Show me the money
July 21, 2016 2:41 AM   Subscribe

U.S. Targets $1 Billion in Assets in Malaysian Embezzlement Case After a few years of investigations (and it's not the only country investigating), the USA Department of Justice announced that it will be seeking to seize more than US$1 billion worth of assets 'bought with money stolen from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund by people close to that country’s embattled prime minister, Najib Razak' (perhaps the unnamed 'Malaysian Official 1', as according to US Attorney-General Loretta Lynch - recording; press release). The route of the money being laundered can be traced all the way to Hollywood, in a little movie you may have heard of.

Naturally, the producer involved in this case has denied such wrongdoings.

Over the years, steady reporting on this issue by indie press such as The Sarawak Report has resulted in such moves like the whole of being blocked from being accessed from within the country. Though the foreign press such as WSJ and NYT and their coverage (for example) remains accessible.
posted by cendawanita (21 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

At least they've provided us with the language one may employ (NSFW) in reaction to this.
posted by adept256 at 3:07 AM on July 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

I had to click through to confirm that was satire about the lawsuit, the headlines have been so crazy.

Somewhere there is a perfect punchline about stuffing a mattress full of money to be made.....
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 3:12 AM on July 21, 2016

I'm glad to hear that so many important people are not being accused of wrongdoing!
posted by Omnomnom at 3:24 AM on July 21, 2016

The best part of the scandal and by best I mean most ridiculous has always been jho low the biggest whale in NYC club world.

party whale
posted by JPD at 6:15 AM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am petrified that the Malaysian government will be petty enough to cut all diplomatic ties with the US over this. No more travel ever, no more visas. Urggghhhh. The Immigration Department is already telling "political people" to check in with them if they want to fly in & out of the country to make sure they haven't been blocked - yes, because I totally want to flag myself, surrrreeee.

"Commentary" about the findings from one of the major Malaysian news dailies, which I am wholly convinced is verbatim from the Home Ministry (another journo friend has told me about how they field angry phonecalls on the regular from them if they don't publish a statement 100% right).
posted by divabat at 6:54 AM on July 21, 2016 [5 favorites]

That 1MDB looks so much like IMDB, which in this case may be appropriate.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:08 AM on July 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

I know the whole country is essentially a giant gerrymander, but seriously what is it going to take to kick these bastards to the curb in am election? They are the worst.
posted by smoke at 3:03 PM on July 21, 2016

smoke: I wish. Problem is, their opposition isn't any better.
posted by divabat at 5:17 PM on July 21, 2016

- Will the real Malaysian Official 1 please stand up? - a collection of memes and socmedia reactions. and If you're wondering about that clown face Najib, meet Fahmi Reza, the artist who sparked the viral graffiti, and has been charged in court over it.

It's Day 2 and there is still barely any coverage in the local newspapers, so I'm left to depend on the BBC, I guess. I wish I could understand exactly what the DOJ is expecting to achieve, as well as precedents with other countries that they might have done? As it is, Malaysia is the 2nd largest trading partner the US has in ASEAN, as well as 19th largest overall, and Malaysian establishment has always been quite pragmatic (much like Singapore) in the face of international political censure, so I'm not too worried on the impact on trade and diplomacy. That it's come this far has come as a shock, because USA did a lot to keep Malaysia in its official good graces (like promoting us back to Tier 2 of the US State Dept's Human Trafficking Index), because like Turkey, we're meant to stand for the model of a moderate Muslim country, not to mention we've been rather good to them in the TPPA negotations as well.

Ah well, I guess I'll just enjoy the memes and the mulitilingual punning. (The Malaysian word for curry and the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative's acronym are spelled the same, but there's also a Malaysia-specific pun in the word kari itself because 'kali' is the word for 'time/turn' and 'Ini Kalilah!' (This is the Time!) was an opposition slogan, so people have been rejoinding with 'ini KARI-lah!' (This is KARI!))
posted by cendawanita at 7:35 PM on July 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

Red Granite Pictures Acquire Movie Rights To Own Lawsuit

But more seriously, a post from Riza Aziz's sister.
posted by cendawanita at 10:01 PM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

cendawanita: yeah I wonder where the seized money will go. The US already has a terrible record of misusing civil forfeiture money (as investigated by John Oliver - oh man I hope he does a segment about this)
posted by divabat at 12:00 AM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yea, and I'm feeling out of my depth because I can't quite trust any of the cross chatter.
posted by cendawanita at 1:06 AM on July 22, 2016

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Finally in Danger? (note: Asia Sentinel is also IP-blocked from within the country)
posted by cendawanita at 9:46 PM on July 22, 2016

Follow the Money: 'The Wolf of Wall Street' Corruption Timeline - How the meeting of two well connected Malaysian teenagers in the U.K. ignited an international money-laundering scandal that swept into Hollywood, sucked in its hottest star and led to the biggest Department of Justice asset seizure in history.

i am entertained at finding coverage in such disparate sections of journalism. This is from The Hollywood Reporter.
posted by cendawanita at 9:56 PM on July 22, 2016

The Guardian long read- 1MDB: The inside story of the world’s biggest financial scandal.
A not unfamiliar names here: The US justice department breaks the alleged theft down into three distinct phases: the first $1bn defrauded under the “pretence of investing in a joint venture between 1MDB and PetroSaudi”; another $1.4bn, raised by Goldman Sachs in a bond issue, misappropriated and fraudulently diverted to a Swiss offshore company; and $1.3bn, also from money Goldman Sachs raised on the market, which was diverted to a Singapore account.
Emails and bank records seen by the Guardian suggest that in the nine months from September 2010, Obaid transferred $77m from his Swiss JP Morgan account to his PetroSaudi co-founder, Prince Turki bin Abdullah. According to the US authorities, banking records show that in the spring of 2011, Prince Turki also received $24m from the Good Star account controlled by Low – and that “within days”, $20m from these funds was transferred to an account belonging to the Malaysian prime minister, Najib.
posted by adamvasco at 4:09 PM on July 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

US subpoenas Goldman Sachs
posted by adamvasco at 12:47 PM on July 30, 2016

Hard power prevails in Southeast Asia:
What this tells us is that we cannot take for granted the trajectory of political development in the region. The concentration of power and the protection of narrow elite interests remains a prevailing consideration of government, no matter how they were elected.

Of course, this is precisely the reason legions of voters in Europe and the U.S. have become disillusioned and are rejecting established parties and their leaders. The challenge for the people of Southeast Asia is that it is hard to register their concerns: freedom of expression and popular sovereignty remain bridled and constrained.

Although social media widely broadcasts calls for change and accountability, these demands mostly fall like spent bullets on the tough armor that strong, overly centralized states have adapted to modern democratic norms.

posted by cendawanita at 10:17 AM on August 1, 2016

Bersih 5 is On: The fifth installment of the electoral reform group’s street protests is being organised to press for action on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case after the US government filed a lawsuit over assets linked to the state investment firm.

welp, time for me to get all my affairs in order.
posted by cendawanita at 5:58 AM on August 3, 2016

« Older The Olympian and the Terrorist   |   Tesla - Master Plan, Part Deux Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments