The devastating testimony given yesterday by ex-Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner in a New York courtroom has finally sunk the tissue of lies employed by Najib and his co-conspirators over 1MDB and nailed what was sadly obvious about this affair.
Given the evidence it is now undeniable that the theft of billions from Malaysia’s development fund involved complicity at the highest levels both in that country and in Abu Dhabi whose sovereign fund, IPIC, and its privately owned Falcon Bank were crucial players in the theft. These are the damning excerpts from the Reuters report on the trial:
Leissner said that at a meeting in London in 2012, Low listed individuals in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi that he said would need to be bribed for a plan to raise $1.75 billion in debt for 1MDB to win approval. An Abu Dhabi-based company was acting as a guarantor for 1MDB on the deal, Leissner said.
That list included Najib Razak, Malaysia’s then-prime minister, and Sheikh Mansour, deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, who Low said “wouldn’t get out of bed for anything less than $100 million,” according to Leissner’s testimony.
Who seriously ever concluded otherwise?
For years now Najib has of course taken advantage of Jho Low’s fugitive status to claim that it was Low alone who orchestrated the entire theft and conned his innocent and gullible boss (Najib) into first borrowing billions for no discernible purpose; into then refusing to acknowledge that most of the money had disappeared and into finally accepting billions of the missing money into his private account on the grounds that the Saudi King had donated it as a gift.
Najib failed to thank the King for his billion dollar present (otherwise he would have discovered the lie). He then went on to spend a huge chunk of that money on his re-election campaign and on lavish family spending fronted by Jho Low.
Obviously, none of the above is true and Leissner was one of the people in the room at the time Jho Low laid down the terms with Goldman Sachs, which was that if the bank wanted to make its record $600,000 million profit on raising bogus bonds for Najib Razak’s re-election war chest then certain politically connected actors needed paying off.
It is time for international attention to now focus more specifically on the man best known (thanks to the world of ‘sportswash’) as the owner of Manchester City Football Club, Sheikh Mansour. One famous Supermodel became notorious thanks to the adage that she “wouldn’t get out of bed” for less than $10,000 (ten thousand) for a photo-shoot: according to Leissner Low explained that in the case of the petted younger brother of the ruler of the Emirates that figure is $100,000,000 (a hundred million)!
In the event, as Sarawak Report exclusively revealed way back in 2016, the sum that went to the Abu Dhabi bosses through an account set up in Luxembourg by Mansour’s key side-kick, the now jailed Khadem Al Qubaisi (KAQ), was no less than half a billion dollars.
The service performed by the royal billionaire in return for this tempting morsel was to push the stolen bond money through IPIC’s own Falcon Bank (now folded) and enable the lending of billions to the virtual shell that was 1MDB through ‘guarantees’ from IPIC itself. The same ‘guarantees’ later became an important ingredient in the ensuing cover-ups, which the by now heavily implicated Emirate government again played a very large role in facilitating.
Unless, as we were all supposed alternatively to believe that the actual lone wolf criminal was Khadem Al Qubaisi, who pulled the wool over his boss’s eyes in the exact same way as Jho allegedly did to Najib, gulling him all the way as the money poured in?
Certainly, the moment the proverbial mess hit the fan following the Sarawak Report exposes, it was the unfortunate Mr Qubaisi who found himself rounded up and driven into jail in Abu Dhabi where he remains, silenced.
It all goes towards the truism that, when it comes to greed and money, too much is never enough, especially when it is confused with power and the protection of that power.
As Sarawak Report also revealed, huge monthly sums were paid from the Luxembourg bank account managed by KAQ to a luxury yacht manufacturer Oceanus Maritime which was later revealed by the US Department of Justice as amounting to a total payment of $160 million towards the purchase of Mansour’s new super yacht Topaz (then the fifth largest in the world). All paid for out of money stolen from 1MDB.
Other 1MDB cash can be traced to the Hakkasan nightclub empire started in Las Vegas by KAQ whose private company Tasameen Real Estate Partners allegedly owned the business. Following KAQ’s downfall it was the IPIC subsidiary that had been involved in 1MDB, Aabar, which moved in quietly to take over the ownership, before folding the venture.
But why take it just from Sarawak Report, the FBI and now the bankers being prosecuted for their complicity in the scam of the century, when we can hear all the corroboration we need about this high level heist from Najib’s own mouth recorded speaking to the Crown Prince MBZ himself?
Who can forget that secret service recording of the phone call made by the desperate former Malaysian prime minister to MBZ back in July 2016 as the FBI were closing in on his stepson Riza Aziz’s ‘borrowings’ from the stolen money (later released by the Harapan head of the MACC)?
The naked blackmail message from prime minister to crown prince can be easily understood and was clearly taken as such back when Najib was still in government and using all the powers available to him to cover the whole thing up. Take note of the recorded words from Najib to MBZ still available to hear:
“Najib: Good, family is well here. Of course, we are experiencing a bit of dark cloud as a result of yesterday’s announcement by the Department of Justice.
That’s why Your Highness, it is important for us to resolve this impasse with respect to 1MDB and IPIC as soon as possible, so that we put closure as soon as possible, because it is embarrassing to both countries, embarrassing Malaysia, embarrassing UAE as well, and personalities who are close to you… This is very urgent, actually, if we don’t resolve this, the matter could escalate, you know……
Mohammed: I think it is very important that somebody meets you. (Inaudible) is fine with you and fine with us, I think we should go for it. I don’t want to push this anymore, it is in our interest, Mr Prime Minister, to solve it.
Najib: Yes, it is our mutual interest, Your Highness. So you don’t think I should fly over? Do you think people will know about it?
Mohammed: I think… will know about it, yes.
Najib: I see. Uhh… mmm, mmm, mmm. But we really need to resolve this.
Resolve it we know they did. Abu Dhabi moved in to help cover up 1MDB’s debts and pay off its immediate creditors but only on punishing terms that forced Najib to go about stealing a whole lot more of Malaysia’s public money through a series of bogus pipe-line deals and inflated rail line contracts all with Chinese state companies.
All of these appalling crimes have been unveiled by Sarawak Report who led on all stages of the story, including the use of members of the ruling family of Kuwait, who are now also implicated in the thefts of billions from Malaysia!
In his depressing testimony Leissner emphasised just how a toxic international system operates between such characters who represent some of the richest rulers in the world in despotic states and the most powerful financial institutions of the western democratic world. It was imperative on all Goldman Sachs bankers, explained Leissner to win every available deal in countries such as these and that the only way to do so was to pay the bribes.
The truth is clear, proven and unvarnished in this respect whether or not this relatively junior member of the bank, Roger Ng (the Malaysia investment head) is personally found guilty or not.
Yet, Najib Razak is boldly making his play in Malaysia to return triumphant as prime minister on a sea of lies and fraudulent elections once more and the rulers of the Gulf continue to believe they can act with impunity thanks to the oil beneath their feet.