Funds in Najib’s accounts an investment, not donation, says Saudi minister

 Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir told The New York Times that the RM2.6 billion deposited into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s bank accounts came from a prince and was an investment in Malaysia. – Reuters pic, February 6, 2016.

Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir (photo) does not think that the US$681 million which made its way into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s bank account was from the Saudi government or that it was a political donation, The New York Times reports today.

He was also quoted as saying the money went to an “investment in Malaysia”.

“It is a private Saudi citizen, I believe, and the funds went to an investment in Malaysia,” he said in an interview with the NYT published yesterday.

The daily also quoted a member of the royal family and a close associate of the family, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying that the money had come from a Saudi prince, but that it was not a donation.

The associate also reportedly questioned the sum, but said the funds were part of a business deal.

Last month, Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali said the US$681 million deposited into Najib’s personal accounts was a donation from the Saudi royal family given “without any consideration” and closed the case. Continue reading

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France opens probe into ‘bribery’ of Malaysia’s Najib Razak

epa05126287 (FILE) A file picture dated 21 November 2015 shows Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak delivering a speech at a forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia's attorney general cleared Prime Minister Najib Razak of any criminal wrongdoing on 26 January 2016 over the hundreds of millions of dollars in political donations in his bank accounts. Najib has been under investigation for the past six months over the 2.6 billion ringgit (673 million US dollar) found in his bank accounts, which he said were donations from the Middle East. The attorney general said that the money was a donation without strings from the Saudi royal family. Malaysian law does not limit the amount of political donations that political parties and individuals can receive from foreign donors. EPA/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

The Financial Times

Paris prosecutors have launched a formal investigation into whether Najib Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister, was paid bribes over a long-contentious $1.2bn arms deal when he was defence minister.A judge will probe whether Bernard Baiocco, former president of French defence group Thales International Asia, paid illegal kickbacks to Mr Najib via an associate of the prime minister to win a 2002 contract for two submarines, according to people close to the case.Mr Najib, Mr Baiocco and Abdul Razak Baginda, the suspected middleman, have denied wrongdoing.

The affair adds to the storm of international investigations buffeting Mr Najib from the separate scandal swirling round 1MDB, the state investment fund whose advisory board he chairs, over alleged misappropriation of money.

The French arms deal generated intrigue in Malaysia because of the 2006 murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, a young Mongolian woman who had a relationship with Mr Baginda. Civil society groups and Mr Najib’s opponents alleged a link between the killing and the submarine deal. Both Mr Najib and Mr Baginda, who was cleared of involvement in Ms Altantuya’s murder at a 2008 trial, deny there is any connection.

The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed — following a report by news agency AFP — that Mr Baiocco had been placed under formal investigation on suspicion of “bribery of foreign public officials” and “complicity in misuse of corporate assets”.

The inquiry relates to the sale of the pair of Scorpene-class attack submarines from a joint venture between Thales and fellow defence company DCN, now called DCNS. Thales and DCNS both declined to comment on the French inquiry.

French prosecutors declined to name the Malaysian officials suspected of being bribed. But three people close to the investigation — including Jean-Yves Le Borgne, Mr Baiocco’s lawyer — told the Financial Times that judicial documents named Mr Najib and Mr Baginda.

Mr Le Borgne also confirmed money had been paid by his client to Mr Baginda for lobbying work. But he said the prosecutors were attempting “judicial acrobatics” in trying to prove the cash found its way to Mr Najib or any government official.

“There was no corruption. The money paid by my client’s company to Mr Baginda was for lobbying,” he said. “They [the prosecutors] suspect the minister received some money but they have never had anything to prove that.” Continue reading

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I got €30 million, Razak Baginda says over Scorpene ‘consultation fees’

​Abdul Razak Baginda says he received €30 million for his work in seeing through the execution of the US$1.2 billion sale of Scorpene submarines to Malaysia in 2002. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 5, 2016.© PAbdul Razak Baginda. – The Malaysian Insider file pic

Abdul Razak Baginda, the political analyst acquitted of abetting in the 2006 murder of Mongolian citizen Altantuya Shaariibuu, said he received €30 million (RM137 million) as consultation fee in Malaysia’s purchase of two Scorpene submarines from France, the Financial Times (FT) reports.

“It was a legitimate agreement. I did my job and I got paid for it. And I never paid any official,” the former aide of Datuk Seri Najib Razak was quoted by FT as saying, adding that the deal’s execution spanned eight years.

