Criminal charges filed against Jho Low in New York tie to MO1, Red Granite

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho and two former Goldman Sachs investment bankers over the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

Low and Ng, who is also known as Roger Ng, were also charged with conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials, the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a statement.

As part of the scheme, Low, Ng, Leissner and others conspired to bribe government officials in Malaysia, including at 1MDB, and Abu Dhabi to obtain and retain lucrative business for Goldman Sachs, including the 2012 and 2013 bond deals.

TTF: The DoJ’s reference to an unnamed individual as “MO1” in its July 2016 report (hereinafter referred to as “the report”) was highly irregular and prejudiced given the department’s lack evidence or leads at the time the report was prepared.

As a matter of fact, a year after the report was made pubic in an unprecedented live telecast announcement by the then Attorney-General (AG) of the United States (US), Loretta Lynch, the FBI conceded that investigations had not even begun and that the claims made by the DoJ were highly speculative.

On the 5th of July 2018, I wrote:

Not many are aware, that the 2016 report was prepared pursuant to terms contained within a controversial loophole that exists in American jurisprudence.

Known as Civil Forfeitures, the loophole allows the DoJ to file forfeiture proceedings against any individual or company suspected of crime or illegal activity hinged solely on complaints filed by a third party. US law has it that for the complaints to be filed, the complainant must imply that the individual or company he (or she) is filing the complaints against committed wrongdoing on American soil. The law clearly states that the filing of any forfeiture proceedings is a civil matter and has nothing to do with a criminal conviction of any sort.

Long story short, the American law has a loophole that allows any Tom, Dick and Harry to file a complaint against an individual or company he (or she) suspects conducted illegal activity on American soil. In 2015, Dr Mahathir’s lawyer and confidante, Matthias Chang, flew to the US to file a complaint against Najib and 1MDB on suspicion that the former premier defrauded both the wealth fund and the government of Malaysia. Matthias was accompanied by Dato’ Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan, who went around the globe lodging police reports against Najib in several other countries.

The complaints filed by the duo led to the DoJ report which has since become the basis to the MACC’s discovery. What this means, is that the anti-graft agency is latching its entire investigation on a report that is based on suspicion and not material evidence. Even the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) admitted that it had yet to commence investigations at the time the DoJ announced the filing of civil forfeiture proceedings against Red Granite.

I maintain everything said above to be the truth unless Matthias and (or) Khairuddin can come forward and prove me wrong by presenting a legitimate basis to the complaint(s) they lodged with the FBI and (or) the DoJ in 2015.

That having been said, if you were to carefully examine the news item below, you’d notice that the charges brought against Low in New York relate one way or the other to “MO1” and Red Granite, a movie production company said to be linked to Riza Aziz, son of former Malaysian premier Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak.

It follows, that if indeed there is evidence linking Low to “MO1,” then, let’s hear it from the DoJ itself who this “MO1” is and if indeed his (or her) relative is Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Najib’s wife.

KUALA LUMPUR: The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho and two former Goldman Sachs investment bankers over the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

A DoJ statement said Low, better known as Jho Low, and Ng were charged in the federal court in the Eastern District of New York with conspiring to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB.

Low and Ng, who is also known as Roger Ng, were also charged with conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials, the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a statement.

“As part of (a) three-count indictment, Ng is also charged with conspiring to violate the FCPA by circumventing the internal accounting controls of a major New York-headquartered financial institution, which underwrote more than US$6 billion in bonds issued by 1MDB in three separate bond offerings in 2012 and 2013, while Ng was employed at the financial Institution as a managing director.

“Ng was arrested earlier today in Malaysia, pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant issued at the request of the United States. Low remains at large.

“Also unsealed today in (the same) federal court… was the guilty plea of Tim Leissner, the former Southeast Asia chairman and participating managing director of (Goldman Sachs), to a two-count criminal information charging Leissner with conspiring to launder money and conspiring to violate the FCPA by both paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials and circumventing the internal accounting controls of the Financial Institution while he was employed by it.

“According to court filings, Leissner has been ordered to forfeit US$43.7 million as a result of his crimes.”

As alleged in court filings, between approximately 2009 and 2014, as 1MDB raised money to fund its projects, billions of dollars were misappropriated and fraudulently diverted from 1MDB, including funds it raised in 2012 and 2013 through three bond transactions that it executed with Goldman Sachs.

