Jho Low And The China Issue


July 19, 2018

Jho Low And The China Issue

by Sarawak Report

http://www.sarawakreport.org/2018/07/jho-low-and-the-china-issue/

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They seek him here and they seek him there, but best bets are back on China.  Indeed, earlier today, a Hong Kong radio station reported that Jho Low had most recently fled back from Hong Kong into China, where it claimed he has now been detained pending Dr Mahathir’s visit next month.

Certainly, Malaysia’s newly reinstated veteran leader has made clear he is champing at the bit to get to see the Chinese President, since there are plenty of highly pertinent issues he wishes to discuss, albeit embarrassing to China.

 

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Xi Met Mahathir during his visit in 2013,

 

These, of course, relate to a series of multi-billion dollar mega-projects that Chinese state controlled companies signed up to with the previous premier, Najib Razak, star patron of the man on the run, Jho Low.

All of them have been frozen by the new government, which has been issuing toe-curling statements confirming everyone’s suspicions that the contracts were prime examples of super-corruption, which the Chinese had been prepared to pander to in return for digging its economic tentacles into Malaysia and cementing a strategic control over the region.

They include two pipe-line deals in East Malaysia with the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPPB), which the Finance Ministry recently disclosed had already received 88% of the agreed payment two years early and when only 13% of the work had been completed.

The Finance Minister and his team have not minced their words when indicating their firm suspicion that the reason for this outrageous outlay was that the project were being used as a front to channel money to repay billions of dollars of debts owed by Najib’s notorious multi-billion dollar slush fund 1MDB.

Likewise, the grossly inflated East Coast Railway, contracted by Najib to China’s unfortunately named China Communications Construction Corporation – or CCCC (C4 was the explosive used to murder a young woman in a particularly murky case linked to Najib and the has become synonymous with cover-up and corruption in Malaysia).

It was Sarawak Report which exclusively revealed leaked documents back in 2016 that showed how this C4 contract also was inflated by 100% at the last moment, following negotiations with Najib to again write of debts and liabilities connected to 1MDB and Jho Low.  The exact repayment details over the next decade were written into a secret annex to the contract, which on the surface had provided merely broad brush calculations to justify the increased expenditure.

Throughout the period when these contracts were being drawn up the already fugitive Jho Low was based in Shanghai, and it is generally agreed that he was acting as Najib’s agent to use the Chinese to get the prime minister off the hook financially and politically after the United States Department of Justice published the exact details of the 1MDB theft in July 2016.

In other words, to save his own skin Najib proved willing to tie up his country in a mountain of debt and obligation to its neighbouring predatory super-power.Image result for forest city johor

Numerous other Chinese funded projects were likewise put underway, in particular the evironmentally catastrophic Forest City, deemed to provide a helpful financial boon to the Sultan of Johore.  Not only was the development a perfect conduit for Chinese wishing to export cash, the project envisaged providing citizenship to a million new immigrants.

READ ON:  https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2018/05/375032/embracing-common-future

Mahathir and his reformist allies in the new Harapan government are naturally furious at all these thefts and deceptions and are demanding a re-negotiation with China, should these projects go ahead at all.  However, the entire episode represents a humiliating debacle for China, which like the rest of the world had mistakenly placed its bets on the politial survival of the unmasked kleptocrat Najib.

President Xi Jinping will hardly relish the prospect of the extent of his country’s bad behaviour and complicity in corruption being paraded on the world stage and it makes Malaysia’s top wanted man into a useful bargaining chip to help save face in the up-coming diplomatic wranglings and renegotiations.

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The Long Arm of the Law will get at him shoot.

It remains to be seen if China will hang on to Malaysia’s wanted man, who can tell all over Najib’s kleptocratic dealings (and China’s own involvement) or bargain a deal that includes the renegotiation of key projects in Malaysia’s favour, in return for a polite silence over the more embarrassing aspects of China’s corrupt part in propping up Najib?

Malaysia has its strong advocate in the trenchant Mahathir, but it appears China has a valuable hostage in its hands.

Altantuya Shaariibuu Murder: In the name of Justice, Najib Razak must be made to answer


June 19, 2018

Altantuya Shaariibuu Murder: In the name of Justice, Najib Razak must be made to answer

Shaaribuu Setev will be meeting AG Tommy Thomas later today, and PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad tomorrow to discuss the possibility of reopening investigations into his daughter’s murder.

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Shaaribuu Setev, the father of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu who was murdered in 2006. 

KUALA LUMPUR: The father of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, who is seeking to reopen investigations into her murder, today asked why his daughter had not been deported to her home country.

“Why didn’t they just handcuff her and send her back? Why kill her? “I want justice for my daughter,” Shaaribuu Setev said in a press conference here.

Shaaribuu will be meeting Attorney-General Tommy Thomas at 3pm to discuss the possibility of reopening the probe into her murder.

