The Simple Question That Exposes 1MDB – Who Owned Good Star Limited?

PAC Chair Datuk Hasan Arifin has just further drawn attention to the smoking gun at 1MDB
PAC Chair Datuk Hasan Arifin has just further drawn attention to the smoking gun at 1MDB

What to make of the fact that the ‘cari makan’ chairman of the Public Accounts Committee secretly removed just two sentences from their agreed report on 1MDB just before publication?

Two sentences from some 150 pages of the report, illegally altered. Why?

The stupid manoeuvre has backfired, of course, which is why every effort by 1MDB and their boss Najib to put this particular genie back in the bottle has failed since Sarawak Report first unleashed the PetroSaudi papers back in February of last year.

Now everyone has focused on what small portion of that report was so crucial and dangerous that the powers behind this political place-man made him remove it?  And the answer is that it was the evidence that the company Good Star Limited belonged to a person unrelated to the joint venture between PetroSaudi and 1MDB.

This deadly confirmation, given by Bank Negara, proved to the PAC that the US$700 million, which went straight from 1MDB’s Deustche Bank account in KL to the Good Star Limited account at RBS Coutts in Zurich on 30th September 2009, was deliberately siphoned out of the joint venture, which had of course been the greedy intention all along.

Later, in 2011, a second direct payment was picked up by Bank Negara of US$330 million, again direct from 1MDB to the same Good Star Limited account.  Thanks to the PetroSaudi papers we have a complete copy of the original bank transfer and all the emails surrounding the dramatic theft of nearly a billion dollars:

The central question is who owned this bank account?
The central question is who owned this bank account?

No secret – Jho Low was the beneficial owner

This simple central issue to the whole 1MDB story was presented by Sarawak Report on day one of our coverage of this scandal.  The PetroSaudi papers made clear way back on February 28th 2015 that Jho Low owned this company and we made that point in our very first expose.

We also showed how Jho Low orchestrated every single move of the deal, willingly assisted by his accomplices at PetroSaudi, in order to obtain that outcome.

For the entire ensuing period of over one year the fugitive Low, 1MDB and all the deniers of wrong-doing have avoided addressing this simple point, as to whom did the money go?

Disguised as a loan

In order to find an excuse to get the money out of 1MDB the managers of the fund (led by CEO Shahrol Halmi, who was working to the orders of Najib and Jho Low) together with their willing co-conspirators at PetroSaudi, fabricated a ‘loan’, supposedly owed by the PetroSaudi subsidiary, 1MDB PetroSaudi (BVI), which entered the joint venture, to its parent company, PetroSaudi International Holdings Cayman Limited (Caymans) – this Cayman company was itself a subsidiary of the main company PetroSaudi International.

The idea was that 1MDB would agree to repay this ‘loan’ at the outset of the joint venture. PetroSaudi’s London lawyers came up with a nice diagram to explain the plan as late as 21st September, just days before the money was paid out.

The plan was drawn up on 21st September, just days before the whole heist was executed behind the back of 1MDB Board members
The plan was drawn up on 21st September, just days before the whole heist was executed behind the back of 1MDB Board members

As PAC members noted in their report on all this shenanigans, the loan was nonsense.

Both the company which supposedly issued the loan, PetroSaudi International Holdings Cayman Limited (Caymans) and the subsidiary company which supposedly received it, 1MDB PetroSaudi Limited (BVI), were created on the self same day of September 18th 2009.

The loan was then hastily issued by PetroSaudi’s lawyers between their brand new holding company and brand new subsidiary on 25th September less than a week before it was due to be ‘paid back’. There is no evidence that any money actually transferred… in fact, the paper companies of PetroSaudi Director Mr Obaid had no such assets in the first place with which to issue such a monster ‘loan’.

Loan issued by Tarek Obaid to himself three days before he demanded 1MDB paid it back
Loan issued by Tarek Obaid to himself three days before he demanded 1MDB paid it back – Obaid signed for both companies

By 29th of September, the day after the joint venture was signed, Tarek Obaid and PetroSaudi were issuing letters to 1MDB demanding the repayment of this ‘loan’ to be made to a mysterious bank account number at RBS Coutts, which cited no details of the name on the account.

Four days after the fictitious loan was issued Tarek was demanding it back from 1MDB
Four days after the fictitious loan was issued Tarek was demanding it back from 1MDB

However, a mass of email evidence at the time makes clear that everyone from Jho Low to Shahrol Halmi was aware that the account belonged to a Seychelles based company called Good Star Limited.  Anxious emails flashed between Zurich and KL as the bankers at Coutts strived to learn who was the beneficial owner of this company for which they were receiving such an enormous sum of money.

