Singapore issues more bans related to 1MDB scandal

Source: Free Malaysia Today

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s central bank on Tuesday said it had permanently barred Yeo Jiawei, a former wealth manager of Swiss bank BSI involved in breaches related to Malaysia’s 1MDB fund, from managing financial services firms and advisory activities.

In July, a Singapore court jailed Yeo for four and half years for money laundering and cheating in a case linked to investigations into the siphoning of billions of dollars from Malaysian sovereign fund 1MDB. Read more

Singapore starts first trial in 1MDB money-laundering scandal

Source: Borneo Post Online

2dd59cdba2fc323806e54f736afdb6c36a6286a4SINGAPORE: A former private banker went on trial in Singapore yesterday in the first prosecution of suspects linked to a massive international money-laundering scandal centred on Malaysian state fund 1MDB.

State prosecutors described the sums involved as ‘staggering’. They said Singaporean Yeo Jiawei, 33, an ex-wealth manager at Swiss bank BSI, was ‘one of the main Singapore-based suspects’ in the scandal, which is also being investigated by Switzerland and the United States.

Allegations that billions of dollars were misappropriated from 1MDB have triggered a scandal in neighbouring Malaysia. Singapore, a regional financial hub, last year launched a probe into alleged illicit fund flows linked to 1MDB and closed down the local branches of two Swiss banks – BSI and Falcon Private Bank – involved in the scheme. Read more

Malaysia’s Leader, Dogged by a Billion-Dollar Scandal, Proves Untouchable

Source: The New York Times

Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia in 2013. Over the years, he has been accused of having ties to a murder, taking kickbacks and helping concoct a criminal prosecution against a political rival. Credit Lai Seng Sin/Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The conspirators were confident. They planned to confront Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak, at a cabinet meeting and demand his resignation. Prosecutors had collected evidence that Mr. Najib had deposited millions of dollars of public money into his personal bank account. Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail was ready to file criminal charges, according to Najib advisers and opposition leaders.

Mr. Najib had a reputation as a gentleman who was slow to act and never fired anyone. But when word of the plot reached him last July, he moved quickly. He dismissed both Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, the man who would have taken his job, and the attorney general. And he blocked further inquiries into the allegations against him.

“They took it for granted that he was a sitting duck,” said Tony Pua, an opposition member of Parliament. “He turned the tables on them.”

Throughout Mr. Najib’s 40 years in public office, he has been easy to underestimate.

This month, the Justice Department filed a civil complaint in a money-laundering case outlining how Mr. Najib, identified as “Malaysian Official 1,” received $731 million from a government fund he oversaw. Investigators around the world are tracking the money trail to his bank accounts in what has become a billion-dollar scandal.

Protesters demanding the resignation of Mr. Najib in Kuala Lumpur, the capital, last August. Still, Mr. Najib faces no realistic challenge to his authority and is likely to win re-election in 2018. Credit Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

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Justice Dept. Rejects Account of How Malaysia’s Leader Acquired Millions

Source: New York Times

Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. A spokesman said he had not changed his position that the hundreds of millions in his personal accounts came from an unidentified Saudi donor, not a government investment fund that he oversaw. Credit Mohd Rasfan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

BANGKOK — A United States Justice Department complaint filed in federal court this week directly contradicts repeated assertions by the Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, about the origins and purpose of hundreds of millions of dollars that ended up in his personal bank accounts.

While Mr. Najib and other Malaysian officials have insisted that the money was a gift from an unidentified Saudi donor, the Justice Department said that it was stolen from a Malaysian government investment fund that Mr. Najib oversaw. Mr. Najib has said he never received any money from the fund.

The court filing, one of several complaints filed Wednesday in a federal money-laundering investigation, provides the first official public documentation of transactions that challenge Mr. Najib’s version of events in a scandal that has battered his government for the past year.

The revelations could undermine his credibility and give new ammunition to a movement to force him from office. However, he maintains firm control over his governing party and has successfully stifled opposition with the firing of critics from party posts, the closing of online news outlets and the criminal prosecution of social media detractors and political opponents.

Mr. Najib, who has acknowledged receiving the money but said he broke no laws and took nothing for personal gain, told reporters on Thursday that his government would “fully cooperate” with the Justice Department action. Read more