on the needs of the company and what is most efficient.

The total assets of the company today are RM43 billion – I have publicly stated that – they make up of the land value, the fund investment and also Aabar BVI deposits. That’s RM43 billion.

Malaysiakini: US$2.5 billion is Brazen Sky units?

Arul Kanda: No, no, approximate US$940 million is Brazen Sky. US$1.5 billion is 1MDB Global Investment Ltd (1MDB GIL).

Malaysiakini: So, meaning this US$2.5 billion is still available? Has it not been disposed of?

Arul Kanda: Yes, as I told you, we got a plan over time and we have multiple assets and we will utilise or monetise the assets as needed to meet the requirement. But if your question is what is the value of the company’s assets today, the value of the company’s assets today that we have publicly stated is RM43 billion. But remember, as I said, some of the assets have been transferred to the Finance Ministry, some are still on the balance sheet, you know.

Malaysiakini: So the US$2.5 billion is still available for 1MDB to use?

Arul Kanda: Of course, it is part of the rationalisation plan.

The DOJ version of events

For clarity, 1MDB had invested almost US$3.83 billion in “fund units”. This was US$2.33 billion by Brazen Sky and US$1.5 billion by 1MDB GIL. Both are 1MDB subsidiaries.

After previous redemptions in 2014, the remaining sum of the Brazen Sky investment stands at US$940 million and coupled with 1MDB GIL, now stands at close to US$2.5 billion.

The repeated delays in disposing of the “fund units”, which would, in theory, be more liquid than assets such as power plants and land, raise concern about the Department of Justice’s claim that they are “relatively worthless”.

Going by the DOJ court filings, the “fund units”, including the Brazen Sky investment, were a front for money that had already been misappropriated.

But if the “fund units” were worthless, how could 1MDB possibly redeem US$1.39 billion from the initial US$2.33 billion in the “fund units”?

The DOJ claimed this was achieved through a US$975 million Deutsche Bank loan which, through multiple intermediaries, was sent to Brazen Sky’s account. Brazen Sky then sent the money out again, and after passing through the same intermediaries, the money came back to it.

“The purpose of this unnecessarily complicated funds flow was to create the appearance that fund units in the Brazen Sky Account were being redeemed for cash and being paid forward to 1MDB, thereby fraudulently disguising the fact that the fund units were illiquid and relatively worthless,” the DOJ said in its filing.

But for Arul Kanda, the DOJ filings are unproven claims which have been sensationalised.

“I think there’s complete sensationalisation, right? How many times has the US attorney-general conducted a press conference with this huge supporting cast, just to say this lawsuit is being filed.

“And if you look at the content of the lawsuit, there’s a lot of info, which is actually not relevant to the genesis of the case, which is the attempt to seize certain asset from a certain named person. That’s one part of it.

“The second part of it, despite that razzmatazz press conference, very serious allegations were made but two years on, that civil lawsuit has still not gone to court.

“The DOJ itself has requested for a stay to be extended further recently. To me, that’s not in the interest of justice. I am speaking generally because of the case. As far as 1MDB is concerned, we are not involved in the case,” Arul Kanda said.

Likewise, he a pointed out that there was no admission of guilt in caretaker prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s stepson Riza Aziz’s move to settle with the DOJ. The DOJ had implicated Riza as one of the beneficiaries of allegedly misappropriated 1MDB funds.

“Riza Aziz has entered into settlement agreement with DOJ, under which there is no admission of wrongdoing, no liability on him and the fact is the settlement cannot be used against him in any civil or criminal process

“So this DOJ lawsuit raises a lot more questions,” Arul Kanda said.

The settlement is specific to Red Granite Productions, a film production company co-owned by Riza. He has also been named in the forfeiture of other assets allegedly acquired using 1MDB-linked funds which remain unresolved.

Who is managing the units?

Meanwhile, Arul Kanda was not willing to reveal what entity is currently managing the so-called “fund units”.

Specifically asked about this twice during the interview, Arul Kanda said that the question was “not relevant” and stuck to his script that 1MDB’s various assets, including the US$2.5 billion worth in “units” would be monetised eventually.

“I think the more relevant question is what is the importance of the fund investment.

“If you look at the rationalisation plan, there three parts: Number 1 – The disposal of Edra in order to generate cash that was used to pay debt and manage our operations. Number 2 – the development and sale of land – TRX and Bandar Malaysia, etc.