1MDB CEO, Shahrol Halmi, told them it was Good Star Limited of the Seychelles.

However, the name of the company was not sufficient, the Zurich bankers said in these interchanges between 29th September and 2nd October. Who personally owned it?

These emails were forwarded to Jho Low, via the PetroSaudi email server, by the company’s directors Patrick Mahony and Tarek Obaid.  Low told them via his Blackberry (see emails below) not to worry as the matter would “soon be cleared” – as indeed it was.

The matter leaves Low’s contact at Coutts Singapore, his bank manager HansPeter Brunner, in the clear firing line for questions over how this unusual deal was finally pushed through the Zurich account.  Brunner has recently resigned his job and Low’s local relationship manager Yak Yew Chee is being investigated by the Singapore authorities:

"Should be cleared soon" Jho Low told the PetroSaudi directors - see the email trail below
“Should be cleared soon” Jho Low told the PetroSaudi directors – see the email trail below

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


From: [email protected]
Date: Fri, 2 Oct 2009 12:28:01 +0000
To: <[email protected]>

Shld be cleared soon. Pls update tarek.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


From: Shahrol Halmi
Date: Fri, 2 Oct 2009 08:21:15 -0400
To: ‘[email protected]'<[email protected]>; Casey Tang<[email protected]>

Jac, please use this address for GOOD STAR LIMITED.

P.O.Box 1239, Offshore Incorporation Centre, Victoria, Mahe, Republic of Seychelles



From: Jacqueline Ho <[email protected]>
To: Casey Tang; Shahrol Halmi
Sent: Fri Oct 02 06:19:20 2009

Dear Casey and Shahrol

Please see an email request from RBS Coutts to reveal the beneficiary name pertaining to 1MDB’s remittance.

In that sense, I believe RBS needs confirmation on the beneficiary’s name in order to complete their internal risk mitigating processes as no name was

We will await your instructions on whether to reveal the beneficiary name and address (please provide) to RBS Coutts.
As requested by them, we will have to send it out via email and an authenticated swift message so would appreciate a reply as soon as possible.

Best Rgds
Jacqueline Ho
Corporate Coverage
Deutsche Bank (M) Bhd
Tel: + 603 20317798
Mob: +6012 2059561
Email: [email protected]


This e-mail may contain confidential and/or privileged information. If you
are not the intended recipient (or have received this e-mail in error)
please notify the sender immediately and destroy this e-mail. Any
unauthorized copying, disclosure or distribution of the material in this
e-mail is strictly forbidden.—– Forwarded by Jacqueline Ho/db/dbcom on 10/02/2009 05:41 PM —–


Prakash Gopi/db/dbcom

10/02/2009 04:55 PM


Jacqueline Ho/db/dbcom@DBAPAC


Jeremy Lewis/db/dbcom@DBAPAC




RBS Coutts is requesting for bene’s full details.
Can we proceed to provide the necessary information. If so, appreciate if you could provide me with the relevant details.

Warm Regards,

Prakash Gopi
Global Market Operations
Deutsche Bank (M) Bhd

—– Forwarded by Prakash Gopi/db/dbcom on 02/10/2009 04:53 PM —–


[email protected]

02/10/2009 04:38 PM


Prakash Gopi/db/dbcom@DBAPAC


[email protected], [email protected]



Dear Prakash,

Please urgently confirm the full name of the final beneficiary of the funds per e-mail and authenticated swift (see details below) in order for us to apply the funds.
We are not in a position to credit the funds without full beneficiary details (full name, address, account no.).

Kind regards,

Mr Laurent Schmid
Regulatory Risk

RBS Coutts Bank Ltd
Lerchenstrasse 18

P.O. Box

8022 Zurich, Switzerland

Tel. +41 43 245 53 52

Fax +41 43 245 54 04

[email protected]

Π Please consider the environment before printing this email


From: Humair, Eliane (RBS Coutts, CH)
Freitag, 2. Oktober 2009 10:27
Cousin, Dominik (RBS Coutts, CH); Tuerler, Thomas (RBS Coutts, CH); Schmid, Laurent (RBS Coutts, CH)


Eliane Humair
Investigations Department

RBS Coutts Bank Ltd
Stauffacherstrasse 1
P.O. Box
8022 Zürich
Telephone +41 (0)43 245 58 62
Facsimile +41 (0)43 245 57 99
[email protected]


From: Prakash Gopi [mailto:[email protected]]
Freitag, 2. Oktober 2009 10:22
Humair, Eliane (RBS Coutts, CH)
Jeremy Lewis; Krystof Balwierz

Dear Eliane,

I have received this msg from Krystof Balwierz on behalf of yourself today.

