Thursday, August 15, 2019

Malaysia's 1MDB prosecutors seem shy, afraid of working with their US counterparts-Why?

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Arul Kanda Kandasamy, former head of defunctn state investment fund 1MDB, leaves Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018.
Arul Kanda Kandasamy, former head of defunctn state investment fund 1MDB, 
leaves Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. 
 Malaysia has charged Goldman Sachs and seems to be going it alone without the DOJ

Reports this week about the US Department Of Justice's investigation into Goldman Sachs' part in the 1MDB theft reveal a disturbing lack of  cooperation from Malaysian prosecutors who are also pursuing Goldmans.

the following was revealed:

Throughout 2012 and 2013, the defendant TIM LEISSNER conspired with others, including Co-Conspirator #1 and Co-Conspirator #2, to obtain and retain business from lMDB for the benefit of U.S. Financial Institution #1 through the promise and payment of bribes and kickbacks to government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi using, in pati, misappropriated and embezzled proceeds from lMDB bond transactions. During this time, through the course of the scheme, LEISSNER, together with Co-Conspirator #1, Co-Conspirator #2 and others, paid millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to government officials, and obtained lMDB business for U.S. Financial Institution #1, in patiicular, three bond offering transactions underwritten by U.S. Financial Institution #1 for lMDB referred to as "Project Magnolia," "Project Maximus" and "Project Catalyze." 

Given the finding that Leissner and his co-conspirators  paid millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to (Malaysian) government officials, why are not Malaysian prosecutors working together with their DOJ counterparts? Given the Malaysian investigations into former PM Najib Razak over the  past five years and especially in the past year and a half since the change in government much has been learnt which would have helped the DOJ case.

Additionally, given the extensive DOJ investigations the Malaysian evidence is likely to have been strengthened. 

This reticence by Malaysian prosecutors to work with the DOJ has been evident throughout the SRC trial where none of the very extensive DOJ data was ever mentioned.

Meanwhile, it does appear as if the rest of the world led by the DOJ is pursuing the 1MDB matter with greater vigour and skill than Malaysia.

This week Bloomberg  reported:

Andrea Vella was Goldman Sachs’s top dealmaker in Hong Kong. He had a nose for splashy trades, a fondness for the Bentley Continental, and a vague enough resemblance to George Clooney that there was even a joke among some bankers: “What would George do?”
That was almost a year ago. Then U.S. prosecutors dragged him into one of the biggest Wall Street scandals in a generation. Without charging him, they filed court documents tying Vella to the conspiracy that looted billions of dollars from the Malaysian investment fund known as 1MDB. The bank promptly put him on leave.
Now as the U.S. weighs how to handle Goldman Sachs, Vella is the mystery man to watch. If someone so powerful is found to have helped fuel the fiasco, it will be much harder for the bank to contain it by pinning blame on a rogue partner, Tim Leissner.
During confidential talks, the bank has been at odds with prosecutors over their description of Vella’s role in key moments of the 1MDB deals, according to people familiar with the discussions. Authorities have said that he dealt with the scandal’s alleged mastermind, Jho Low, and was aware of plans to bribe officials -- a narrative Goldman has been disputing.
There’s another reason Vella’s involvement strikes a nerve. He helped structure 1MDB’s fundraising, and after money went missing played a central role in Goldman’s initial review of what went wrong, one of the people said. When U.S. prosecutors in Brooklyn described his involvement in court filings last year, without naming him, it alarmed some members of Goldman’s board, who worried the claims might further taint the firm’s senior leadership, two people said.
Malaysian prosecutors who have charged 17 Goldman executives with 1MDB related crimes in Malaysia have not charged Vella despite his central role.


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