His lawyer Ramkarpal Singh, who was also at the press conference, said his client would meet with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at 5pm tomorrow.

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Altantuya, 28, was killed between October 19 and 20, 2006 by Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar who were part of an elite police commando unit that provided bodyguards for Malaysia’s top leaders.

She was shot twice in the head before being wrapped in military-grade C-4 explosives and blown to pieces. The motive for the crime as well as the source of the order for her death remains unknown.

Azilah and Sirul were convicted of her murder and sentenced to death. However, Sirul fled to Australia before the final court verdict and has been in detention in Sydney for nearly two years.

Altantuya’s murder also attracted attention due to the involvement of Abdul Razak Baginda, who was once an aide to former Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Razak was charged alongside Sirul and Azilah, but he was acquitted without his defence being called. He had also confessed to having an affair with Altantuya.

The case has been linked to Malaysia’s purchase of two French submarines, a deal which is still under investigation in France for alleged kickbacks involving a company linked to Razak Baginda.

Last month, Shaariibuu pleaded with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to reopen investigations to uncover the identity of the person who ordered Altantuya’s murder.

In a letter to Ramkarpal, he said “a powerful person” must have sanctioned the crime.

Following PH’s electoral victory on May 9, Sirul said he was prepared to return to Malaysia and expose those he said were behind the murder. However, in an interview with The Guardian, he rejected Ramkarpal’s suggestion that his death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment.

He also claimed that he was a scapegoat “in an elaborate political crime” and denied he had ever confessed to killing Altantuya.

Malaysia: Murder Case Cover-Up


June 5, 2018

Murder Cover-Up Case: Najib, Rosmah and Lawyers Cecil Abraham & Shafee Abdullah in a legal Fix

by Sarawak Report

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Cecil Abraham and Partners enable clients to realise solutions through clarity of thought and advice. We deliver smart and efficient dispute resolution solutions.

The significance of a court ruling in KL today (June 4, 2018) was perhaps muted by the extraordinary excitement of these moving times.  However, that ruling has opened the floodgates against a cover-up exercise that has strained the Najib administration for over a decade.

Sarawak Report has been covering the dogged litigation of widow Selvi Bala and her former lawyer Americk Sidhu (now himself a witness in the case) against 9 defendants, whom she holds responsible for blackmailing her husband PI (private investigator) Bala after he tried to speak out as a witness over the murder of the Mogolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Bala, like others, had considered the trial a travesty designed to protect ‘high level’ individuals caught up in Altantuya’s threats to expose both her knowledge about kickbacks on a French submarine deal with the former Defence Minister and later PM, Najib Razak, and also her alleged affairs with Najib and his proxy ‘defence consultant’ Razak Baginda.

The private investigator had issued a statutory declaration to the effect that both Baginda and Altantuya had told him that Najib had been her lover and that he was certain that Najib’s two bodyguards, who were found guilty of shooting then blowing up Altantuya’s body, would not have done so without orders.

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Cover-Up

Today’s court hearing went to the heart of the cover-up that allegedly followed Bala’s declaration back in 2008, which Najib and his lawyers had managed to keep the matter out of court by one method or another right up until the last election.

Selvi’s case was that 9 defendants had conspired to force her husband Bala to change his declaration, in order to leave out Najib’s name.  These defendants were primarily Najib and his wife Rosmah, two of Najib’s brothers, a business partner of Rosmah, Deepak Jaikashan, (whom she used as fixer for the occasion) and some lawyers, primarily Cecil Abraham and his son Sunil, who were close to Najib.

Together, Selvi claimed, they had threatened, blackmailed and bribed Bala to flee the country with his family, after a night during which he was forced to sign a new declaration drawn up by Cecil Abraham and son Sunil. In 2013 Bala returned and retracted that second declaration, shortly before dying of a heart attack.

During the course of Selvi’s case for compensation, owing to the impact on her family, all of these defendants successfully pressured the courts to strike out the case against them (on highly controversial grounds accepted by Najib’s Chief Justice Raus) except for Deepak, who had since 2012 made clear he was prepared to back up Bala’s story.

This meant that Selvi’s litigation was continuing throughout last year, but against Deepak only.

Deepak’s Exposure 

Thus by 2017 Deepak alone was defending Selvi’s demands for compensation, keeping the case hanging on by a thread.  Nevertheless, the world could see that if Selvi gained a ruling in her favour by the court against this last defendant, then that judgement would confirm the complicity of all the others, including Najib and Rosmah, in the shocking cover-up of evidence in a murder trial that pointed heavily towards their additional complicity either in that killing or, at the very least, in the failure to prosecute those responsible for ordering the death of a woman who was blackmailing Najib and his proxy.

As Sarawak Report exclusively reported at the time, Deepak had no desire to plead other than guilty for his part, since he plainly wished for the greater guilt of those who had engaged him to fix the cover-up to be exposed.