Najib was defence minister at the time of the US$1.2 billion arms deal, which has been riddled with allegations of corruption and kickbacks.

Razak’s confirmation comes as French prosecutors launched a formal probe into Najib, a week after it opened a case against Bernard Baiocco, the former president of Thales International Asia, who together with another French defence firm DCNS, had sold the submarines to Malaysia.

The French investigation centres around allegations that Baiocco paid kickbacks to Najib through Razak. Continue reading

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Police fails to stop social media posts depicting Najib Razak as a ‘clown’

Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak  It first started as one satirical sketch of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak as a clown by rights activist Fahmi Reza. But a police warning to Fahmi alerting him that his social media account was now officially under police surveillance has backfired.Other pictures of Najib with clown features have been posted on social media, namely at the hashtag #kitasemuapenghasut or ‘we are all seditious’.Members of the art collective, Grupa has posted the images of the prime minister to express their solidarity with Fahmi as well as to protest the police action.

In his Twitter post on 31 January, Fahmi revealed that his Twitter account was now under the surveillance of the Police Cyber Investigation Response Centre for sharing a poster of Najib that had been painted over to make him look like a clown.

He said that he was told by the police to use his social media account more responsibly and in compliance with Malaysian laws. “But in a country that uses laws to protect the corrupt and suppress those who are courageous enough to voice their views, then it is time to stop being polite.”

© Twitter

Fahmi has said that his work is not anti-Najib but against corruption in the country. He highlighted the fact that his work had satirised politicians from all sides. Continue reading

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Show us your SPM certificate, Kit Siang tells Ahmad Bashah

Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah will be sworn in as Kedah’s new mentri besar at Istana Anak Bukit in Alor Setar today. ― File pic

Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah. ― File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 ― Lim Kit Siang today urged Kedah’s new mentri besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah to end the rigmarole over his educational qualifications by producing his SPM certificate in public.

The DAP veteran said the Kedah Umno deputy chief should also apologise for sleeping during a speech by the Agong at a palace function, as shown in a video being circulated online.

“Bashah should produce his SPM certificate before the swearing-in ceremony to end once-and-for-all the rigmarole about whether he has SRP or SPM qualification.

“This is one of the chores Bashah should clear up before he takes his oath as Mentri Besar of Kedah,” Lim wrote in a statement this morning.

“The other is for him to be honest, set a good example and openly apologise for sleeping as caught in a video during one of Tuanku’s speeches,” he added. Continue reading

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Ahmad Bashah: Umno is my ‘university’ as it educated me

ahmad-bashah_umno_600

PETALING JAYA: Kedah’s newly minted Menteri Besar Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah said Umno is his “university” as the party had educated and made him a mature person, Berita Harian reported.

In admitting he only had a secondary level education, the Umno Kedah liaison deputy chief nevertheless declared he was experienced when it came to politics and administration and was, therefore, unaffected by criticisms about his qualifications, brushing if off as the only way his detractors knew how to attack him.

“I don’t feel slighted as I know myself. I am not beating my chest and claiming I am so smart that everyone has to listen to me,” he told the Malay daily in an exclusive interview.

When asked if his academic qualifications limited his ability to administer Kedah, Ahmad Bashah argued that his experience, when married with the expertise of civil servants in the state, made for a good combination.

“There is no way I can master everything, nor will they (civil servants) know everything. We will work together to form a strong team for the state and Kedahans.” Continue reading

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Ex-law minister seeks court review of AG’s decision to clear Najib

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (pic) has filed for a court review of the AG’s decision not to press charges against Datuk Seri Najib Razak. ― File pic

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (pic) has filed for a court review of the AG’s decision not to press charges against Datuk Seri Najib Razak. ― File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 ― Datuk Zaid Ibrahim today filed a court application for a review of Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s decision not to press charges against Datuk Seri Najib Razak as well as the latter’s order on Malaysia’s graftbusters to close two cases against the prime minister.

In a press statement, the former de facto law minister said he applied for leave for judicial review from the court on grounds that the AG’s decisions in the RM2.6 billion and SRC International cases were unreasonable and constituted “improper exercise of discretion”.

Zaid claimed the AG does not enjoy “absolute discretion” as the discretion afforded him in Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution indicates his duties must be exercised with due consideration of public interest as well as with a sense of justice.

“As far as I have been advised, there is nothing known in law as the concept of ‘absolute discretion’.

“The notion of such unfettered discretion is in fact contrary to the rule of law, and it is for this reason I am compelled to act,” the former Umno man said in the statement posted on his blog. Continue reading

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