Sunday, July 31, 2016

A second international money laundering scam designed to cover up the first will cement Malaysia’s notoriety as the kleptocratic capital of the world

The Sarawak Report has exposed an alleged plan to double the price tag of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) to RM60 billion.  The “extra” RM30 billion is meant to be channelled to a nominated Chinese company to pay off 1MDB’s bad debts channelled via behind the scenes company.

The massively inflated alleged cost of the ECRL to be awarded to China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) lends credence to the Sarawak Report documents which detailed how the “excess” was to bailout the debt-stricken 1MDB.

The nominated company by CCCC will then pay 1MDB the sum of US$850 million (RM3.4bn) for the purposes of repayment for International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) advances, and assume the debt of 1MDB subsidiaries amounting to US$4.78 billion (RM19.4bn) inclusive of interest which had been guaranteed by IPIC.

These payments are clearly meant to go towards the settlement with IPIC which has taken 1MDB to the London arbitration court for the amount of US$6.5 billion.

I have since demanded that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak confirm or deny the alleged plan.  However, the Prime Minister has remained conspicuously silent on the exposé.  His silence on the matter will no doubt leave Malaysians believing another bailout is underway.  However, this is no ordinary bailout.

When the Parliament approved a special bill to allocate RM6 billion for Khazanah Nasional to rescue Malaysian Airlines System, that was a bailout. When the Ministry of Finance approved a RM4.5 billion soft loan for the Port Klang Free Zone, that was a bailout.

However, in this case, the Najib administration will be attempting a secret bailout of 1MDB via fraud and deceit.  If true, the Prime Minister will be engineering another multi-billion-dollar international money laundering exercise to cover up the first one by 1MDB.

Has Najib not learnt his lesson with the first 1MDB money-laundering scam?  The purportedly “legal” transactions such as “investment” in an ostensibly legal joint venture like “1MDB-Petrosaudi International Limited” did not in any way legitimise the attempts to siphon money for unrelated purposes.

Hence similarly, a purportedly “legal” ECRL contract does not in any way legitimise the attempt to siphon money out for the purposes of covering up another crime.

Furthermore, as the second “cover up” bailout will once again involve international cross-border transactions, any bank carrying out the multi-billion-dollar money-laundering exercise for them will be risking their reputation and survival.

After all, the previous banks who have facilitated the 1MDB money-laundering scam are now all in hot soup – including UBS Bank, DBS Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.  143-year-old Swiss bank, BSI not only found itself investigated by the Switzerland authorities but had its operating license terminated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.  Even Goldman Sachs who assisted 1MDB in raising US$6.5 billion of bonds is being probed.

Finally, if CCCC were to accept the fraudulently inflated contract to carry out the money laundering on behalf of the Najib administration, then the US$24 billion company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange will itself be party to the money-laundering scam and subjecting itself to prosecution in jurisdictions around the world.

Malaysia does not need another money-laundering scandal investigated by authorities all around the world to further sully our rapidly diminishing reputation while making Malaysia the kleptocratic capital of the world.  The Cabinet must put a stop to this RM60 billion ECRL contract immediately so that the long-suffering Malaysian people will not be scammed again for multi-billion dollars to cover up another scam.

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