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Billion Dollar Whale

Started by Taman Tun, June 07, 2020, 02:55:10 PM

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Taman Tun

I have been reading quite a lot of books whilst staying at home and one of the better ones has been "Billion Dollar Whale" by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope.  It is the story of Jho Low and the corruption surrounding the Malaysian government investment fund 1MDB.  Jho extracted billions of dollars from the fund.  Some of this was fed back to the Prime Minister Najib which he used to maintain support for the ruling UMNO party.  Jho spent his share of the billions far and wide on gambling, exotic parties, grand houses, private jets and yachts.  Eventually the good times came to an end and Jho is thought to be in hiding in China.  Apparently he comes to Bangkok occasionally.  He seems to be an extremely generous character, so if I happen to see him in the street I will ask him to loan me a couple of million USD.  The book is available in Asia Books, The Mall.
If the old only could, if the young only knew.


this seems to be gathering some interest as books go - The Room Where it Happened

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Taman Tun

Trump's views on Bolton:- The president himself has called his former top adviser on security matters "incompetent" and a "boring old fool".
If the old only could, if the young only knew.


Quote from: Taman Tun on June 21, 2020, 08:59:06 AM
Trump's views on Bolton:- The president himself has called his former top adviser on security matters "incompetent" and a "boring old fool".
the coronavirus around the world has certainly brought to the surface what some world leaders are realy like, how they deal with things in a situation as such. not only yours truly tweetmouth, amongst others, look at the UK or Brazil. how did these people get to lead a country.

give me Thailand every time, they might chop n change, but they've kept us safe, (just stay of the roads) although some other expats think different, reading around the forums. everyone is entitled to their opinion, some just don't think first.  :wai
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Taman Tun

This is story from today's Times.  So the Malaysians have been able to get some of their money back.

Goldman Sachs has reached a $3.9 billion settlement with Malaysia over fraud related to one of Asia's biggest financial scandals.

The American investment bank will pay $2.5 billion in cash to Malaysia and will return at least $1.4 billion from the sale of assets linked to the 1MDB investment fund.

The settlement, which was revealed yesterday, draws to a close part of a long-running investigation into Goldman that has tarnished the bank's reputation. It remains under investigation in the United States over the matter.

About $4.5 billion is estimated to have been stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, known as 1MDB, which was a sovereign wealth fund set up under Najib Razak, the former prime minister, as a vehicle for Malaysia's economic development. The theft has implicated Mr Najib, 67, and Goldman staff.

The money is thought to have been used to buy artwork, including paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet, luxury properties in New York and London and to fund The Wolf of Wall Street, the film.

At the centre of the scandal was Jho Low, a Malaysian financier accused by US officials of creating a fraud that was "kleptocracy at its worst". Kuala Lumpur has filed criminal charges against Mr Low, 38, who denies wrongdoing and whose whereabouts are not known.

Goldman helped 1MDB to raise $6.5 billion in two bond offerings in 2012 and 2013, earning itself about $600 million in fees. Much of that money was ultimately stolen.

The settlement resolves charges against Goldman in Malaysia, but the bank is subject to an investigation by the US Department of Justice, which is thought to be studying potential violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The law makes it illegal to pay foreign government officials to secure their help in obtaining or keeping business. There has been speculation that Goldman may pay about $2 billion to settle the US investigation.

Goldman said that the settlement with the Malaysian authorities was "an important step towards putting the 1MDB matter behind us . . . There are important lessons to be learnt from this situation and we must be self-critical to ensure that we only improve."

Malaysian prosecutors filed charges in December 2018 against three of the bank's divisions — Goldman Sachs International, based in London, Goldman Sachs Asia and Goldman Sachs Singapore — alleging that it misled investors. Last year criminal charges were added against 17 present and former directors of Goldman subsidiaries, accusing them of misleading 1MDB bond investors.

The bank has denied wrongdoing, saying that members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to it about how proceeds from the bond sales would be used. Tim Leissner, 48, a former senior partner at Goldman who led the deals, has pleaded guilty to American charges of money laundering and bribery.

"We are confident that we are securing more money from Goldman Sachs compared to previous attempts [to reach a settlement]," Tengku Zafrul Aziz, the Malaysian finance minister, said yesterday.

Mr Najib faces his first verdict of multiple charges over 1MDB on Tuesday.
If the old only could, if the young only knew.

Taman Tun

Najib always comes across as someone's favourite uncle with his silver hair and perfect English.  I think he is just the front man for some very unpleasant people in UMNO.  Also, his wife, Rosmah, is a piece of work.  Anyway, today he has been found guilty.

This from Bangkok Post:-

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's ex-leader Najib Razak was found guilty on Tuesday in his first trial over the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal, two years after the fraud contributed to the downfall of his long-ruling government.

The former prime minister could now face decades in jail after being convicted on all charges in the case related to the looting of sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Billions of dollars were stolen from the investment vehicle and spent on everything from high-end real estate to pricey art, while investment bank Goldman Sachs also became embroiled in the scandal.

Anger at the looting played a large part in the shock loss of Najib's long-ruling coalition in elections in 2018, and he was arrested and hit with dozens of charges following his defeat.

The verdict was a test of Malaysia's rule of law. It comes about five months after Najib's scandal-plagued party returned to power as part of a coalition, a development observers had feared could affect the outcome of the case.

About 16 months after it began, the Kuala Lumpur High Court delivered the verdict in Najib's first trial, which centred on the transfer of 42 million ringgit (US$9.9 million) from a former 1MDB unit, SRC International, into his accounts.

Najib had vehemently denied wrongdoing.

But Judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Ghazali took apart all the arguments put forward by his defence, and found him guilty on the seven charges he faced.

"In conclusion, after considering all the evidence in this trial, I find the prosecution has successfully proven the case," the judge told the court.

The charges were one of abuse of power, three of criminal breach of trust and three of money-laundering.

The counts of abuse of power and criminal breach of trust are punishable by up to 20 years in jail each, while the money-laundering charges are punishable by up to 15 years each.

Sentencing was not handed down straight away. The 67-year-old will likely appeal and he may not be sent to jail immediately. If his conviction is upheld, he will also be barred from political office for several years.

Najib had insisted he was ignorant of the transactions.

The defence team portrayed Najib as a victim and instead sought to paint financier Low Taek Jho, a key figure in the scandal who has been charged in the US and Malaysia, as the mastermind.

Low, whose whereabouts are unknown, maintains his innocence.

Prosecutors insisted Najib was in control of the 1MDB unit, SRC International.

The return of Najib's party to power as part of a coalition in March followed the collapse of Mahathir Mohamad's reformist administration.

Since then, 1MDB-linked charges were unexpectedly dropped against the ex-leader's stepson Riza Aziz, a producer of Hollywood movie "The Wolf of Wall Street", in exchange for him agreeing to return assets to Malaysia.

Prosecutors also dropped dozens of charges against Najib ally Musa Aman, the former leader of Sabah state.

The amounts involved in Najib's first case are small compared to those in his second and most significant trial, which centres on allegations he illicitly obtained more than US$500 million.

Malaysia had charged Goldman Sachs and some current and former staff, claiming large amounts were stolen when the bank arranged bond issues for 1MDB.

But the two sides agreed to a US$3.9 billion settlement last week in exchange for charges being dropped.

If the old only could, if the young only knew.

Taman Tun

This from the Guardian.  No prominent Thai mentioned as far as I can see.

1MDB scandal: former Trump fundraiser charged with allegedly lobbying US to drop inquiry

Elliott Broidy allegedly asked the US president to play golf with now disgraced Malaysian PM Najib Razak as part of effort to end investigation

After being recruited by Low, Broidy personally asked Trump to invite Razak to play golf during the Malaysian leader's September 2017 visit to the United States, the indictment said.

The goal was to give Razak a chance "to attempt to resolve the 1MDB matter" with the US leader, the document said.

The golf game never happened, and Low was indicted in 2018 for his role in siphoning off billions from 1MDB.

In addition, in May 2017 Low introduced Broidy to a Chinese state minister, and they discussed Beijing's desire that Washington deport an exiled Chinese tycoon, the indictment said.

It did not name either person, but the tycoon is known to be Guo Wengui, a prominent dissident businessman.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Chinese official was Sun Lijun, at the time Beijing's powerful vice minister of public security.

The indictment describes Broidy's intense lobbying of the White House, the Justice Department and law enforcement on behalf of the Chinese, including contacts with but not direct discussions with Trump.

The object of the lobbying conspiracy, the indictment said, was "to make millions of dollars by leveraging Broidy's access to and perceived influence with the president and his administration."

The indictment came just weeks after a key partner of Low and Broidy, Hawaii businesswoman Nickie Mali Lum Davis, pleaded guilty to a charge of illegal lobbying both on the 1MDB case and the Guo case.

Guo remains in the United States, where he has continued to campaign against Beijing authorities, working closely with another longtime Trump associate, Steve Bannon.

Bannon was arrested in August while aboard Guo's yacht off the coast of Connecticut and charged with defrauding donors to a Mexican border wall project.

Razak lost power in 2018 and was found guilty in July 2020 of fraud relating to 1MDB in the first of five trials he faces over the matter.
If the old only could, if the young only knew.

Taman Tun

This from the Times.  Goldman Sucks already agreed to pay $3.9 billion to the Malaysian government, so this latest US government $2.8 billion fine makes a total of $6.7 billion.

Goldman Sachs is to draw a line under a long-running bribery scandal in Malaysia by admitting wrongdoing and paying $2.8 billion to the US government, it was reported yesterday.

The Wall Street bank will repay $600 million of gains and pay a fine of $2.2 billion to avoid US charges in the 1MDB affair, one of the largest financial scandals the world has seen, according to The Wall Street Journal.

1MDB was set up in 2009 to pursue investment and development projects for the economic benefit of Malaysia. However, between then and 2014, about $4.5 billion was allegedly embezzled from the sovereign wealth fund.

Goldman underwrote $6.5 billion of bonds issued by 1MDB during the time of the alleged fraud, earning about $600 million in fees, American prosecutors said in 2018.

The justice department alleged that two former Goldman bankers and another conspirator laundered the proceeds of their crimes through the US financial system by spending millions of dollars on art, buying property in New York and investing in Hollywood films including The Wolf of Wall Street.

Goldman's subsidiary in Asia is expected to admit criminal charges but the parent company will not, thereby sidestepping a potential US guilty plea that could have hampered its business. Goldman will be able to offset some of the $2.8 billion penalty with fines already paid elsewhere in connection with the scandal, it is understood.

At the end of September, Goldman had $3.2 billion set aside to cover the cost of legal and regulatory matters.

Goldman shares rose by 1.2 per cent, or $2.53, to close at $208.03 in New York last night. Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Last month Malaysia dropped criminal charges against three Goldman Sachs units after the bank agreed to pay $3.9 billion to settle the investigation.

In July, Najib Razak, the former prime minister of Malaysia, who set up 1MDB, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined nearly $50 million after a Malaysian court found him guilty of abuse of power in connection with the development fund. He pleaded not guilty and denied wrongdoing.

If the old only could, if the young only knew.

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