Najib’s Mystery Millions Caught in US Seizure?

August 23, 2016

Najib’s Mystery Millions Caught in US Seizure?

by John Berthelsen

Najib’s Mystery Millions Caught in US Seizure?

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak may have lost a huge chunk of the fabled US$681 million that was allegedly steered to him from the scandal-plagued 1Malaysia Development Bhd fund, according to sources in Kuala Lumpur.  The money appears to have been used to acquire a major part of the estimated US$1 billion in assets seized by the US government in July, the sources said.

From the first, mystery has surrounded the US$681 million, which was deposited in Najib’s personal bank account in Ambank in Kuala Lumpur in early 2013, just before the general election, from the Singapore branch of Swiss Falcon Private Bank, owned by the Abu Dhabi fund Aabar, and another Swiss institution, Tanore Finance Group.

For months after the transactions were made public, Najib – who acknowledged the receipt but said the money was a “donation” – and a series of surrogates said it had come from a shifting variety of sources although the Prime Minister’s allies generally settled on a mysterious Saudi Arabian Sheikh.

In October 2013, US$620 million of the money was just as mysteriously transferred back out to Tanore Finance Group, after which it disappeared.  The other US$60 million was said to have been used to fund the Barisan Nasional’s campaign in the 2013 election, among other things.


From left: Jho Low, Riza Aziz and Khadem Al Qubaisi (credit: Getty Images)

That transfer to Tanore is said to have been re-transferred into accounts held by Jho Taek Low, the young financial whiz who convinced Najib to take over a Terengganu state investment fund and turn it into 1MDB. Shortly after, Jho Low, as he calls himself, went on an amazing buying binge of apartments, houses, airplanes, jewelry, paintings and other expensive playthings.  Also, armed with a letter of guarantee from 1MDB, he attempted vainly to buy three of London’s most prestigious hotels.

These Rogues are still around

Many in Kuala Lumpur believe the acquisitions were made on behalf of Najib’s acquisitive wife, Rosmah Mansor, who has generated considerable irritation for her public flaunting of US$100,000 handbags and enormously expensive jewels. She is the mother of Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson and the producer of The Wolf of Wall Street, which is believed to have been funded by 1MDB money, and which turned a huge profit.

The government is expected to call for general elections in the first quarter of 2017, a full year before the current parliamentary session is due to close. According political analysts in Kuala Lumpur, the government, and particularly the United Malays National Organization, is attempting to thwart the opposition while it is deeply disorganized and squabbling. The opposition, however, has now been joined by the new Parti Prebumi Bersatu Malaysia, headed by ousted UMNO Vice President Muhyiddin Yassin as the secretary general, and being driven by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

“The road is the first or second quarter of next year,” a source told Asia Sentinel. “They are raising funds already.”  Musa Hitam, a senior UMNO statesman, has also predicted an early election.

Monet’s ‘Great Saint George’—a $35 million scene of Venice.(above)

La Maison de Vincent a Arles, by Vincent Van Gogh

When it was suggested that Najib had plenty of money to fund the next election that was left over from the US$620 million that had disappeared out of the country in 2013, the source said: “That money’s all gone. It all went into buying the paintings and the apartments and the houses that Jho Low paid for. Now it’s going, going, gone…”

On July 20, US Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced that the US Justice Department’s Kleptocracy Unit had filed civil complaints seeking the forfeiture and recovery of more than US$1 billion in 1MDB assets, the largest such action ever brought under the kleptocracy asset recovery unit.

“Stolen money that is subsequently used to purchase interests in music companies, artwork or high-end real estate is subject to forfeiture under U.S. law,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker, who was present at Lynch’s press conference.

These assets have been detailed in extensive stories in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, much of it supplied by the blog The Sarawak Report, giving the addresses of high-end real estate and hotel properties in New York and Los Angeles, a $35 million jet aircraft, works of art by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, an interest in the music publishing rights of EMI Music and the production of The Wolf of Wall Street.

Named in the Justice Department’s complaint were Jho Low, as he is known, as well as Riza Aziz and “Malaysian Official 1,” who was not identified further. But the complaint noted that shortly after a 2013 bond sale for 1MDB were diverted to the Tanore account, “US$681,000,000 was sent from the Tanore Account to a bank account belonging to MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1.” 

Malaysian Official 1 was named 32 times in the 136-page civil complaint.It was an unprecedented action against the head of a government that is considered a vital ally in Southeast Asia and one who as late as last January was playing golf with President Barack Obama in Hawaii.

Najib and his surrogates have for more than a month jumped through hoops to seek to deny that he was Malaysian Official 1, with one going so far as to say that Malaysian Official 1 could be the current Agong, or Malaysian king, the Sultan of Kedah. They have accused the US Justice Department of neglecting to hear the Malaysian government’s side of the story. Khairy Jamaluddin, the Youth Minister, told supporters in early August that the US officials “announced (their findings) is as though it was a conviction, as though (those named) are already guilty and to be punished. The words used showed as though Malaysia and the government are guilty.”

In the meantime, however, the US Justice Department is sequestering the assets specified in the complaint, which many observers believe were not Jho Low’s at all, but the Najib family’s as the beneficial owners.  While UMNO officials plan for a 14th Parliamentary election, opponents and political analysts are waiting for the next shoe to drop, and that would be the filing of a criminal complaint against Malaysian Official 1 and his accomplices.

