In a shocking development it has been learnt that investigators have traced billions of ringgit linked to the 1MDB money trail into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts.
Amongst a series of key transactions it has been identified that a total of RM42 million recently flowed from a controversial company linked to 1MDB, SRC International Sdn Bhd, into the PM’s own private accounts.
These personal accounts were held clearly under the name of “Dato’Sri Mohd Najib Bin Hj Abd Razak” at AmPrivate Banking in Kuala Lumpur.
Even more sensationally, a total of US$681,999,976 (RM2.6 billion) was separately wire transferred from the Singapore branch of the Swiss Falcon private bank owned by the Abu Dhabi fund Aabar into the Prime Minister’s private AmBank account in Kuala Lumpur, on March 2013, just in advance of the calling of the General Election.
Aabar has been connected to numerous financial transactions involving 1MDB.
The transfers from the fund’s wholly owned Falcon Bank into Najib’s AmPrivate Banking account took place just days after the signing of a so-called “strategic partnership” between Malaysia and Abu Dhabi on 12th March 2013.
This resulted in the issuing of a US$3 billion bond guaranteed by the the Malaysian Government as part of a “50 50 joint venture between 1MDB and Aabar” to develop the Tun Razak Exchange project.
However, there have been many queries since about what happened to the money; about the failure to develop the Tun Razak Exchange project and about why Aabar itself never contributed, as promised, to the so-called joint venture?
This stunning body of banking information has recently been received by a number of Malaysia’s top law enforcers, including the Attorney General.
It creates an extraordinary series of connections between 1MDB projects and the Prime Minister’s personal finances and it transforms the 1MDB investigation into a political crisis of the gravest magnitude in Malaysia.
The money taken from SRC International is a particularly shocking revelation, because this was money lent by the public pension fund KWAP and never accounted for.
SRC International Sdn Bhd was set up under the auspices of 1MDB in July 2011 and it is headed by none other than Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, a close friend of Jho Low, who was brought over to 1MDB from Sarawak’s UBG as the fund’s chief investment officer.
In 2010 Nik Kamil was the ‘link man’ between UBG, 1MDB and PetroSaudi for channelling US$260 million of 1MDB money into the purchase of UBG from Jho Low and the then Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.
He was then transferred to become CEO of 1MDB’s new subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.
SRC International courted immediate controversy in 2011 by borrowing RM4 billion from Malaysia’s public retirement fund Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP).
Over subsequent years 1MDB’s political critics have pressed the government to understand where that money went and have repeatedly complained at the lack of information provided by the company’s statements and accounts.
Most recently the Prime Minister, who had eventually taken SRC under the direct control of his own Ministry of Finance, announced in March that much of the money had been invested in a Mongolian company Gobi Coal & Energy.
However, documents now in the hands of Malaysian prosecutors, show that just the previous month (February 10th 2015) SRC International had transferred RM10 million into the account number 2112022011880 of “Dato’Sri Mohd Najib Bin Hj Abd Razak” at AmPrivate Bank in Kuala Lumpur.
Likewise, on December 26th 2014, two earlier transactions had seen the transfer of another RM27 million and RM5 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd into AmPrivate Banking account number 2112022011906, which also belongs to “Dato’Sri Mohd Najib Bin Hj Abd Razak”.
The money trail from SRC International to Najib has been clearly detailed by investigators and is also in the possession of the international financial newspaper The Wall Street Journal.
Sarawak Report has acquired copies of the documentation relating to the case, which corroborate that out of a total of RM50 million transferred from of SRC in these transactions RM42 million went straight into the Prime Minister’s own accounts.
The findings present a clear flow of money from SRC International’s AmBank Islamic account number 2112022010650 through two separate Malaysian companies into two of Najib’s own personal accounts at the AmBank Group’s private arm.
The transfers first passed from the 1MDB/ Ministry of Finance owned company, SRC International Sdn Bhd, whose Director and CEO is Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, to a second company Gandingun Mentari Sdn Bhd, of which Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil is also a Director and SRC is the major shareholder.
This account was also held at AmBank Islamic, account number 8881003806948.
Then the money was transferred on to another company Ihsan Perdana Sdn, of whom the shareholders of a share capital of RM100,000 are one Datuk Suboh Bin Mohd Yassin and again Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.
The Ihsan Perdana account number 106180001108 is lodged with another Malaysian bank, Affin Islamic Bank, of whom one of the Board members is none other than Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, who is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of 1MDB.
Two days after the first transaction initiated on Christmas Eve, the vast majority of this original RM40 million sum was passed on Boxing Day 2014, in two tranches, to two separate accounts belonging to Najib.
RM27 million went to his personal AmPrivate Banking account number 2112022011880 and RM5 million went to his personal AmPrivate Banking account number 2112022011906.
The investigation shows a second series of payments, which took place in February of this year, following the same pattern of transactions.
On this later occasion SRC International first paid out RM5 million on 5th February 2015 to the Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil controlled company Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd. Then the next day on 6th February a further RM5 million was transferred to the same account.
Each sum was immediately transferred within the same day to the same Ihsan Perdana account as before at Affin Islamic Bank.
Later, on 10th February, the entire combined sum of RM10 million was forwarded straight into one of the personal accounts at AmPrivate Banking used in the previous transactions – Account Number 2112022011906, registered in the name of “Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Hj And Razak”.
The transfer documents cite the purpose of the money as being for unspecified “CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] programmes”. Why such a programmes would ever be conducted through the private accounts of the Minister in charge of the public company out of borrowing from the state pension fund remains unclear.
A further extraordinary transaction cited in this official investigation into 1MDB will attract the particular interest of international and US regulators, not only because of its shocking size, but also because it comprises a US dollar transaction through Wells Fargo Bank in New York.
