Whistleblower site Sarawak Report has claimed that Nawaf Obaid, the managing director of the Saudi National Security Assessment Project, had tried to link former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to terrorism.
The report claimed Nawaf had taken the initiative at the request of his brother Tarek Obaid, the chief executive officer of PetroSaudi – who in turn was in contact with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s billionaire associate Jho Low (photo).
It added that in 2010, Nawaf thwarted a meeting between then US secretary of state Hillary Clinton with Anwar when the former visited Malaysia.
He did so by writing to deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs in the US national security council Michael Froman, claiming that a “confidential secret assessment” found Anwar was linked to several individuals investigated for the Sept 11, 2001 attacks for terrorism funding.
He also claimed of evidence that showed Anwar was linked to the Muslim Brotherhood network.
“I think I should alert you on a possible deeply embarrassing situation that Secretary Clinton could find herself in (if she meets Anwar),” he said in an email to Froman on Oct 26, 2010, six days before Clinton’s visit.
The same email was then forwarded by Nawaf to Tarek’s PetroSaudi email, which database has been leaked to Sarawak Report.
Later on, Sarawak Report said Nawaf sent another email to Tarek to inform him of their success.
“Secretary Clinton was made aware the weekend before her trip to Malaysia about ‘the assessment’ and was advised not to meet him in person.
“To avoid giving the true reason (due to the understanding we have with our friends), a close advisor to her used an excuse of timing and simply said she would talk to him by phone, which she ended up not doing,” read the email reproduced by Sarawak Report.
“The emails which passed between the two brothers and Jho Low on the PetroSaudi database are informative on this front, because even though Nawaf indicated to Mike Froman that his ‘assessment’ document was highly secret, he was, in fact, passing it round as many journalists as he could, in order to get negative publicity against Anwar into the top US and UK media outlets,” said Sarawak Report.
Bid to sell Anwar ‘terror links’ to news outlets
The report said Nawaf’s sharing of the assessment with several news outlets was to get them to publish Anwar’s purported links to terrorism.
One of the news outlets that Nawaf shared the “secret assessment” with was CNN, which published a report on the matter in Jan 27, 2011.
The report merely cleared the Saudi officials of funding Anwar Ibrahim, but made no mention about Anwar’s alleged terrorist links.
However, Sarawak Report said Nawaf then tried to follow up by highlighting the CNN story to the New York Times, and offered to provide further exclusive information.
However, New York Times did not pick up on the story, nor did BBC, whose journalist responded to Nawaf’s email by saying: “The most common response I am getting is from people who suggest this is another attempt to damage Anwar Ibrahim’s reputation.”
According to Sarawak Report, Nawaf then forwarded this email to Tarek, lamenting: “You should at some point also show this to your ‘accidental’ friend to show him how difficult it has been to get serious news organisations to run with this subject.”
A clearer indication of what was contained in the “secret assessment” was contained in an email from Nawaf to a Washington Times journalist.
The journalist, after receiving Nawaf’s “secret assessment”, ran through the gist of the report with the Nawaf.
“To confirm, what I have is a translation of an assessment produced by Saudi officials in response to allegations that senior members of the royal family were involved in funding Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim.
“The assessment clears the royals of involvement, but shows Anwar’s links to the large and complex web of financial organizations established by a group of leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, a number of whom have been indicted or designated as terrorists by US authorities,” said the Washington Times journalist.
However, Sarawak Report said there was no indication that the Washington Times eventually carried the report.
It added that Nawaf had received payment from Tarek – including at least one transfer of US$200,000 (RM860,590).
Favours for ‘Big Boss’
Sarawak Report said the leaked emails also highlighted how Jho Low had sought favours on behalf of an individual codenamed ‘BB (Big Boss)’ from Nawaf with Tarek as intermediary.
The report said Nawaf was working for the Royal Saudi household at that time.
Among the favours, Sarawak Report said, included Jho Low proposing the then Saudi King Abdullah to visit Malaysia with a 500-men entourage and to announce several multi-billion projects in the country.
However, Nawaf in another email refused to make the arrangement, stating: “No no no, just ask for one trillion dollars in this case and save everyone the hassle! Someone is taking some sever and I mean sever drugs,” according to Sarawak Report.
Sarawak Report also claimed Nawaf was, in 2011, involved in helping to get Saudi air clearance to evacuate Malaysian students by air from Egypt to Jeddah.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had attributed the swift clearance to the “close personal ties my wife (Rosmah Mansor) have with King Abdullah Abdul Aziz and his family.”
Rosmah had also taken credit in the media, stating: “Some of the Malaysian officials, aware of my Saudi connections, also asked me to assist. My husband was busy so that was why I helped.”
A copy of the news report was forwarded by Tarek to Nawaf, who responded with three words: “She is nuts”.
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