May i urgently enquire what further details you require from DEUTMYKL since our MT103 msg had indicated that the funds were to be credited to acc 11116073.

Thank you.

Warm Regards,

Prakash Gopi
Global Market Operations
Deutsche Bank (M) Bhd

—– Forwarded by Prakash Gopi/db/dbcom on 02/10/2009 04:13 PM —–

Chooi-Fong Liew/db/dbcom

02/10/2009 04:09 PM To

Krystof Balwierz/db/dbcom@DBCOM


Prakash Gopi/db/dbcom@DBAPAC



Hi Krystof

I have forwarded the email to my colleague who is handling this. You can laise directly with him direclty.

Chooi fong

—– Forwarded by Chooi-Fong Liew/db/dbcom on 10/02/2009 04:06 PM —–

Chooi-Fong Liew/db/dbcom

10/02/2009 04:01 PM To

Prakash Gopi/db/dbcom@DBAPAC




Pls help.

—– Forwarded by Chooi-Fong Liew/db/dbcom on 10/02/2009 04:01 PM —–

Chooi-Fong Liew/db/dbcom

10/02/2009 03:59 PM To

Connie Lam/db/dbcom@DBAPAC, Umadevi Maslamani/db/dbcom@DBAPAC





Pls note email below . Did you send the pymt instruction? Bene Bank unable to apply. Pls provide addl details via BKTRUS33.

Chooi fong

SWIFT Address DEUTMYKLXXX Msg. Type: SW/103 – Incoming

Name: DEUTSCHE BANK MALAYSIA BERHAD Amount: 700,000,000.00 USD






20 Trn Ref # 223475056

23B Further ID CRED

32A Amount 090930USD700000000,


56A Intermediary CHASUS33

57A Acct @ Inst. /544-7-44876


59A Bene. Cust. COUTCHZZ

70 Det. of Pymt. FOR FURTHER CREDIT TO ACCT 11116073

71A Det. of Chrg. OUR


—– Forwarded by Chooi-Fong Liew/db/dbcom on 10/02/2009 09:06 AM —–

Krystof Balwierz/db/dbcom@DBCOM

10/01/2009 11:35 PM To

[email protected]


[email protected]




Dear Chooi-Fong,

… we received from our customer COUTCHZZ mt199 asking us to forward this to
DEUTMYKL as they are unable to send to them an authenticated message… its
re a big value payment ( which was not effected via deutdeff ) and is very important for them…

pls send this messga to DEUTMYKL on behalf of COUTCHZZ… thank you!


BKTRUS33) FOR USD 700,000,000.00 VALUE 30.09.2009

Mit freundlichen Grüßen / best regards

Krystof Balwierz
GTO -European Cash & banking Operations
CI & A – FI Accounts & Services

As the record shows, the matter was soon cleared and the money paid on October 2nd.  At this point hasty emails were sent around PetroSaudi in London urging the directors to organise to send a letter to 1MDB to confirm receipt of the money and close down the matter:

From: Tarek Obaid
Sent: Monday, 05 October, 2009 9:11 PM
To: Patrick Mahony
Subject: Re: Petrosaudi – Letter confirming repayment of loan

Ok cool,

On 05/10/2009 21:09, “Patrick Mahony” <[email protected]> wrote:
T – please print and sign this. Very important, needs to be done first thing tomorrow morning. Let me know when it is done and i will ask somebody from WC to pick it up from you. Merci

From: Rimmer, James [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, 05 October, 2009 12:15 PM
To: Tarek Obaid
Cc: ————; Yong, Jonathan; Patrick Mahony; Reynolds, John; Broke, Philip
Subject: Petrosaudi – Letter confirming repayment of loan

Dear Tarek,

I am working to complete post-completion formalities for the 1MDB JV matter and would be grateful if you could kindly arrange to have the attached document put onto the letterhead of  Petrosaudi Holdings (Cayman) Limited, and then signed twice, first on behalf of Petrosaudi Holdings (Cayman) Limited and second on behalf of 1MDB Petrosaudi Limited.

