Tomorrow Najib goes on trial for his role on what has been called the 1MDB saga. 1MDB was an investment vehicle set up in 2009 when the newly installed Najib and his cronies set up 1Malaysian Development Berhad allegedly to attract foreign investment in to the country.
Instead over the next five years, billions of dollars were either embezzled out of the country or laundered through subsidiary companies by those who ran it.
It is alleged about a quarter of the stolen funds ended up in Najib’s personal bank account, funding lavish credit card spending sprees by him and his wife, Rosmah Mansour. Even more extravagant was the spending by financier Jho Low, a friend of Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz, who was an informal consultant on 1MDB. He allegedly siphoned billions from the fund, using it to buy vast amounts of prime Manhattan real estate, $8.1m worth of jewellery and a glass piano for Australian model Miranda Kerr, a Picasso painting and Oscar statuette for Leonardo Di Caprio, superyachts, and to throw ostentatious parties attended by the likes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Foxx. He even bankrolled Hollywood movie The Wolf of Wall Street.
It was a British journalist who first exposed the scandal on her website in 2015. She was quickly arrested. After the Attorney General had instigated an investigation, Najib fired him and all his officers involved in the 1MDB Inquiry. A new Inquiry set up by Najib unsurprisingly cleared Najib of all wrong-doing!
The Americans also took an initiative when it was discovered that Goldman Sachs was involved in the scandal. As a result, Goldmans is now facing its first ever criminal charges. These relate to a bond issue for 1MDB. The Singapore Monetary Authority has closed two Swiss banks and gave heavy fines to two of its largest banks - UBS and DBS.
Najib's wife has incurred the wrath of most Malaysia's and is now a pariah-like figure. During raids on the Najib home police seized a cache of luxury goods - including 1,400 necklaces, 567 designer handbags, 423 watches, 2,200 rings, 1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras - the biggest seizure of its kind in Malaysian history.
Naturally Najib proclaims his innocence, even though many hundreds of millions of US$ were found in his personal account. The next few weeks are going to be interesting!
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/ ... g-billions