After months of dithering and of playing hot and cold over his Federal BN masters, the Chief Minister has finally announced that the Sarawak state election will be held at the end of the month – almost the last legally available date.
Adenan did so after a strong show of support for Najib, thereby dismissing the widespread concerns about corruption nationally as well as locally. Nothing has been done to end the Taib family’s control of the economy during Adenan’s period in office, nor the grip of the crony timber and plantation companies.
So, the CM has definitively nailed PBB’s colours to BN’s mast, just as the ship looks ready to sink – it signals a choppy campaign.
Within hours of that development, yet more confirmation of the 1MDB corruption scandal started pouring out from international law enforcers.
Amidst a welter of new detail on Najib’s SRC funded credit card spending, Sarawak Report disclosed that the United States has landed an extradition request against the ex-Aabar CEO, Mohamed Al Husseiny, in Abu Dhabi. It marks the first international arrest over 1MDB.
Then Reuters published a devastating new statement by the Luxembourg State Prosecutor, confirming that the state has joined the US, UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore in launching a judicial inquiry into money it says was misappropriated from 1MDB and processed through their jurisdiction.
Sarawak Report can decode the messages in that statement, which there is little doubt refers to money laundering already reported in this blog, namely the half billion dollars which passed through an account owned by the former Aabar Chairman, Khadem Al Qubaisi at the Luxembourg branch of Edmond de Rothschild, Banque Privee (BPERE):
The detail in the statement above makes it clear that the Luxembourg authorities are referring to five payments, which Sarawak Report has earlier reported were made into Al Qubaisi’s Vasco Trust account at Edmond de Rothschild Banque Privee (BPERE) in 2012/3, by two BVI companies Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners Limited and Good Star Limited.
Sarawak Report has revealed that both these companies (now closed) were owned by Jho Low, whose deputy Seet Li Lin was been registered as the signatory for both.
We have also revealed that it was Good Star Limited, which received much of the money from 1MDB (US$1,03 billion), siphoned out of the early PetroSaudi deals.
And further reported that Blackstone Asia Real Eastate Partners Limited separately paid US$170 million into Najib’s own personal accounts between 2011-12, an allegation corroborated by ABC Australia’s Four Corners programme earlier this week.
The Luxembourg prosecutor’s statement also makes clear where the authorities suspect this money arriving in Khadem’s accounts at BPERE originated from, in that it refers to its suspicion that “sums paid upon the issuance of two bonds in May and October 2012″ were misappropriated from off-shore accounts held by the Malaysian government .
The only likely reference is to the two power purchase deals conducted by 1MDB in 2012, which raised US$1.75 billion for the purchase Tanjung Energy in May 2012, followed by another US$1.75 billion for Energy Langat in October 2012.
Both these deals, which were drawn up by Goldman Sachs, are now known to have leaked huge sums of money, thanks to a complicated arrangement involving a ‘co-guarantee’ from the Abu Dhabi Aabar fund, of which Al Qubaisi was Chairman.
1MDB agreed to pay a total of US$2.4 billion for the guarantees on the two bonds, plus for the termination of various options allowed on the deal to Aabar.
However, those payments never arrived at the actual IPIC subsidiary.
Instead, investigations by the Wall Street Journal have established that much of the money went to a similarly named, but privately owned BVI company called Aabar PJS Limited, which Sarawak Report has learnt was incorporated by Khadem Al Qubaisi and his side-kick, Mohamed Al Husseiny – the man now detained in Abu Dhabi.
Given its statement, Luxembourg has clearly concluded that some of this money was later transferred into Khadem’s BPERE accounts from Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners.
So, it appears international regulators now believe that the money trail went from Goldman Sachs to Aabar PJS Limited, then to Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners Limited and finally on to Khadem Al Qubaisi’s personal VASCO Trust account at BPERE.
This is what the Luxembourg statement implies and the dates certainly match.
After all, the Tanjung Energy bond was raised 11th May 2012 and the first whopping US$158 million dollar payment (see above) pitched up in the BPERE account from Blackstone on 29th May 2012. There was another payment in August again from Blackstone.
The 1MDB Energy Langat bond was later raised in October and the next payments were subsequent to that – one from Blackstone to Khadem on 31st October, one in December.
A final US$20 million came in early in 2013 from Good Star, another Jho Low concern,
The daily further revelations about these 1MDB money trails mean that the difficulty of the questions facing Najib is escalating by the hour.
This is not least because the companies caught paying money into Khadem’s BPERE accounts, which the regulators are now publicly linking to 1MDB, have also been paying money into Najib’s accounts. Namely Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners, which has been cited in a letter from a mysterious Saudi Prince and also an account in the name of Prince Faisal bin Turkey bin Bandar Alsaud:
Yesterday Putrajaya issued a self-crucifying statement, in which it welcomed the publication by ABC Four Corners of a supposed letter from the unidentified ‘prince’, claiming it was a vindication of Najib’s claims that he had received money from a royal Saudi donor.
In that letter the ‘prince’ said that some of his future ‘donations’ would come from what he called his company, Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners Limited. Transfer documents seen by Four Corners further confirm the payments.
This means that the Prime Minister’s Office have now officially acknowledged, on behalf of Najib, that he did receive payments from Blackstone – a company which is now the subject of money-laundering investigations by the Luxembourg authorities, specifically on the suspicion that it was handling money misappropriated from 1MDB.