If you could return a PDF copy of the letter to me and then have the original sent by courier that would be much appreciated. The letter will be used as confirmation of the repayment of the $700 million loan.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Best regards,

James Rimmer
Mergers and Acquisitions Practice
White & Case LLP

A letter was drafted and then sent, confirming that the US$700 had been paid:

But was it Mr Obaid who received the money?
But was it Mr Obaid who received the money?

With these formalities fulfilled Shahrol Halmi was in a position to tell a furious 1MDB Board that he had ‘repaid’ the loan as part of the joint venture agreement with PetroSaudi, when they met a day or so later.

As Malaysians now well know this was in total defiance of the instructions he received from the Board just days earlier, which was to wait on any payment or joint venture until proper due diligence checks had been made.

However, as Halmi told the PAC, he had ignored the Board, because it was overruled under the provisions of Section 117 of the articles of the company, which gives the final say in all matters to the Minister of Finance, Najib Razak.

Ed Morse of Citigroup made a killing out of a report that was completed in less than a week.
Ed Morse of Citigroup made a killing out of a report that was completed in less than a week.

The justification dreamed up for this flash loan and repayment, supposedly to the PetroSaudi parent company, was that PetroSaudi had injected extremely valuable assets of US$2.9 billion into the joint venture in the form of its ‘ownership’ of Argentinian oil wells and a major oil field in Turkmenistan in the Caspian Sea. The cash, it was apparently argued, would make up for the immense value of these assets provided to the joint venture.

However, Sarawak Report has long since exposed these supposed assets to have been a sham and the valuation by the top US banker Ed Morse to have been a rushed, made to order job, based solely on PetroSaudi’s own data provided to Morse.  Morse got US$100,000 for his day of rejigging PetroSaudi’s own presentation and made sure to add a disclaimer that the figures and ownerships all needed to be independently verified.

So, what of those assets that supposedly under-pinned the ‘loan’?  Email trails the very day after the joint venture deal was signed and the money received shows that PetroSaudi moved swiftly, indeed immediately, to close down a so-called ‘Farm in Agreement’ with a company called Buried Hill, which actually owned the oil field in Turkmenistan.

PetroSaudi had merely been in the process of negotiating a possible option to take part in their venture and did not own the asset at all. By the time of the deal PetroSaudi had just five working days to pull out of that option, explained its financiers at Ashmore Group, or it would indeed have had to have bought into the venture.  PetroSaudi pulled out!

Does this explain the unseemly hurry to get this deal done by the end of September 2009?

Sender: [email protected]
Subject: Re: buried hill
Recipient: [email protected]

Subject: Re: buried hill
From:”Paul Robinson” <[email protected]>
Date: 06/10/2009 08:03
To:[email protected]; Patrick Mahony

Patrick any update on termination?

—– Original Message —–
From: Paul Robinson
To: ‘Patrick Mahony’ <[email protected]>; Patrick Mahony
Sent: Thu Oct 01 18:46:04 2009

Patrick any news on BH – we have 5 business days to terminate from tomorrow. What about the lads at PDVSA – any word on that front?



So, there was no Turkmenistan asset injected into 1MDB!
So, there was no Turkmenistan asset injected into 1MDB!

Likewise, the Argentinian ‘asset’ was also largely funded by a loan from Ashmore, which was where Director Patrick Mahony was officially still working while he fixed up the PetroSaudi deal with 1MDB.

It means that PetroSaudi injected zero assets in return for their US$700 million ‘loan’, which was repaid in cash by 1MDB…. to a third party.

Clear conspiracy

It is for the above many reasons that PetroSaudi is proven to have played the part of willing conspirators with Jho Low in the removal of the US$700 million from 1MDB.

PetroSaudi lied about its assets and then immediately terminated the ‘farm in’ arrangement, which had provided a facade of involvement in the Turkmenistan oil field (which is in fact in a disputed area and yet to achieve legal status for drilling).

It is plain, as pointed out by the PAC report, that PetroSaudi also conspired to provide a front for the receipt of the US$700 million loan, when in fact it went to a person outside of the joint venture, namely Jho Low.

PetroSaudi then provided formal notification of their receipt of the money, when in fact Good Star Limited belonged to Jho Low.

In return, Tarek Obaid was paid US$85 million by Jho Low from Good Star Limited itself on the very day of the receipt of the US$700 million.  He also received on the same day a further US$20 million payment from another Jho Low company in Singapore, Acme Time.  Shortly after Tarek sent US$33 million of that on to his colleague Patrick Mahony.

