2.9 BILLION – paid to senior gov’t officials
Goldman Sachs Charged in Foreign #Bribery Case and Agrees to Pay Over $2…. https://youtu.be/D_7N94LgJ_s via @YouTube
Malaysian fugitive and ex-Fugees rapper indicted for funneling foreign money to back Obama
A fugitive Malaysian financier accused of stealing billions and a New York rapper were indicted Friday for allegedly funneling foreign money to President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and a pro-Obama super PAC through straw donors.
Jho Low, a financier at the center of the 1MDB scandal, allegedly transferred roughly $21 million to Pras Michel — a musician, producer and original member of the Fugees — who prosecutors say funneled more than $1 million to a pro-Obama super PAC. Prosecutors also allege that Low and Michel also gave roughly $865,000 to Obama’s joint fundraising committee through 20 straw donors.
The super PAC in question is Black Men Vote, a mysterious group that shelled out $842,760 in independent expenditures to support Obama in 2012. The group aired radio ads attacking Obama’s Republican opponent Mitt Romney, including one ad that was labeled “misleading” for taking Romney’s comments out of context.
More than 90 percent of Black Men Vote’s $1.33 million war chest came from money funneled through a limited-liability company called SPM Holdings LLC and Michel’s personal contributions, with him allegedly acting as a “straw donor,” according to the indictment. The only other donor to the group was Virginia philanthropist Earl Stafford, who is credited with a $100,000 contribution.
Beneficiaries of the foreign money also included the Obama Victory Fund, Obama’s joint-fundraising committee with the Democratic Party.
Republican FEC commissioners in 2016 blocked an effort by their Democratic counterparts to open an investigation into Michel for violating the ban on straw contributions. In their reasoning, the Republican commissioners wrote, “our colleagues’ approach would render the constitutional rights of closely held corporations to engage in independent political speech functionally meaningless.”
Michel tried and failed to get Low into multiple fundraising events for Obama. His efforts were not entirely fruitless, however, as Michel was able to secure a spot for Low’s father at a private fundraiser despite the invitation including a disclaimer on the “prohibition on foreign and conduit contributions.”
“To gain further access to and influence” according to the indictment, Low and his associates did ultimately attend events at the White House with Obama — visits brought into question after it was revealed Low funneled millions of dollars to the businessman who arranged them.
Michel recruited several straw donors to give to Obama’s committee. At one point a potential straw donor “expressed her concerns about the legality of the arrangement,” and told him she would not donate the money, to which Michel responded “Okay.”
Charges in the indictment range from campaign finance violations and false statements to the FEC to falsifying tax records.
Low’s money again came into play during the 2016 election. But this time, Donald Trump was the beneficiary.
Federal prosecutors are currently investigating whether more than $1.5 million in suspicious money transfers traced back to Low were funneled to the Trump campaign’s joint fundraising committee.
Low is no stranger to legal trouble. He allegedly used Malaysia’s 1MDB fund as a personal slush fund, blowing through millions of dollars partying with celebrities and financing blockbuster movies. His whereabouts are currently unknown, but he has built up an army of foreign agents meant to bolster his image in the U.S.
#GoldmanSachs – #rapper – Fugees – to be charged in Campaign #FRAUD scheme involving Malaysia https://txlady706.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/goldman-sachs-rapper-fugees-to-be-charged-in-campaign-fraud-scheme-involving-malaysia/ via @txlady7061
Chilly ties with China seen hindering Mahathir’s hunt for Jho Low
KUALA LUMPUR/HONG KONG — The scandal surrounding Malaysia’s state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad has now focused on finding the man alleged to be its mastermind, Low Taek Jho.
The ethnic Chinese-Malaysian financier, also known as Jho Low, is wanted by Malaysia and several other countries. He is believed to be hiding in China, but strained relations between the administration of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Beijing may complicate efforts to return the businessman home.
As a key witness and suspect in the corruption cases involving 1MDB, it is likely that Malaysian authorities will step up their hunt for Low. “I would handcuff him,” the prime minister said in August when asked what he would do if Low was brought before him. But this appears to be a long way off.
Mahathir suggested recently that the 36-year-old Low may be hiding in China, and has managed to evade capture due to efforts within his own government to sabotage the hunt. But even if Low is found in China, Malaysia does not have an extradition treaty with the country.
Noting this, Mahathir in September said he was resorting to “private efforts” to bring the fugitive back.
The situation may be further muddled after Malaysia freed 11 ethnic Uighur Muslims who had been detained by the Najib regime and sent them to Turkey, despite requests from China to hand them over. China has been criticized for infringing the human rights of ethnic Uighur people, a charge that Beijing denies.