We published an exclusive copy of the original defence drawn up by Deepak’s lawyers, which acknowledged all of Selvi’s allegations and named Najib and Rosmah as the “masterminds and beneficiaries” of the conspiracy to cover-up PI Bala’s evidence.

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However, moments from putting that document into court last November, Najib’s agents intevened in the form of another lawyer, Shafee Abdullah (pic above), who together with the Tabung Haji Chairman, Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, liased between Deepak and the Prime Minister to force a change of story.

As Deepak has informed Sarawak Report, Najib was abusing his powers as PM-Finance Minister to hold huge tax bills over Deepak’s head, which he offered to drop if Deepak cooperated.  Ironically, those bills were linked to land deals that Deepak had conducted on behalf of Najib’s own wife Rosmah, for whom he was acting as a proxy, says the businessman.

To get off millions in tax demands, Deepak agreed to play ball and allow Shafee to place a new defence that denied all Selvi’s allegations.  However, right up to the election Deepak and his ‘new lawyer’ Shafee wrangled with each other and the court, finding excuses to avoid a hearing where Deepak could be cross examined about his change of tune.

What a Difference an Election Makes

When the case returned to court after the election what a different story Deepak had to tell.  In an exclusive interview with Sarawak Report last month the businessman had already confided that the endless hospital appointments, designed to keep him out of the witness box to avoid embarrassment before polling day, were of course a sham.

 

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Dato’ Panglima Azeez Abdul Rahim–The Fixer

Azeez, says Deepak, had organised a doctor to provide a certificate and place him overnight in hospital, a matter he conspired over with Shafee. Deepak has played recordings to Sarawak Report of those conversations between himself, lawyer Shafee and the agent of Najib, Azeez, where the fake hospital appointments were arranged.

Today, again before the judge, Deepak admitted that his first and not the second defence devised by Shafee was the honest statement he plans to stand by.  He also made clear he had never formally appointed Shafee, who had represented him only through blackmail.

Both these points were accepted by the judge, leaving Deepak to face cross-examination on the case at the next hearings, as well as Shafee himself and the other witnesses named in the case.

Face The Music

The consequences for lawyer Shafee, now accused of faking hospital appointments and blackmailing a reluctant client on behalf of a separate interest, namely Najib and Rosmah, the prospect of the later stages of this civil trial are dismal.  Not least, because Shafee is likely to be also asked about a combined payment by Najib of RM9 million out of 1MDB money, for services not yet explained.

And what about two other Najib associated lawyers in the case?  Selvi’s petition stated that on the night her husband was blackmailed into changing his statutory declaration, in order to remove all reference to Najib, the prominent lawyer Cecil Abraham and his son Sunil joined Bala and Deepak overnight in a hotel room at the Hilton Sentral hotel in KL, in order to draw up that spurious new document.

Deepak, in his first and now revived defence, admitted this claim to be true and confirmed the role of the two lawyers, who had been called into the matter by Najib together with two of his brothers, who helped handle the situation that night. Americk Sidhu is expected to put in a complaint to the Bar Association shortly regarding this disturbing conduct.

Given the extensive and unhealthy ties between Najib and these lawyers, the present reported role of the father and son as key advisors to the Agong, currently resisting the appointment of the new Prime Minister’s choice of Attorney General is disturbing.  Are they representing the interests of the present administration or the old PM?

Most at risk from the developments in this marathon case, launched by a single widow to avenge her dead husband and compensate her family, are the former PM himself and his wife, described by the defendant himself as ‘masterminds and beneficiaries’ of the ‘conspiracy’ to silence Bala.

For ten years this couple have moved heaven and high water to hold this case at bay, now they no longer have the power to do so and the reason for their apparent attempts to obstruct the course of justice seem set to become fully known to all.

P.S. Tommy Thomas is now the new Attorney-General of Malaysia. All attempts to scuttle his nomination by Prime Minister and his Pakatan Harapan partners have failed.–Din Merican

The Model who knew too much to live


May 25, 2018

The Model who knew too much to live

by John Berthelsen@www.asiasentinel.com

Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian jet-setting beauty who was murdered in a patch of forest near Kuala Lumpur on October 18, 2006, was killed because she was causing trouble and she knew too much.  It appears likely that the mystery of her death, 12 years later, may now be finally be unraveling.

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The Model who knew to much

Asia Sentinel carried 73 stories on the events surrounding her death between 2006 and 2015, with several more in the intervening three years. We may now be about to learn what happened.

The 28-year-old translator was shot in the head by elite bodyguards for Prime Minister Najib Razak as she begged for her life and that of what she said was her unborn child after a whirlwind romance with Abdul Razak Baginda, then Najib’s best friend and, according to French prosecutors, a participant with him in a giant scandal. Razak Baginda had jilted her and she was demanding US$500,000 in front of Razak Baginda’s house when she was scooped up and thrown into a jeep by Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, never to be seen alive again. Her body was wrapped in C4 explosives and blown to bits, possibly to destroy the DNA of the fetus she was carrying. All that was left, when she was found, were bones that filled two urns.