“And finally, the monetisation of the fund unit investments. That’s US$2.5 billion between

1MDB GIL and Brazen Sky, it fluctuates, depending on the valuation, then US$3.5 billion deposit paid to Aabar BVI.

“Well again, we can go back and talk about this, frankly that’s not relevant, right? What is relevant is, can 1MDB, over time, monetise its assets in an efficient enough manner in order to meet its debt obligation?

“And the answer to that, as you have seen, we presented to the PAC and we explained to the people, this is assets that are available and this is our plan over time to pay,” he said.

It was previously reported that Bridge Partners Investments Management (Cayman) Ltd was the fund manager, However, it’s track record has been brought into question.

Arul Kanda told the PAC that BSI Bank, which is where Brazen Sky had its account, introduced the fund manager.

BSI Bank has since been shut down by authorities for serious regulatory oversight in relation to the 1MDB matter.

https://m.malaysiakini.com/news/420016

**********

The allegations without evidence includes Chairman of Opposition pack Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

The Fourth Prime Minister has heightened his attacks on Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak since over three years ago, with Jho Low being the top of the scapegoats to sow the strategy of ‘Politics of Hatred’.

He totally refused to accept the Public Accounts Committee report which was published and the testimony of Deputy PAC Chairman Dr Tang Seng Giaw, who is DAP MP for Kepong, that there is no evidence of Prime Minister Najib involvement in 1MDB woes.

Even former MITI Minister who is currently the Chairman of AirAsia X Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz took the opportunity to add salt to injury, by insinuating that not enough efforts done to recover assets allegedly stolen from 1MDB.

The Star story:

Rafidah Aziz: I managed to track down luxury yacht Equanimity in Phuket last year


  • NATION
  • Monday, 5 Mar 2018


  • image: https://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/online/2018/03/05/03/36/indonesia-malaysia-us-1mdb-corruption-politics-20180228-114957.ashx/?w=620&h=413&crop=1&hash=55EC7E80796520581CCF4370BFFFAD2B82CAEF0D

    Indonesian officials prepare to board the luxury yacht 'Equanimity', reportedly worth some 250 million USD and owned by Jho Low, a former unofficial adviser to the Malaysian fund 1MDB, at Benoa Bay in Bali on February 28, 2018 / AFP PHOTO

    Indonesian officials prepare to board the luxury yacht ‘Equanimity’, reportedly worth some 250 million USD and owned by Jho Low, a former unofficial adviser to the Malaysian fund 1MDB, at Benoa Bay in Bali on February 28, 2018 / AFP PHOTO

    PETALING JAYA: Fomer Cabinet minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz claims she managed to locate the luxury yacht “Equanimity” in waters off Phuket, Thailand last year.

    On her Facebook page on Sunday, Rafidah posted photos and videos that she took of the yacht, which has been linked to personalities surrounding 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

    One photo showed crew members on board the Equanimity as it sailed while another had the yacht’s tender (a smaller boat used to transport people and supplies between the yatch and shore) docked at the marina in Phuket at night with two people standing next to it.

    Rafidah said she managed to pinpoint the exact location of the Equanimity using the vessel’s automatic identification system while on a diving trip one year ago.

    image: https://content.thestar.com.my/smg/settag/name=lotame/tags=

    She said she was told that the tender was docked in Phuket that night as the owner was celebrating Valentine’s Day on shore with his guests.

    She added that a simple Internet search was able to reveal the owners of the yatch and quoted the ‘SuperYatchFan’ website, which named Low Taek Jho and his Hong-Kong based investment fund Jynwel Capital as the owner of the vessel, valued at US$250mil (RM974.5mil).

    On Thursday (March 1), Multimedia and Communication Minister Salleh Said Keruak released a statement saying that there is no tangible proof that the Equanimity is owned by Low, better known as Jho Low.

    Salleh Said’s statement came after Reuters reported that Indonesia had seized the Equanimity in Bali.

    It said that the yacht was being sought by the US Department of Justice as part of a multibillion-dollar corruption investigation linked to 1MDB.

    It also mentioned there were 34 crew members on board.

    Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/03/05/rafidah-says-tracked-down-yacht-in-phuket/#AmBITmC31S6sQeoo.99

    **************

     

     

     

     

    It is quite easy to sum things up. Police investigation papers, no. Charge, no. Trial, no. Judgment, no. Sentence, no.

    Have some people been eating bisons and trying to pass them as beef?

     

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Published in: on April 17, 2018 at 20:45  Comments (3)  

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