Sunday, 10 April 2016

Are SC/BM not involved in 1MDB probe? (2)

I wrote before:

“There are three agencies involved, comprising the police which deal with cheating, criminal breach of trust and so on; the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) which deals with corruption; and the central bank, BNM, that deals with aspects relating to our financial system and what contravention there has been of our rules [and] regulations, and our laws."

I definitely hope that the Securities Commission and/or Bursa Malaysia are included in the probe as well. Although 1MDB is not a listed company, the following companies are or were listed on Bursa:

  • Utama Banking Group Bhd
  • Cahaya Mata Sarawak Bhd
  • Putrajaya Perdana Bhd
  • Loh & Loh Corp Bhd
  • RHB Cap Bhd

I definitely should add AmBank to that list. This bank paid a penalty of RM 53.7 Million to Bank Negara, although the exact reason for it ("non-compliance with certain regulations") is very vague (here and here).

With the shareholders of AmBank being hit by the penalty, are they not allowed to know the exact facts regarding the non-compliance? Later this year, at the AGM, they have to vote about the Board of Directors, should they not know who was responsible for this issue?

More news regarding the UBG deal has been revealed by The Australian: "Email trail links banks to Malaysian scandal", some snippets:

Together with other information compiled by police in neighbouring Singapore, they also raise concerns that the UBG takeover may have ultimately benefited 1MDB adviser and UBG director Jho Low, who is close to the family of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, at the expense of ordinary Malaysians.


While AmBank told the world, through the Malaysian stock exchange, that PSI belonged to Obaid, internal bank emails obtained by The Weekend Australian show it was told the secrecy was necessary because Saudi royals were behind the company.

“PSI, a privately held company of the Royal Family of the Kingdom Saudi Arabia, is governed by the strictest confidentiality,” Ambank officer Daniel Lee was told in a March 18, 2010 email.

“As such, it is with regret that we are not able to provide you with access to PSI’s financials.”

Adding to the secrecy shrouding the deal, the email to Lee came from an anonymous Gmail ­account “project.unicorn1@”, operated by a person or persons calling themself “Team Project Unicorn”.

Even now, five years after PSI took control of UBG and delisted it from the Malaysian exchange, the identities of the person or people operating the email account remain unknown.

Saudi Arabian documents obtained by The Weekend Australian show that when PetroSaudi was set up in 2007 it was half-owned by Obaid and half by Saudi royal Prince Turki bin Abdullah. However, there is no indication Prince Turki was ever involved in PSI.

The Weekend Australian was also unable to verify the existence and status of PSI. It’s not listed on the Seychelles publicly available company register, and yesterday the country’s Financial Services Authority had yet to respond to a request for a more detailed search.

It is sometimes hard to tell who was on whose side during Project Unicorn.

In UBG’s corner, Low sat on the board as a representative of the Abu Dhabi-Kuwait-Malaysia Investment Corporation or ADKMIC, which owned a little over half of UBG — a stake it had bought from the Taib family.

Even though ADKMIC carries a name that makes it seem a fund from the oil-rich Middle East, police in Singapore have told Malaysian authorities that Low actually sits behind the British Virgin Islands company.

However, in UBG’s 2009 annual report, Low declared he owned no shares in UBG, either directly or indirectly.


Later in the year when PSI was mopping up minority shareholders, this would be directly contradicted in a statement to Malaysia’s stock exchange, Bursa Malaysia, describing Obaid as “the sole shareholder and director or PSI Seychelles”.


On January 12, 2011, almost a year after Team Project Unicorn set out the outlines of the deal, the UBG takeover was complete. With all shareholders paid out and the company now solely owned by PSI’s Malaysian subsidiary, Javace, UBG was delisted from Bursa Malaysia and dissolved.

At 2.50 ringgit a share, ADKMIC was entitled to 658m ringgit, or about $US195m.

But who got that money? When the UBG takeover was announced at the beginning of 2010, Malaysian state-owned newsagency Bernama reported ADKMIC shareholders included “prominent Middle-Eastern investors”. But police in neighbouring Singapore tell a different story. In March last year, Singapore Police’s Commercial Affairs Department told Malaysia’s central bank that an account held in ADKMIC’s name at the Singapore branch of Swiss bank BSI was “beneficially owned by Jho Low”.

Singapore Police allege that between June 2011 and September 2013 almost $529m flowed into the ADKMIC account from an account at RBS Coutts’ Zurich branch held by another company allegedly associated with Low and embroiled in the 1MDB scandal, Good Star.

The SC should have investigated these claims by now, the above might implicate serious breaches of the listing rules.

AmBank was of course also involved with the (in)famous "donation" of RM 2.6 Billion in the accounts of the PM.

But there might be more. According to blogger "jebatmustdie", there are issues with a RM 5 Billion bond from 1MDB (the article can be found here, readers in Malaysia might need a VPN to access it):

The terms and conditions of this RM5 billion bond had been clearly spelled out and that it could only be used according to Shariah principles.

Is sending money to Good Star Ltd in compliance to Shariah principles? What does Good Star do?

Securities Commission is the controller of bond issuance process. It also ensures compliance to documents when the bond was offered as well as the continuous monitoring that the terms and conditions are always being complied with.

In it's 2015 annual report, there is no mentioning at all of 1MDB, the elephant in the room

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