A month after Altantuya was killed, on November 9, 2006 Sirul sat down with recording officer Nom Phot, was read his rights, agreed that he was not speaking under duress, and confessed to the murder, saying Azilah had told him the two would be paid between RM50,000 and RM100,000 to kill the woman.

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Dr. Setev Shaariibuu–The brutally murdered model’s father

That confession, despite the fact that everything appeared to be in order, was never introduced in a court of law. It was printed verbatim in Asia Sentinel on March 20, 2009.  Three years after the murder, a Kuala Lumpur court convicted the two of murder without ever seeking to learn who would pay them the money.

That question has never been answered, but now it may be. Sirul has been in an Australian detention center since 2015, having fled Malaysia while he was temporarily freed on appeal. The conviction was later reinstated in Malaysia and Australian authorities detained him.

According to the Malaysian news portal Malaysiakini, Sirul now wants to return home and tell the full story of how Altantuya was killed in exchange for a pardon. Since he was detained, Sirul, a convicted murderer, has had the advice and assistance of two lawyers from the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the leading party in the Barisan Nasional, the party headed by Najib Razak, which decisively lost the May 9 general election.  With UMNO now having been ousted from power, Sirul’s lawyers apparently have disappeared.

Mohamad Fuzi Harun, Malaysia’s new top Police Officer, said he would discuss reopening the investigation into the murder.

So what did Altantuya know that made her so troublesome?  She accompanied Razak Baginda, and almost certainly Najib as well on a jaunt to Paris to meet with officials of DCNS, the French munitions giant, in the final stages of the purchase of two Scorpene submarines from a DCN subsidiary, Thales. Altantuya was identified as a “translator” on the trip, according to documents obtained by Asia Sentinel in 2012.  Najib has sworn on the Quran that he never met her although there are credible reports that he had.

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 Dr. Abdul Razak Baginda

Among other things, according the documents, a DCNS agent, Jean-Marie Boivin, paid for a jaunt to Macau for Razak Baginda and Altantuya. Altantuya was identified as the translator on the transaction. Other news sources say the two lovers toured Europe in Razak Baginda’s Ferrari before he ultimately jilted her.

According to a series of stories that won Asia Sentinel the 2013 award for excellence in investigative journalism from the Society of Publishers in Asia – Asia’s version of the Pulitzer Prize – UMNO was paid kickbacks in the equivalent of US$141.3 million at then-prevailing exchange rates for the purchase of the submarines. Ironically, the submarines can’t operate in Peninsular Malaysian waters. They were stationed in East Malaysia, where they were virtually useless.

However, as Asia Sentinel reported, the kickbacks were paid with the knowledge of French government officials all the way up to then-Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and with the knowledge of then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and other Malaysian officials.

Given her intimacy with Razak Baganda – and possibly with Najib himself, according to a now-dead Malaysian private detective Perumal Balasubramaniam – it is likely that she knew considerable about how the US$141 million ended up with UMNO. According to a sworn declaration by Balasubramaniam, she had spent time with both Razak Baginda and Najib as her lover as well, and she had been promised the US$500,000 as a “commission” for assisting in the submarine transaction.

Today, French authorities have issued a warrant for Abdul Razak Baginda on bribery charges in the purchase of the submarines.  Two Thales officials have also been charged specifically with bribing Najib Razak.

From the start, it has been inconceivable that two elite policemen who had never known of Altantuya’s existence until the day she was murdered would decide out of the blue to kill her.

The stakes – a woman scorned and pregnant, standing on the street demanding that Razak Baginda show himself  or willing to tell what she knew – were high. By her own admission, in a letter found in the hotel room where she was staying, she said she was blackmailing Razak Baginda.

Razak Baginda, after her death, seemed to express horror that she had actually been murdered.  In public statements, he said he had only asked that someone “do something” about her to keep her from harassing him. In a highly unusual move, a high court judge turned him loose without ever having to put on a defense, whereupon he fled for the UK for several years.

It was Najib’s aide de camp, Musa Safri, who ordered Sirul and Azilah to pick up the woman, according to additional reports. Musa was never questioned, nor did he testify in the trial.  The question is who told Musa to order the two police commandos into action. If Inspector General of Police Fuzi decides to reopen the case, if Sirul makes his way back to Malaysia, We may now find out.

NY Times: A Stunning, Sudden Fall for Najib Razak, Malaysia’s ‘Man of Steal’


May 17, 2018

A Stunning, Sudden Fall for Najib Razak, Malaysia’s ‘Man of Steal’

Just a few months ago, the political machine led by Najib Razak, the gilded Prime Minister of Malaysia, appeared so indestructible that a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal seemed unlikely to derail it. The end came so quickly, so completely, that even his opponents were shocked.