If Malaysia’s move ends up straining ties with China, some see the chance of catching Low may dim.
In August, Malaysian authorities charged Low and his father Hock Peng in absentia with money laundering, later asking the International Criminal Police Organization to help track him down.
The defense for Najib, who is facing over 30 charges related to $4.5 billion missing from 1MDB, has asked for Low to come forward as a witness. Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, was also questioned regarding the scandal and subsequently indicted on 17 counts of money laundering and tax evasion.
“I would love to cross examine [Low],” said Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, lead counsel for Najib. “There are a lot of [relevant] documents but you don’t have people who can give meaning and context to them.”
Low, who graduated in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, was an adviser to Terengganu Investment Authority, later renamed as 1MDB when Najib took power in 2009. The then-28-year-old Low came to Najib’s attention because of his connections to the Saudi government. Under the prime minister’s watch, 1MDB invested in overseas energy sectors.
Again – we school those who are our enemies. Why are American Universities continuing to do this? To allow foreign countries to come in and steal our intellectual properties
“It was in this context that Jho Low represented the Middle East partners and their dealings and partnership with 1MDB,” said Najib in an interview with a news outlet in June.
However, investigators including the U.S. Department of Justice allege that the so-called partnership was a scam to divert funds from 1MDB.
Low laundered more than $400 million of the funds misappropriated from 1MDB in the U.S. for his personal use, according to the DOJ’s civil forfeiture suit in 2016. Some of the money is believed to have been used to fund the Hollywood blockbuster “Wolf of Wall Street” and purchase the Claude Monet painting “Saint-George Majeur.” In August, Indonesia agreed to hand over to Malaysia a luxury yacht belonging to Low.Jho Low’s signature on a document in July shows his activity in Hong Kong entity.
Low never held a formal position in 1MDB and has proclaimed his innocence, asking the general public via a recently created website to “keep an open mind until all of the evidence comes to light.” A spokesperson for Low said he has no additional comment other than the innocence plead.
However, it appears that he continues to run his business in Hong Kong through investment company Jynwel Capital, created in 2010. A document from the city’s Companies Registry shows that on July 9, Low appointed KV Pro Services as his company secretary.
It is unclear whether Low was in the city at the time of the appointment, as his physical presence was not required to make the change.
KV, which has replaced Baker & McKenzie in handling correspondence for Low’s company, told Nikkei that Low did not show up for the document signing. Instead, the signed document was delivered by an employee of Low in Hong Kong.
KV said they were unaware of Low’s whereabouts. On June 26, Low Taek Szen, Low’s older brother as well as a director at Jynwel Capital, filed a request to change the company name to Quinton Investments. Hong Kong-based Jynwel Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit group run by Low, was also renamed as the Quantima Charitable Foundation. No reason was given for the name changes and both websites are currently under maintenance.
The downing of MH370 was intentional –
MH370 Didn’t Just Disappear, It Was Caught in a Swamp of Corruption
From the beginning, the crash investigation fell victim to a regime in Malaysia now revealed to have been one of the most corrupt in the world. There are other scandals, too.
Clive IrvingUpdated Jun. 01, 2018 11:45PM ET / Published Jun. 01, 2018 10:41PM ET
It seemed that they did not want to quit. Even as the end of the search for the remains of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was announced the crew of the ship conducting the search continued to scour the deep ocean floor in one last sweep.
But it’s over now. Any hope of finding the remains of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 any time soon—or maybe ever—has died. The Texas-based deep-sea search company Ocean Infinity has pulled the plug on its self-funded search in the Indian Ocean after three months.
This means that the world’s most advanced deep-sea search technology has been defeated by the same challenges that ended the previous 27-month search. It also means that the fate of the 239 souls on board the Boeing 777 that disappeared on March 8, 2014, remains part of the most baffling mystery in modern aviation history.
But this is so much more than a mystery. It is a calamity that indicts the organizations charged with setting the safety standards for international air travel for their failure to anticipate and remove a long-evident weakness in regulations.
And, equally seriously, it highlights the problem that air crash investigations can be seriously compromised by the political culture of the nations under whose jurisdictions they fall. In the case of MH370, that has exposed a singularly egregious example.
The Hermes Birkin handbag is one of those accessories that a woman carries casually while aware that it sends an identifying message: I am filthy rich. Or I have a close friend who is.
The bag is named for Jane Birkin, who, as a winsome, somewhat androgynous actress and singer became an icon of Swinging London in the 1960s.
