It seems that the Malaysian government is not keen to get the 1MDB linked time-sensitive exculpatory evidences to clear the former premier’s name
What has been propagated as the world’s largest financial scandal in this century involving Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund One Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial has started in New York.
Former Goldman Sachs’ head of investment banking in Malaysia, Roger Ng was charged in Brooklyn federal court with conspiring to launder money and to violate an anti-bribery law.
According to Reuters, Brent Wible, a lawyer with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said Ng helped two co-conspirators, his former boss Timothy Leissner and Malaysian intermediary Jho Taek Low (Jho Low) to launder funds embezzled from 1MDB.
Ng is also accused of using some of the stolen money to bribe officials in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries to win business for Goldman.
“The defendant saw an opportunity to make millions of dollars by cheating, and he went for it.
“Ng received US$35 million in kickbacks from Leissner,” Wible said.
Leissner, a former partner for Goldman Sachs in Asia, in 2018 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money, and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), in part by helping to pay US$1.6 billion in bribes. He is expected to testify as a government witness against Ng.
Wible said Leissner, who has not yet been sentenced, would testify against Ng as part of a cooperation agreement with prosecutors and as a result would get a lighter punishment. But Wible said Leissner’s testimony would be backed up by other evidence, Reuters reported.
Ng has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer Marc Agnifilo said he is a “fall guy” for one of the biggest financial scandals in Wall Street history.
Ng’s defence lawyer countered that he had no role in the scheme perpetrated by Jho Low and Leissner and that he even warned Goldman management not to trust Jho Low. He said the funds’ prosecutors called kickbacks belonged to Ng’s wife and were derived from a business venture she had with Leissner’s ex-wife.
Agnifilo focused his opening statement on undermining Leissner, who is expected to testify for the government.
“They’re not partners-in-crime. There’s a gulf between these two men a mile wide,” he said. “Leissner uses people. You will see this time and time again. He is trying to use my client … to serve his jail time.”
The trial could last up to six weeks.
As the trial begins, can we finally see the release of the time-sensitive exculpatory evidence that can clear Najib’s name in 1MDB as well as the actual names of the govt and 1MDB officials bribed by them?
The answer is “yes” if the Malaysian government wishes to give Najib a fair trial.
The World’s Attention Is Focused On This 1MDB Trial, Except For Malaysia
The entire world is focusing on this trial, but the Malaysian government is not keen on going after the actual perpetrators including government officials in Malaysia who were bribed by Goldman Sachs.
Leissner admitted this himself in 2018. In fact, Goldman Sachs had also reached an agreement with the Malaysian government and paid RM16.6 billion.
The details of the settlement agreement have been suppressed by the Malaysian government.
Ng’s defence lawyer Agnifilo on 12 March 2021 wrote to the US District Court (Eastern District) of New York his client (Ng) and Goldman Sachs own exculpatory evidence that can clear Najib’s name.
Agnifilo said this is time-sensitive evidence that he is ethically obliged to provide Najib, but the US government has barred him from disclosing it.
Najib initially won in the US Court to compel Goldman Sachs to release this information but the DoJ then applied for a stay order at the eleventh hour to prevent Najib and his lawyers to receive this evidence.
Surprisingly, the Malaysian government and the local courts do not seem to care about those who are alleged to have been bribed by Goldman Sachs.
Even the leaders from Pakatan Harapan (PH) who used 1MDB as the bullet to overthrow Najib’s Barisan Nasional (BN) government during the 14th general election (GE14) seems not to care about it.
As a last resort after being denied this crucial information, on 27 October 2021, Najib lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and urged the anti-graft agency to extradite Leissner.
Najib wanted Leissner to be produced in Malaysian court to divulge the identities of Malaysians that the former banker had allegedly bribed or documents revealing their names, and for appropriate legal action to be taken against them thereafter.
MACC Hot In Pursuit Of Goldman Sachs Bribery List
It was widely reported that MACC’s chief commissioner Azam Baki was hot on the pursuit for the list and some local media quoted unnamed sources from the agency revealing most of the prosecution witnesses in Najib’s 1MDB trials were on the list.
To make matters worse, character assassination was launched on Azam Baki to put public pressure on him to oust him from office.
A source familiar with this investigation also revealed that Azam Baki was “real close” in obtaining these documents that can open up cans of worms.
Najib’s defence team also applied to apex the court to get Azam to testify but failed.
Only Najib Taken To Task When He Was Just The Chaiman Of 1MDB’s Advisory Board
In May 2021, during the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration under former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, 1MDB along with 1MDB Energy (Langat) Ltd, Global Diversified Investment Company Ltd (formerly 1MDB Global Investments Ltd), 1MDB Energy Holdings Ltd and 1MDB Energy Ltd filed a US$8 billion (RM 36 billion) lawsuit against Najib and 14 former office bearers of these companies.
But in August of the same year, seven of these defendants had their charges dropped by 1MDB and its subsidiaries, without any explanation.
Strangely, most of the defendants whose charges were dropped testified against Najib and this raises eyebrows.
The rest of the defendants are mostly untraceable.
This leads to only Najib who was just the chairman for 1MBD’s advisory board being taken to task on the US$8 billion lawsuits by Messrs Rosli Dahlan Saravana and Partners engaged by 1MDB who is closely associated with Muhyiddin.
The same law firm manage to secure an ex parte Mareva injunction against Najib over the US$681 million (RM2.85 billion) they were seeking to reclaim from him.
It is rather strange that the government is going after only Najib and no others when they knew the former does not have the US$681mil in assets nor cash.
It seems like a lot of government resources are wasted just to tarnish and kill the political carrier of a man named Najib Razak. – New Malaysia Herald