Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that the US Federal prosecutors are poised to launch one of the largest asset seizures in U.S. history as they step up their investigation into billions of dollars siphoned away from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The US Department of Justice are expected to seize more than $1 billion worth of assets, the single largest seizure in the history of the United States, which are expected to include properties and other assets purchased with money allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB.
Reuters have now confirmed the WSJ report. The U.S. Department of Justice filed lawsuits today saying that over $3.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB.
The lawsuits, filed in Los Angeles, seek to seize assets "involved in and traceable to an international conspiracy to launder money misappropriated from 1MDB". The lawsuits said the alleged offences were committed over a four-year period and involved multiple individuals, including Malaysian officials and their associates, who conspired to fraudulently divert billions of dollars from 1MDB.
Those named included Riza Aziz, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s step-son, Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, and Abu Dhabi government officials Khadem al-Qubaisi and Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny.
More interestingly, the charge claimed that funds misappropriated from 1MDB were transferred to Petrosaudi, a company that had a joint venture with 1MDB, and thereafter to a high-ranking official in the Malaysian government it identified only as "Malaysian Official One".
The assets involved in the case include penthouses, mansions, artwork and even a private jet.
In the past, the Najib administration has consistently dismissed the WSJ allegations as “unsubstantiated malicious allegations” as part of a “global conspiracy” to “bring down a democratically elected government”. The Malaysian investigating agencies took the que and refused to conduct any genuine investigations into the monstrous heist despite mounting evidence and damning Auditor-General and Public Accounts Committee Reports.
However, the shit has hit the fan with the latest actions taken by the United States authorities. Surely, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak will not now turn around and accuse his golfing buddy, President Obama of being part of a global malicious conspiracy to bring down his Government?
As a result, we are now the butt of jokes to the world. The US authorities has moved to seize some US$1 billion of assets stolen and misappropriated from 1MDB, and yet the victim, the Malaysian Government insists that we weren’t robbed.
We call upon the Dato’ Seri Najib Razak to chastise our local regulatory authorities for their ineptitude in getting to the bottom the scandal which isn’t only the largest in the history of Malaysia, but also has set the ignominious record of being the largest seizure in the history of United States.
The Prime Minister must instruct the police and the MACC to follow the leads provided by the Department of Justice to charge all the relevant parties who have stolen billions from Malaysians, including but not limited to Riza Aziz and Jho Low.
Most importantly, they must obtain and discover, who is the “Malaysian Official One” who has been accused of siphoning billions of ringgit of 1MDB’s borrowed wealth.