For nearly a decade, Mr. Najib, 64, had unfettered control of his nation’s courts and coffers. His party had thrived by unfailingly delivering huge cash handouts at election time. The media was at his disposal; journalists he didn’t like, he shut down. Political foes were shoved into prison.

The pampered and spoilt son of a Prime Minister (Abdul Razak) and nephew of another (Hussein Onn), Mr. Najib enjoyed the friendship of President Trump, who after playing golf with him in 2014 gave him a photo inscribed, “To my favorite Prime Minister.” Last year, Mr. Trump hosted Mr. Najib at the White House, even as the United States Justice Department accused him of taking Malaysian state money.

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President Donald Trump and Disgraced Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at White House in 2017

 

But his authority suddenly evaporated in the early hours on May 9, after Malaysia’s national elections delivered a commanding majority to the opposition, now led by the political titan who had once lifted Mr. Najib to power: the 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad.

The opposition was fractious, and remains so, but it was galvanized by a single purpose: to deliver the ouster of Mr. Najib to an electorate furious at his excesses and emboldened by social media even as news outlets were being muzzled.

Now, Mr. Najib is suddenly vulnerable to criminal charges at home, as well as a reinvigorated effort by the Justice Department as it pursues billions of dollars missing from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the country’s state investment fund supervised by Mr. Najib for years.

The details released from that investigation in the past three years painted a lurid picture of a Malaysian leader and his family members and friends living high on diverted public money.

Prosecutors say that hundreds of millions of dollars from the fund appeared in Mr. Najib’s personal account and was spent on luxury items, including a 22-carat pink diamond necklace, worth $27.3 million, for his wife. In all some $7.5 billion was stolen from the fund, prosecutors say, and spent on paintings by Monet, Van Gogh and Warhol and others worth over $200 million; on luxury real estate in the United States; and even on a megayacht for a family friend, Jho Low, who reveled in his Hollywood connections.

Those accusations, and others, became grist for social media outrage in Malaysia, frequently on private WhatsApp groups, but it seemed Mr. Najib still underestimated how much he was losing: a public that still valued some semblance of moderation, his once unbreakable Malay power base, even family members.

Mr. Najib’s stepdaughter, Azrene Ahmad, took to Instagram on Friday with an emotional condemnation of him and her mother, Rosmah Mansor, who had become widely known here for piling up designer labels, garlands of jewelry and a multi-million-dollar handbag collection that more than rivaled the shoe fetish of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines.

“Today marks the end of a day of tyranny that many have prayed for,” Ms. Azrene wrote, describing how she had “witnessed many trespasses, deals and handshakes these two made for the benefit of power and to fuel their appetite for greed.”

“The numerous offshore accounts opened to launder money out of the country for their personal spending,” she continued, cataloging her accusations against them. “The steel safes full of jewels, precious stones and cash amassed. Being made a cash mule.”

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Supporters of Mahathir Mohamad outside the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.CreditUlet Ifansasti/Getty Images

 

Mr. Najib’s brother, Nazir Razak, joined in, implicitly casting his brother’s ouster as a chance for progress. “Malaysia needs major recalibration, but all attempts under the old order failed,” he wrote on social media. “Now you can!”

 

Even the state-linked news media, which had spent years writing slavish articles describing Mr. Najib’s wisdom and Ms. Rosmah’s charitable ventures, dropped the multiple honorifics that once preceded his name.

By Saturday, a travel blacklist foiled Mr. Najib’s attempt to leave for Indonesia with his wife.

Mr. Mahathir, who was sworn in as Prime Minister on Thursday, has called Mr. Najib a thief and said he must face the consequences of his actions. “High or low, all are subject to the rule of law,” Mr. Mahathir said Sunday at a news conference.

“This totally changes everything,” said Ren McEachern, a former supervisory special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who specialized in international corruption. “Now that he’s out of office, there could be an appetite for criminal charges.”

Further, Mr. Najib’s removal from office is bringing new vigor to efforts by the Justice Department to pursue him, according to a person with direct knowledge of the investigation but who is not authorized to speak publicly. The department declined to comment on the case for this article.

After his defeat, Mr. Najib posted a Twitter message that was at least partly contrite. “I apologize for any shortcomings and mistakes,” he wrote, even as he maintained that “the best interests of Malaysia and its people will always be my first priority.”

But the saga of Najib Razak is one of astonishing insatiability and unaccountability. And it is an account of a political party — the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), which Mr. Najib led — that teethed on graft and patronage and collapsed under the weight of its own immoderation.

“For a long time, elites across the region have enjoyed a culture of impunity,” said Donald Greenlees, an authority on Southeast Asia at Australian National University. “There is no doubt that the decades of mostly one-party rule, the capture of state institutions, particularly the Judiciary, and the taming of the media led Najib to believe he was untouchable.”