The bag dates from the early 1980s, when the CEO of Hermes on a flight from Paris to London saw Birkin spill the contents of a straw bag while attempting to stow it in an overhead bin. He offered to create something more elegant specially for her—and, presto!—there emerged an instant classic of conspicuous consumption. Depending on which kind of animal skin it is fashioned from, a Birkin bag can cost up to $300,000.
That price is no obstacle to women who really want it now.
Take, for example, Rosmah Mansor, the wife of Najib Razak, the erstwhile prime minister of Malaysia.
Her husband’s annual salary was, officially, a modest $70,000. But in Malaysia, if you were the wife of any high government official, if you wanted something badly enough you could, apparently, be gratified with the help of a little looting of the public funds.
The true scale of the looting was disclosed only when Razak’s party was voted out of office early in May after more than 60 years in power. They were replaced by a coalition government led by 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad who promised to clean up what appears to have been one of the world’s most avid kleptocracies.
At the heart of the corruption was a sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, at least $4.5 billion was diverted and laundered from the fund. Around $680 million is alleged to have ended up in Razak’s personal bank account.
Searches ordered by the new government of properties used by Razak and his family discovered 284 boxes of designer handbags, including Birkins, 72 bags stuffed with cash, watches, and jewelry—including a 22-carat pink diamond necklace valued at $27.3 million belonging to his wife.
These mind-boggling details bring their own chilling perspective to the way the Malaysians met their largest single responsibility to the outside world during more than four years of being in charge of investigating the disappearance of MH370.
Forty percent of government spending under Razak was—according to his opponents—lost to corruption, and the effort to cover the enormous debts of the looted fund means that the new government will impose an austerity regime. The new Malaysian government has also made it clear that it is not prepared to fund or devote any resources to new searches for MH370.
But here is an unpalatable illustration of the equation involved and its ethical message: Three nations, Malaysia, China, and Australia funded the first unsuccessful search which is estimated to have cost $180 million. Of that, Malaysia contributed $100 million, Australia $60 million, and China $20 million.
For Malaysia that works out at just over $400,000 per passenger lost, or little more than the cost of a Birkin bag.
From the beginning, in March 2014, the Razak government displayed a combination of incompetence and a natural instinct to avoid public scrutiny. Suddenly faced with a tragedy that gripped the whole world’s attention, ministers showed little grasp of what had happened and even fled from press briefings when their lack of grip was exposed.
Within a week the government selected the easiest targets to blame for the tragedy, the pilots. They staged a deliberately public raid on the home of the pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah. Soon after they suggested that Captain Shah had used a flight simulator on his home computer to rehearse a plan to hijack his own airplane.
Some of the people ordering this search and promoting the theory have now had their own homes publicly searched in the course of the corruption investigation.
A year later the government had to admit that it had found no evidence or motive for either of the pilots to have planned a mass murder-suicide.
Under a regime like this it was not surprising that the country has come nowhere near to meeting its obligations under international treaties to make the investigation into MH370 publicly transparent. Officially, the investigation is led by Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation, always headed by government appointees. In an administration that incorporated patronage, cronyism, and the intimidation of opponents as a matter of course there was no semblance of transparency.
Nor was there any chance that the Malaysian media would take a deep dive into how the investigation was being handled. The main newspapers and news channels were either owned or controlled by friends of the ruling party. Websites critical of the government were accused of publishing “offensive” content and to silence them Razik, picking up his tone from the Trump White House, introduced the so-called Anti-Fake News Act. Fifteen of his political opponents were charged with sedition. Repressive police powers were enabled by a new “anti-terror” law.
The international agreement covering air accident reports states: “The sole objective shall be the prevention of accidents, it is not the purpose of this activity to apportion blame or liability.”
But as the campaign against the pilots indicated, assigning personal blame to people who could never answer was the government’s first instinct and the role of the government ministry has offered no protection from overt political interference.
There were also indications that the airline’s observance of international regulations was lax. A year before the flight vanished, the company auditors at Malaysian Airlines discovered that the airline was not compliant with its own rules governing the airplane’s on-board system for automatically sending bursts of data reporting its vital systems to managers at its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. The auditors pointed out that because of this, by law, MH370 should not have been cleared to fly. The Malaysian transport minister knew of the audit but never admitted to it.
Technically the investigation team includes representatives from America’s National Transportation Safety Board, the U.K.’s Air Accident Investigation Branch, China’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Department, the Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses of France, and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. But apart from a bare-bones “factual report” issued on the first anniversary of the disaster nothing remotely resembling a normal air investigation report, which would include regular updates, has ever emerged.