Malaysian followers of the 1MDB scandal will note that familiar names linked to 1MDB and Jho Low at the Abu Dhabi Aabar fund are closely involved.
Falcon Bank, which sent these enormous sums in March 2013, is a Swiss Private Bank, formerly called AIG Private Bank, which was bought up by IPIC (of which Aabar is a subsidiary) in 2009.
The original Chairman of the Board of Falcon Bank was none other than Khadem al Qubasi, the Aabar Chairman and IPIC CEO, who was at the heart of a series of controversial deals with 1MDB and simultaneous private ventures with Jho Low.
Al Qubaisi was sacked from all his official posts in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, following a series of exposes in Sarawak Report about his dealings with 1MDB, his extravagant and unaccountable wealth and his flamboyant behaviour in nightclubs – as well as a mysterious payment of US$20 million into his private account by the company Good Star in 2012.
Good Star was controlled by the 1MDB connected businessman Jho Low and the company was the recipient of US$1.19 billion siphoned off from the PetroSaudi joint venture, according to investigations by Sarawak Report.
Al Qubaisi was succeeded as Falcon Chairman by his CEO at Aabar, Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny.
Both these men have been closely involved in all the various deals between Aabar and 1MDB and it was Badawy Al-Husseiny who was in the post as the Chairman of Falcon when the massive transfers of hundreds of millions of dollars were made to Najib’s account in March 2013.
Indeed Al-Husseiny remains on the Falcon Board to this day and also remains in place as Chief Executive of Aabar, which is a subsidiary of IPIC, which has just controversially bailed out 1MDB by agreeing to pay its outstanding debts of US$1 billion and to indemnify its repayments on a further $3.5 billion, in return for promised “assets” that have remained unspecified on the London Stock Exchange.
Despite the promise by the Malaysian Government that it would not agree to guarantee further loans to 1MDB, the LSE announcement has made clear that the Prime Minister has indeed made just this commitment to IPIC in this published agreement.
Interestingly, it was none other than the same Mr Husseiny who, after months of speculation, finally came forward to claim that it was he who personally invested the US$100 million in the Hollywood Movie Wolf of Wall Street made by Red Granite Productions, which belongs to Najib Razak’s step-son Riza Aziz (son of Rosmah Mansor).
No one has been able to explain how a salaried official like Mr Husseiny could afford to make such a vast one off investment in the first major movie project of a son of a client.
The transfers made by Falcon Bank’s Singapore branch to Najib Razak’s personal account just days before the Prime Minister called the last election are eye-wateringly large.
On 21st March 2013 US$619,999,988 was paid out of account number 8550299001 at Singapore’s Falcon Private Bank, which is registered in the name of a BVI company named Tanore Finance Group.
This money was sent to yet another account registered in the name of “Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Hj And Razak” at AmPrivate Banking in Malaysia. The number of this account was 2112022009694.
The documentation also shows that a second payment was made four days later on 25th March 2013, via the same transaction channels, of US$60,999,988 into the same account belonging to Najib.
This account was closed, according to our information, on 30th August of that year.
During the intervening period was the GE13 election campaign, where the issue of vote buying featured heavily. It therefore seems inevitable that questions will now be asked whether the Prime Minister was using this transfer of money as a personal ‘election fund’?
Indeed UMNO candidates have confided that Najib handed them multi million personal cheques, signed by the Prime Minister himself, in order to cover election expenses.
Also at issue is whether the banks involved ever alerted regulators to the possibility of a suspicious transaction, according to money laundering regulations?
The wire transfer documents show that these multi-million dollar transfers were handled through New York by the American Wells Fargo Bank, International Branch.
The revelations will inevitably prompt calls for the regulators in Singapore, Switzerland and now the United States to examine the activities of a Swiss private bank based in Singapore through the US in paying such a sum into the private account of a politically connected individual.
Malaysia’s own regulatory authorities, on the other hand, have been presumably paralysed by the notorious and long-standing refusal of the Attorney General, Abdul Gani Paital, to ever prosecute cases involving senior member of UMNO.
Another fascinating aspect of this investigation is the revealing of the pivotal role of Jho Low’s known close side-kick Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil in the close circle of operators around Najib Razak.
A letter from Nik to the branch manager of AmIslamic Bank in Jalan Raja Chulan, KL dated 20th January 2014 reveals his management of several of the bank accounts owned by Najib, including two involved in the SRC investigation.
Nik Kamil refers to three accounts, 211202201188-0/ 211202201189-8/211202201190-6, for which he reveals he has been appointed “Authorised Personnel” with the right to deposit cash.
Because he and the account holder (Najib Razak) have schedules involving “various international trips and meetings scheduled and other potential ad hoc requirements”, he explains to the branch manager that there will be occasions where he “may not be available to provide necessary transfer and remittance instructions to the Bank”.
He therefore wished to nominate a representative to “arrange for urgent cash deposits into the accounts where required for purposes of, inter-alia, clearances of urgent cheques against my instruction”.
This revelation shows that Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil is not only the Director of the 1MDB subsidiary SRC, but also the manager of private accounts owned by Najib Razak, which have received money from that company.
This new information, related to the on-going scandal of 1MDB and already being reported internationally, is likely to send shock waves through Malaysia’s banking and political circles.
Whatever the excuses (an of course there will be attempts at plenty) such vast transfers of money into a sitting Prime Minister’s private account cannot be ignored.
Neither can the unorthodox and irregular handling of public borrowings from an old age pension fund entrusted once again to the same Prime Minister cum Finance Minister, who allowed money from SRC to also pass into his personal accounts.