Mr. Najib’s downfall was a vanishingly rare event in a region where democracy has retreated in recent years. In Malaysia, as in other places across Southeast Asia, elections had been deployed only to legitimize those in power. Yet without a single shot fired or a threat of a coup uttered, Mr. Najib was toppled.

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Ms. Azrene Soraya Ahmad–Najib Razak’s Stepdaughter

“The day I left home I left you a warning,” Ms. Azrene, his stepdaughter, wrote on Instagram. “There will come a reckoning when the people will punish you for your trespasses on them. There will come a day when God will punish you for your trespasses, the very people you swore to protect.”

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Malaysian Police Officers seizing equipment from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) office in Kuala Lumpur in 2015. Billions of dollars disappeared from the state fund.

The Flawed Heir

Mr. Najib’s father, Abdul Razak, who also served as Prime Minister of Malaysia. Mr. Razak died in 1976. CreditRolls Press, via Getty Images

Mr. Najib’s pedigree was impeccable, and from an early age he seemed destined to take the helm at the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), which counts the betterment of the country’s ethnic Malay majority as its founding mission.

Educated at elite British schools, he acquired a chic English accent and a fondness for fine tailoring. Unlike his onetime mentor, Mr. Mahathir, he did not have an instant rapport with the rural Malay Muslim base, and early in his political career he struggled to speak Malay.

Still, the legacies of Mr. Najib’s father, who was the Second Prime Minister of Malaysia, and his uncle, who was the country’s third, helped make up for his lack of grassroots appeal. In interviews, Mr. Najib was smooth, gracious and somewhat distant.

“Najib grew up thinking that leading the country was his birthright,” said Rafizi Ramli, a top strategist for the opposition that ousted Mr. Najib and the National Front coalition. “He doesn’t realize that you have to earn the people’s trust and maintain the people’s trust. He is completely removed from Malaysia, the real Malaysia.”

But his reputation was tarnished years before he became PrimeMminister in 2009.

In 2006, when Mr. Najib was Deputy Prime Minister, the Mongolian mistress of one of his advisers, Abdul Razak Baginda, was killed, blown up by military-grade explosives (C-4). Two of Mr. Najib’s bodyguards were eventually convicted in her murder.

French investigators are still examining whether Mr. Najib, during his time as Defense Minister, might have personally profited from around $130 million in kickbacks related to a transaction for French submarines. Before she was killed, the Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu, claimed she was owed half a million dollars for brokering that deal.

The biggest scandal of all exploded in 2015 when opposition politicians and muckraking journalists questioned what had happened to billions of dollars that had disappeared from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the country’s state investment fund.

Mr. Najib oversaw the fund, known as 1MDB, and unveiled it in 2009 as a surefire way to bring further prosperity to Malaysians through smart foreign investments and development projects.

In 2016, the United States Justice Department dropped a bombshell: A person it referred to as Malaysian Official 1 had siphoned $731 million from 1MDB. Officials privately confirmed that Mr. Najib was Malaysian Official 1.

The Justice Department’s accusations continued: In total, over $4.5 billion in 1MDB funds was laundered through American banks, enriching Mr. Najib, his family and friends, prosecutors said.

It said $250 million went for a megayacht, complete with a helicopter pad and movie theater, built for Jho Low, a financier friend of Mr. Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz. Mr. Low is accused of being central to the plot, and federal prosecutors said he used 1MDB funds to buy the actor Leonardo DiCaprio a $3.2 million Picasso painting for his birthday. The Australian model Miranda Kerr received $8 million in jewelry. (Both have since returned the gifts.)

Mr. Najib explained that $681 million deposited in his personal bank account was a gift from a Saudi patron. In 2015, after Malaysia’s Attorney-General gathered evidence of Mr. Najib’s involvement in 1MDB and seemed poised to press charges, Mr. Najib fired him. Subsequent Malaysian government investigations cleared Mr. Najib of any wrongdoing.

Malaysians were accustomed to a certain amount of grease in the country’s political system, but the extravagant sums linked to the 1MDB scandal shocked the public. United States federal prosecutors called the money-laundering scheme “massive, brazen and blatant.”

Mr. Najib moved to shut down critical news reports, or to spin it in the state media outlets. But he could not block everything.

News outlets including The Sarawak Report blog and the Malaysia-based newspaper The Edge joined The Wall Street Journal at the lead of the race to expose each detail. (The Edge was shut down at one point for three months, and The Sarawak Report website is still blocked in Malaysia.)

 

The Malaysian political establishment wondered how the son of a famously ascetic Prime Minister had grown so venal and careless. “If you want to steal this kind of money, why would you put it in your own account?” said James Chin, a Malaysian who is the Drector of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania. “It shows such arrogance.”