Seet Li Lin

The formal letter which accompanied the above payment to Obaid from Good Star Limited detailed it as a “broker fee” to the Saudi businessman “in respect of raising funds from the Middle East to invest in Malaysia”.  Nothing could have been further from the truth, since no money went from the Middle East to Malaysia – on the other hand it leaves no doubt as to which deal is being referred to in this payment.

Pay out number 1 from Jho Low's Good Star itself
Pay out number 1 from Jho Low’s Good Star itself

Also on 30th September Jho Low arranged another US$20 million payment to Tarek through another of his Singapore companies Acme Time, which was arranged by one of his key fixers Eric Tan.

Total of over US$100 million dollars to Tarek on the day the deal went through
Total of over US$100 million dollars to Tarek on the day the deal went through

On top of these inducements the shareholders of PetroSaudi also received a vast cash injection into their company of US$300 million, enabling it to develop into a serious player in the oil business for the first time. PetroSaudi rapidly became involved in a lucrative venture in Venezuela thanks to its ability to now invest in oil fields in the region.

Sarawak Report believes that this criminal series of inducements (which were not authorised by the 1MDB board) were what persuaded PetroSaudi to fulfil its agreed role to “act as a front” for Jho Low.

Hence the crucial question over the real ownership of Good Star Limited.

If all the allegations against 1MDB had been false then these could have been disproved on day one by those concerned with the simple production of the official documents of Good Star Limited from the Seychelles company registry.  Likewise, the documents from Coutts showing the beneficial ownership of the Good Star Limited account at the times concerned.

If the owners had been PetroSaudi, as alleged, then the entire allegation of theft could have been simply swept away.

A year later that has not happened.  PetroSaudi has hidden behind lawyers and refused to answer the simple question over the ownership.

Dodging the question – PetroSaudi President Rick Haythornthwaite:

From: Rick Haythornthwaite <[email protected]>
Date: Thu, Dec 10, 2015 at 10:43 AM
Subject: Re: Letter sent by PetroSaudi claiming ownership of Good Star Limited, Seychelles
To: Sarawak Report <[email protected]>

Dear Mrs Rewcastle

Having now done some research into your background, it is clear that you are an active campaigning blogger rather than an objective journalist with a desire to understand the true facts behind this matter. That your email to me contains fundamental factual errors – not least suggesting that I am, or have ever been, chairman of PetroSaudi International – reinforces my concerns about your credibility.

Therefore, even if I were to be in possession of information relevant to your query, I would be unwilling to assist you in your questionable activities.

The PAC report complains also that persistent questioning of 1MDB failed to produce any documents or proof as to the ownership of Good Star Limited. The company merely offered to provide a ‘letter of assurance’ from PetroSaudi itself written in 2015, which the PAC dismissed as laughable in terms of evidence.

In fact, as long ago as our original February 28th article, Sarawak Report had established that the signatory and Chief Investment Officer for Good Star Limited in its documents dealing with both Tarek Obaid and Patrick Mahony was Jho Low’s deputy Seet Li Lin

Seet was the signatory on an agreement with Mahony also dated 29th September 2009
Seet was the signatory on an agreement with Mahony also dated 29th September 2009

When Sarawak Report rang the above telephone number it was answered by Seet Li Lin.

Later information obtained by Sarawak Report from the Seychelles company directory has confirmed that Jho Low was indeed the sole beneficial shareholder of the now liquidated company.

And this was confirmed to the PAC, according to its original report, by none other than Bank Negara when questioned.  The bank officials told the MPs that Good Star Limited had been confirmed as belonging to a party who had nothing to do with the PetroSaudi 1MDB joint venture i.e. neither PetroSaudi nor 1MDB.

“Datuk Hasan Arifin tried to defend his unilateral decision [to chop out two sentences of the report] by claiming that the statement “is unclear or being investigated”, hence “is something prejudicial”.

The PAC Chairman should inform the Parliament and all concerned, what exactly is so unclear about Bank Negara’s findings that “the ultimate beneficiary of Good Star Limited is an individual unrelated to the Petrosaudi International Ltd”? [Tony Pua, PAC committee member]

It was this highly damaging key central issue that Najib clearly needed to be removed from the report and he therefore directed his personally appointed new Chairman of the Committee to break the rules and take out those two crucial lines relating to the admission by Bank Negara that Good Star Limited did not belong to PetroSaudi.

It means the money was indeed stolen by the agent of Najib, Jho Low…. unless, after a year of ducking and diving, PetroSaudi and 1MDB are able to provide genuine documentation that show otherwise?


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