If indeed the US$1 billion in assets that have been seized is the property of the Najib family, it doesn’t leave them destitute. Long before he became Prime Minister, critics accused Najib, as defense minister, of a long string of defense acquisitions that had been overpriced by client companies alleged to be directing kickbacks into the Najib coffers. In February, for instance, French prosecutors launched a formal investigation into allegations that Bernard Baiocco, the former President of Thales International, the French defense contractor, of steering bribes to Najib through his close friend, the former defense analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, suspected of being the middle man. So far the case has not moved forward publicly.

12 thoughts on “Najib’s Mystery Millions Caught in US Seizure?

  1. Najib and his sycophants are resorting to false equivalencies, extreme ones at that to excuse himself. Najib is doing us a favour showing us how over-entitlement leads to these kinds of false equivalency and excuses. Its the road of Ketuanan, the mythical “special rights”, the myth that Pribumi Bersatu wants to entrench further because having open the Pandora box, they cannot close it.

    The Malays are condemned, they opened a pandora box that can never be closed.

  2. 1 MDB LG for Jho Low is similar to a blank check. , Continually, Najib as PM is very strong and influential man and BN have endorsed him. The people loves him for his BRIM and 1Malaysia policy. Similarly, PRU14 will be a heavyweight fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman and the odds are high on both sides. The next six months will definitely lead to the build up on ‘war of words’ to this heavyweight title fight. The voters are the audiences. My concern is on the ‘phantom’ votes and the ring judges. Hard cash really comes handy in any election.

  3. Quote:- “While UMNO officials plan for a 14th Parliamentary election, opponents and political analysts are waiting for the next shoe to drop, and that would be the filing of a criminal complaint against Malaysian Official 1 and his accomplices”

    There are two ways the DoJ could play this so far as filing criminal charges are concerned. (You cannot file criminal charges against Jho Low, Riza Aiziz, et al without including MO1 who is as guilty as the above two. It was a conspiracy to defraud 1MDB and all conspirators are equally culpable. MO1 was not named simply because the assets seized were not in his name)

    1. Wait until the GE 14 is over, see how the political winds, both in Malaysia and the US, blow then, i.e Najib whether won or lose and what kind of president America has;

    2. Do it now or when the calling of GE 14 is imminent, forcing Najib to step down and Malaysia goes into GE 14 on as even a playing field as hope for, something called democracy which is close to America’s heart.

    Either way from the US’s point of view and for whatever reasons, Najib has to go, only a question of when it is expedient; if not why the big prime time live TV press conference to publicly shame Najib, a sitting PM of a friendly country? The US could easily have done a secret back deal as they have done with so many dictators and political thieves when it suited America’s interests. What surprised the Americans of course was Najib survived this initial assault. They thought the British boarding schooled Najib would resign in utter shame. They would not underestimate Najib the next time around.

    So my view is choice #2.

  4. Wrongways, you still can’t read and understand English even after claiming that you were educated in the West, US and UK. The US DoJ is seizing the funds that was laundered by the crooks involved in 1MDB. these funds WILL BE RETURNED TO MALAYSIA. The US DoJ cannot and will not keep the seized funds.

  5. Semper, wrongways is what we bananas (only in Mandarin) call a Zapple – rotting apple on the outside and zero in the inside. They must have been terribly traumatized to have been to the West, whether hidden in packed shipping containers or otherwise. I have my doubts about the veracity of his ‘Western’ education. Paper-Mills and all that..

    Chaps like him hate the USofA and UK without reservation, probably due to the menial tasks imposed on them due to their stuttering Mandlish (Mandarin-English) which was barely understood by the locals.

    Millions of ‘peasant’ workers are still working under sweat-shop conditions throughout China, producing cheap, affordable goods for the enjoyment and ease of the lazy, immoral Westerners, who owe them trillions of $$.. If they had temerity to stop – they’re dead-duck.

    So you see PRC has got themselves into a pickle – the domestic demand is inadequate to absorb what they produce, but to stop the production lines would be suicidal.. Even their steel dumping is slowing down following the collapse of the Northeast Rust Belt – but they can’t stop.

    Therefore its not strange for this moronic PRC apologist to find fault with things he barely understands. In fact he probably relishes the toxic fallout from 1MDB, cuz it gives opportunity for Malaysia to become a satellite of CCP!

    Flurs like him should be put ‘ashore’ on James Shoal or some underwater coral outcrop in the Spratlys during low tide and left there to see whether their vaunted PLA Navy has the wherewithal to rescue them during high tide.

    True Malaysian in soul and spirit, he’s not.

  6. Can the author of this article pls do a major correction. The present Agong or Malaysia’s reigning king is the Sultan of Kedah and NOT the Sultan of Johor as stated.

  7. Dear Sempi Fi 7:06 pm


    Maybe the best way to preserve Malaysia’s assets and keep them from the clutches of MO1 and the hangers-on is to let foreign governments seize them and keep them in trust for the people of Malaysia ?

    I propose two new words for Bahasa Melayu:

    1. Money laundering = menjolokan wang

    2. Foreign government seizes stolen assets and keeps them in trust for the
    people of Malaysia = mendojikan aset

  8. Pingback: Malaysian students rally to demand prime minister’s arrest | RiyadhVision

  9. Phil Kai Lit

    Do you mean ‘mendobikan wang’ for money laundering. Mendojikan sound more like the ‘doji’ points in options trading. Menjolokan wang sounds more like bribery to me. Ha ha
    Semper Fi,

    In Cambodia, there is a province in the northeast called Mondolkiri, famous its aromatic coffee. Mendobi ha ha. Najib apa dia. Bukan pencuri?–Din Merican

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