As part of the scheme, Low, Ng, Leissner and others conspired to bribe government officials in Malaysia, including at 1MDB, and Abu Dhabi to obtain and retain lucrative business for Goldman Sachs, including the 2012 and 2013 bond deals.

They also allegedly conspired to launder the proceeds of their criminal conduct through the US financial system by purchasing, among other things, luxury residential real estate in New York City and elsewhere, and artwork from a New York-based auction house, and by funding major Hollywood films.

As alleged, Low’s close relationships with high-ranking government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi were central to the scheme, including the as yet still unnamed Malaysian Official #1 (MO1).

According to allegations in court filings, beginning in approximately 2009 and continuing through 2014, Low, Ng, Leissner and the other co-conspirators used Low’s relationships to obtain and retain business for Goldman Sachs through the promise and payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes, including to ensure 1MDB awarded the financial Institution a role on three bond transactions known internally at the Financial Institution as “Project Magnolia,” “Project Maximus” and “Project Catalyze.”

“As a result of its work for 1MDB during that time, (Goldman Sachs) allegedly received approximately US$600 million in fees and revenues along with increased reputational prestige. At the same time, Ng, Leissner and others allegedly received large bonuses and enhanced their own reputations at the financial Institution.

“In total, according to allegations in court filings, more than US$2.7 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB and Low, Ng, Leissner and others conspired to launder this money through the US financial system to pay bribes to foreign officials and for the personal benefit of themselves and their relatives.”

In early 2012, according to allegations in court filings, following a series of meetings in Malaysia and the United Kingdom, the trio and co-conspirators agreed that, with the assistance of Goldman Sachs, 1MDB would issue US$1.75 billion in bonds guaranteed by an entity wholly owned and controlled by the government of Abu Dhabi, under Project Magnolia.

“Low allegedly explained to Ng, Leissner and others at the time that, to complete the transaction, bribes would need to be paid to officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi and, as alleged, hundreds of millions of dollars were actually paid to officials in these countries.

“In or around March 2012, 1MDB allegedly selected (Goldman Sachs) to be the sole bookrunner and arranger for Project Magnolia. As part of the scheme, Low and other co-conspirators enlisted the assistance of 1MDB officials, promising to pay them bribes and kickbacks.

“After Project Magnolia closed on or about May 21, 2012, more than US$500 million of the bond proceeds were misappropriated and diverted from 1MDB through numerous wire transfers to bank accounts in the name of shell companies beneficially owned and controlled by Low, Leissner, Ng and other co-conspirators, including a high-level official at the Abu Dhabi entity that guaranteed the Project Magnolia bonds and a close relative of MO1.”

The DoJ statement then said the bond proceeds were transferred to MO1’s close relative and later used by the relative’s US-based motion picture company in the production of hit Hollywood movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

According to court filings, from May 2012 and throughout 2013, the trio and their co-conspirators continued to work to ensure that Goldman Sachs obtained and retained additional 1MDB business, including the bond transactions known as “Project Maximus” and “Project Catalyze”.

The trio and their co-conspirators then used the transactions to “further their criminal scheme”, and laundered hundreds of millions of dollars of diverted funds into their accounts.

The trio also caused millions of dollars “to be transferred to accounts of 1MDB officials or relatives of such officials in exchange for their assistance in obtaining and retaining business” for Goldman Sachs.

“Over US$35 million of the bond proceeds also allegedly was used by a co-conspirator to help acquire a condominium in New York (City).

“Similarly, according to allegations in court filings, after Project Catalyze closed in March 2013, more than US$1 billion of diverted funds, traceable to the transaction, were laundered, at Low’s direction, to bank accounts in the name of entities beneficially owned and controlled by Low, Leissner and others, including 1MDB officials.”

The statement said the financial institution continued to seek business from 1MDB after Project Catalyze.

“For example, as alleged, in an online chat between Low and Leissner in June 2014, Low and Leissner discussed the need to ‘suck up to’ a 1MDB official and to send ‘cakes’ to a person believed to be the wife of (MO1).

“A few months after this chat, a bank account owned and controlled by Leissner and his relative was used to transfer approximately US$4.1 million to a high-end New York jeweller, in part, to pay for gold jewellery for the wife of (MO1).”

Source: NST Online

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