Sunday, September 13, 2015

Najib's US$ 681 million donation -UMNO, Najib may have brought themselves under US jurisdiction

by Ganesh Sahathevan
The continued insistence by Malaysia's PM Najib Razak and the ruling UMNO that a sum of  
US$ 681 million transferred to Najib's accounts in Malaysia via Wells Fargo Bank in New York was a donation to ensure UMNO remains in power may well have brought Najib and UMNO under the jurisdiction of US laws on campaign and political funding.

The problem for Najib and UMNO is the admission by none other than themselves that the funds were for a party political purpose:
Malaysia's Tourism Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz on Tuesday (Aug 11) defended Prime Minister Najib Razak, suggesting that "a brotherly nation" which wanted to see "certain parties win in the general elections" was behind the RM2.6 billion deposited into Mr Najib's personal accounts in 2013.
"Whatever donation was given to us was from a friendly nation, not a nation that is much stronger than us like the US," he told reporters on Tuesday. "But this is a brotherly nation who wants to see certain parties win in the general election because we're friendly to them - there's nothing wrong."

The United States' federal and state  laws with regards political contributions  are wide ranging ,and include issues such as tax deductions, limits, and contributions by foreign nationals. Consequently, the definition of what constitutes a political donation or contribution is not always limited,and can be defined broadly to include any payment  anywhere in the world so long as it falls within the definition of a political contribution. 
The problem for UMNO and Najib is the admission , in fact insistence, that the US$ 681 million transferred to Najib's accounts in Malaysia via Wells Fargo Bank in New York was a donation to ensure UMNO remains in power . In doing so they are probably the first foreign political party to have admitted receiving and/or managing their funding in and via the United States, thus bringing themselves under the jurisdiction of US laws, including laws requiring disclosure of donors, amounts, purpose and whole range of other matters they have refused to reveal. The contributor/s of the funds may also have to provide details, of for example, the source of their generous contribution. 
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