Blame the Wife

Mr. Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, in 2014, leaving the Time Warner Center in New York, the site of one of their homes. Ms. Rosmah is known for her overseas shopping trips and a multimillion-dollar collection of Hermès Birkin handbags. CreditMichael Appleton for The New York Times

As the public grew angrier about the excesses, Ms. Rosmah became a frequent target of ire.

Her habit of taking chartered shopping expeditions to Europe and Australia, presumably at the expense of Malaysian taxpayers, became social-media fodder. Her Hermès Birkin handbag collection, one broker said, was worth at least $10 million.

“Rightly or wrongly, Rosmah was vilified as the major partner in the corruption and scandals associated with the Prime Minister,” said Lim Teck Ghee, a public policy analyst in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital.

In 2015, when Mr. Najib’s and Ms. Rosmah’s daughter married the nephew of President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, guests were astonished by their lavish wedding celebrations. Mr. Mahathir, who attended one party, recalled seeing soldiers lugging at least 17 trunks loaded with luxury gifts for the guests. “I had never seen that, even at royal weddings,” he said in an interview with The New York Times in 2016.

Fazley Yaakob, the husband of Mr. Najib’s stepdaughter, offered another story, which he recounted on Instagram after Mr. Najib lost the election. Before the two were married, Mr. Fazley wrote, Ms. Rosmah hired a witch doctor to assess the suitability of the union. The witch doctor warned against the marriage because Mr. Fazley, unlike others, would be able to resist Ms. Rosmah’s supernatural powers.

The pair married anyway. “All hell broke loose right after,” wrote Mr. Fazley, without detailing exactly what happened.

Mr. Najib was called the “Man of Steal” by Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, one of Malaysia’s top cartoonists, who caricatured Ms. Rosmah with a giant diamond ring on her plump finger. Mr. Najib’s reaction was unforgiving. Mr. Zulkiflee, who is known by the pen name Zunar, was charged with nine counts of sedition and still could face up to 43 years in prison.

This year’s Election Day, Mr. Zulkiflee said, was “the happiest moment of my life,” and he hopes the charges will now be dropped.

During the campaign, Mr. Mahathir, who said he came out of retirement two years ago to join the opposition because he was so shocked by the cloud of corruption around Mr. Najib, succeeded in harnessing public angst over the rising cost of living to financial scandals linked to the Prime Minister. One that particularly resonated with rural Malays, some of whom ended up casting swing votes in favor of the opposition, was a farm subsidy program that, by some accounts, was missing around $750 million. Mr. Najib oversaw that program.

Those defections proved critical, though there was no assurance that Mr. Mahathir could still command his old popularity.

“1MDB was a key factor in the election result,” said Mr. Lim, the public policy analyst. “The long-running scandal became indelibly associated with the endemic high-level corruption in the country.”

 

Electronic advertising in Kuala Lumpur before the election promoted Mr. Najib and his coalition. Mr. Najib had predicted another victory at the polls this month. CreditUlet Ifansasti/Getty Images 

Failed Containment

Yet even as public outrage intensified, Mr. Najib seemed curiously removed from reality. In omnipresent campaign billboards, he hogged the limelight, his grin and upturned hands evoking less a statesman than a salesman. Malaysian voters were supposed to acquiesce to whatever deal he had on offer.

Mr. Mahathir said he had a falling out with Mr. Najib because of his protégé’s insistence that “cash is king,” both in politics and governance.

Under Mr. Najib’s leadership, the party ensured victory in 2013 by passing out hundreds of millions of dollars to party leaders to give to voters, according to his own aides.

The strategy was similar for 2018, analysts said, and Mr. Najib had predicted that the governing coalition would do even better in this month’s elections than it had in 2013, before the 1MDB scandal broke out.

On the eve of campaigning, Mr. Najib’s information minister, Salleh Said Keruak, bragged that the United Malays National Organization, or UMNO, would win easily, and that the party had access to a trove of government data on Malaysian voters. “We have it all at our fingertips,” he said.

Mr. Salleh wasn’t the only one to miscalculate. Local polling agencies predicted the elections would go to the National Front coalition, which is dominated by UMNO. Across the country, public flag displays supporting the National Front vastly outnumbered those of the opposition Alliance of Hope.

Still, there were murmurings of discontent. In a first, Malaysia’s Navy Chief reminded his sailors that the vote was secret so they should choose freely.

And though Mr. Trump met with Mr. Najib at the White House last September, the effort by a former top Republican operative, Elliott Broidy, to get them together again for golf failed, despite Mr. Broidy’s assurance to the White House chief of staff in a leaked email that he knew Mr. Najib well. Mr. Najib didn’t even get a customary photo op during the visit.

Image

A closed road outside Mr. Najib’s mansion, in the background, in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. Credit Andy Wong/Associated Press

 

In the final months of the campaign, Mr. Najib fell back on tried-and-true money politics. The day before the election, he promised that Malaysians 26 and younger would not have to pay income tax if his coalition prevailed. Earlier, he offered significant pay raises to civil servants, who are mostly ethnically Malay rather than from Malaysia’s Chinese or Indian minorities.

“That has always been his style: When faced with difficulties, throw goodies at them,” said Oh Ei Sun, an analyst based in Kuala Lumpur and a former political secretary to Mr. Najib.

Other tactics were more iron-fisted. Shortly before campaigning began, Mr. Najib’s party pushed through a so-called fake news law that was the first in the world to use Mr. Trump’s rejoinder as it criminalized publishing or circulating misleading information. The law, critics feared, could land anyone who criticized Mr. Najib in prison for up to six years. His government also designed a broad gerrymandering scheme that diminished the impact of minorities who were unlikely to vote for him.

None of these efforts worked. “The Najib brand is toxic,” said Mr. Chin of the University of Tasmania. “There was no way he could run away from this.”

On Sunday, Mr. Najib and Ms. Rosmah were still secluded in their mansion in Kuala Lumpur. A bodyguard at their home, who asked not to be identified in the press out of fear of reprisals, said that the stream of confidants who once knocked at their door had stopped. Even their housekeeper, he said, had deserted them.

Hannah Beech and Richard C. Paddock reported from Kuala Lumpur, and Alexandra Stevenson from Hong Kong. Sharon Tan and Austin Ramzy contributed reporting from Kuala Lumpur, and David D. Kirkpatrick from London.

 

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: The Spectacular Fall of Malaysia’s ‘Man of Steal’.

Azrene Soraya Ahmad on Najib Razak and Rosmah Mansor


May 11, 2018

Azrene Soraya Ahmad (Daughter of Zero Lady of Malaysia)  on Najib Razak and Rosmah Mansor

by Azrene Ahmad

Image result for Rosmah Mansor and Najib Razak

Bismillahirahmanirahim. Today (May 9, 2018) marks the end of an era of tyranny that many have prayed for. I grew up looking up to these two individuals, loving them and respecting them. There was a time when I would have walked through the fires of hell and back for them. As I grew older, I saw the selfishness and greed of one above all else.

I experienced firsthand emotional, physical and mental abuse at the hands of the one on the left. I witnessed firsthand the same abuse she caused onto the one on the right. I witnessed many trespasses, deals and handshakes these two made for the benefit of power and to fuel their appetite for greed. I witnessed the side deals made behind the back of the one on the right.

The amount of money in brief cases exchanging hands and being spent like water not for the benefit of the rakyat but to be spent like water on jewels, bribery of officials and used in the pursuit of gaining more power. Shamans, witch doctors, aesthetic doctors and the like walking the pathways of my home for one reason or another but mostly to bring to heel and gain dominion over their peers and over their family members, even to cause harm on those who were audacious enough to cross them.

The numerous offshore accounts were opened to launder money out of the country for their personal spending. The steel safes full of jewels, precious stones and cash amassed. Being made a cash mule or even crystal shoes mule carrying these quietly into and out of the country was no fun either, let me tell you. The countless attempts to sell me into marriage to the highest bidder or even persons with the highest position that will be able to help them gain political and social advantage.

The greed, avarice and pride that grew with each step that was gained closer to the top position. Nothing could stop their reign of terror and yet I stayed out of loyalty and duty. When this terror was then focused on me and became too unbearable a burden to carry, I decided to leave. Thus began my self imposed exile from this unfortunate family.

When I married the man of my choosing after exhausting all ways of trying to convince them to release me from my bond, my new family unit was harassed and exposed to countless cruel, intolerable, degrading treatment at the hands of one Rosmah Mansor and her collaborators. Unchecked, she engaged different government machinery, civil servants, media and members of Parliament to harass the family. Many other creative methods too were used to terrorise us and shut all ways of providing for the family and our children.

Image result for Najib Razak the chicken man

Najib Razak : “Too scared of his bed partner to exercise any semblance of mercy”, says Azrene Soraya Ahmad

Throughout all of this and despite numerous attempts to seek help from the Prime Minister it was all to no avail. In fact, he covered his wife’s tracks instead. The one person who could have helped, refused to do so and turned a blind eye and a deaf ear. Too scared of his bed partner to exercise any semblance of mercy.

Just as he was too scared to stand up for the rights of the people when he realised something malignant had creeped into 1MDB but instead this family resorted to committing this disgustingly treasonous act of stealing from their people billions of dollars which they proceeded to use not just as their personal coffers to the detriment of the people but to bribe, extort, silence, maim, and kill.

 

Azrene Soraya Ahmad (Rosmah Mansor’s Daughter)

The day I left home, I left you a warning. That one who has been elected into office has power only at the will of the people. They are there to serve the people, not the other way round. There will come a reckoning when the people will punish you for your trespass on them. There will come a day when God will punish you for your trespasses the very people you swore to protect.