Saturday 23 July 2016

1MDB's strange reaction

Assume you are running a company.

Not some small SME, but a huge one, with tens of billions of Ringgit of assets (and unfortunately, also a huge amount of debt). The company is owned by the people of Malaysia, and you really want to perform to your best ability for them, you definitely don't want to let them down.

You are doing your best, but things have not been easy, it is tough to meet the debt obligations.

And then ..... out of nowhere, a party contacts you, to tell you that they will soon send billions of Ringgit to you.

And, to your big surprise, they do this all for free, to help the people of Malaysia.

Added to that, they will even do their best to get other parties involved to send even more money (and those parties are indeed cooperating, as we speak).

How would you react, sounds too good to be true?

Basically that is what happened this week to 1MDB, I guess Christmas came early for the company and its management team.

And what was their reaction to the announcements of the above events?

1MDB notes a press conference led by the US Attorney General today relating to a civil court action filed by the government of the United States of America.

1MDB highlights that it is not a party to the civil suit, does not have any assets in the United States of America, nor has it benefited from the various transactions described in the civil suit.

Furthermore, 1MDB has not been contacted by the US Department of Justice or any other foreign agency in relation to their investigations.

As previously stated, 1MDB will fully cooperate with any foreign lawful authority, subject to international protocols governing such matters and the advice of the relevant domestic lawful authorities.

What an incredible strange and terse reaction. Four sentences, that is it, have they even bothered to read the filing?

The document is of course only an executive summary, only 136 pages long, but even then, there is so much detail, is this the best 1MDB can offer?

And are they not happy receiving back their money, do they not want to know what has happened, do they not want to see some justice being done?

"[1MDB] .... does not have any assets in the United States of America".

No, the assets are from people who allegedly stole money from 1MDB, and bought assets in the US with the proceeds. The US wants to freeze these assets and give them back to the right full owner, 1MDB.

".... nor has it benefited from the various transactions described in the civil suit."

Nowhere it is claimed that 1MDB has benefited from the transactions, in the contrary, dozens of examples are given that 1MDB allegedly has been conned from its precious money, estimated to be about RM 12,000,000,000.00.

This blog is more about capital markets, not many listed companies are mentioned in this case, but bonds are, and unfortunately not in a very positive way.

Malaysia has the ambition to become an important financial centre. The above cases (just a selection) seem to warrant scrutiny from the relevant authorities, why have they been so quiet regarding this case, surely this is not good for the Malaysian reputation?

The nice thing about these cases is that one can observe real conversations (either by phone or through email), like this one:

And to end this posting on a slightly more positive note, some Menglish is for ever added to the archives of the FBI):


  1. Thanks - let's hope this is resolved - to create some bargain buying opportunities in Malaysia, and (hopefully) reduce the longer-term risk premium for the market...

  2. And of course, for the sake of the long-suffering Malaysian people!

  3. I read somewhere that 1mdb have to take this stance as not to jeopardise their arbitration case with aabar group. So 1mdb cannot claim the money as theirs even if US win the civil case