Friday, May 29, 2015

Fake vs False Statements - A Subtle, but Major Difference

Arul Kanda’s cleverly-worded denial that he supplied fake documents to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is another one of his trademark slippery attempts to obfuscate Malaysians.

According to Bernama, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) President and Executive Director yesterday “rebutted claims that he had submitted a false bank statement to Bank Negara Malaysia”.

“We note with dismay that an online blog, Sarawak Report, continues to carry false information and direct unfounded allegations at 1MDB”. Arul Kanda claimed that the blog accused him of providing “a false bank statement to Bank Negara to imply that 1MDB had cash in a BSI account in Singapore.”

“This is a lie. I have never provided any such statement to BNM. To state otherwise is blatantly false and incorrect, as are any allegations that are based on this premise,” he protested as if he has been harshly victimised.

I was almost moved to lend him my shoulder to cry on. Except that the above was another one of Arul’s cleverly worded denial to mislead Malaysians who may not know any better.

Firstly, I’ve read again the various posts on the Sarawak Report with regards to the accusation Arul made, and I’ve struggled to find any segment in these posts which asserted that Arul Kanda supplied fake documents to BNM.

What I did read in the article entitled “Investigators Conclude 1MDB “Cheated” And “Made False Document” to Bank Negara, Deutsche Bank And Others” was that the Singapore authorities had supplied BNM with information alleging Arul Kanda distributing fake bank statements.

…the Singapore authorities had reported that an alleged bank statement submitted by 1MDB, in order to substantiate evidence about the contents of the fund’s BSI account, was in fact false according to the bank itself.

The bank denied the statement, presented to the authorities by 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy, was an authentic document or that it represented a true picture of the Brazen Sky account, which the PM/ Finance Minister has announced is holding USD$1.103 bil of the fund’s missing money.

Hence the key to the accusation was never specifically about Arul presenting a “false bank statement to Bank Negara”. It was about the fact that he had distributed such statements which was found to be false. It is crucial to note that Arul merely denied that it was specifically distributed to BNM.

Secondly, what was reported in the article was that Malaysian investigators were allegedly accusing 1MDB of

…making a false document (a letter to BNM) and submitted to Bank ‘2’. This is to make Bank 2 believe that BNM was informed that [the] funds are to be remitted to the joint venture’s parent account.

The intention was to mislead the Banks into believing that the beneficiary of the funds transferred from 1MDB to Good Star Limited was in fact to Petrosaudi International. The article also accused 1MDB of

…possible cheating and making false documents by 1MDB against Bank Negara Malaysia” and against two other banks, one of which is believed to be 1MDB’s bank, Deutsche Bank.

Hence what was alleged was a fake letter, purportedly addressed to the BNM but never delivered, which was used to deceive 2 different banks, including Deutsche Bank.

Arul, in his protestations of innocence, never referred to the above letter “addressed” to BNM. Instead he conflated the “false bank statement” and the “fake letter addressed to BNM” to deny that he ever submitted a “false bank statement to BNM” to obfuscate the reading public.

Arul Kanda should stop attempting to twist and turn with seemingly clever evasive manoeuvres. It is no different when he attempted to silence the critics of 1MDB’s investments in Cayman Islands when he announced on 13 January that the balance of the fund had been “redeemed” in its entirety. We now know of course, that the entire redemption was a fraud as there was no cash involved and whatever paper assets there was, was merely shifted from the Caymans to the BSI Bank account in Singapore.

Arul should get straight to the point – (i) did he distribute/present false BSI Bank statements (to anyone) and (ii) was there a fake letter addressed to BNM submitted to 2 banks by 1MDB. The more he tries to dance around the topic, the deeper a hole he will be digging for himself.

Tony Pua

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