The Edge Singapore (May 28-3 June edition) has a special 24-page pullout revisiting its excellent and fearless coverage in 2015 of Malaysia's biggest financial scandal. Here is the text of its cover page. For the rest, go buy a copy for S$5 at the newsstands.
-- Ho Kay Tat, publisher and group CEO,
The Edge Media Group.This special pullout features some of the key news reports on the 1MDB financial scandal by The Edge weekly and The Edge Financial Daily in Malaysia in 2015. We hope it will refresh the memory of our readers and enlighten those who may not be familiar with what happened three years ago. We were suspended for three months (the suspension was cancelled by the Kuala Lumpur High Court after nine weeks) and investigators were removed. Two Cabinet ministers were sacked and many more people became collateral damage. In the past three years, Malaysia has gone through an unprecedented period of financial and political turmoil that stunned the world and shocked the nation. The people finally spoke at the ballot box on May 9 and, at last, with a new government we now have a chance to get to know the full story of IMDB.
DATUK SERI NAJIB RAZAK
He gave the go-ahead to start 1MDB in 2009, just a few months after becoming prime minister. Although he was not on the main board of 1MDB, he was the chair of the advisory panel. More importantly, as prime minister and minister of finance, he and he alone had the final say in all investment decisions under Article 117 of 1MDB's Memorandum & Articles of Association, including to overrule board decisions.
LOW TAEK JHO (JHO LOW)
The 38-year-old is the mastermind behind what is the world's biggest financial fraud. Through his relationship with Riza Aziz -- Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's son from her first marriage -- he got close to Najib and Rosmah. His connection to the royal houses of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi so impressed Najib and Rosmah that he was able to exert great influence over 1MDB without having to hold any positions. The 137-page document filed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and court documents filed in Singapore reveals that Jho Low was the point man who controlled the money that flowed out of 1MDB to various bank accounts the world over. In the last two years, he is believed to have been living in Thailand, China and Taiwan.
NIK FAISAL ARIFF KAMIL
He is one of three key people that Jho Low planted in both 1MDB and its subsidiary International Bhd. His claim to fame was his role as the person who operated the bank accounts of Najib at AmIslamic Bank to which US$700 million of 1MDB money was alleged by the DoJ to have been sent. His current whereabouts is unknown but he was put on the wanted list by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2015.
DATUK SHAHROL HALMI
He is identified as 1MDB Officer 2 by the DoJ. He was CEO of 1MDB from 2009 to 2013, during which time all the major deals were executed. The PAC report recommended that he be investigated for decisions he made, a number of which were without board consent and knowledge. A former executive of Accenture, he was attached to the Prime Minister's Department after leaving 1MDB.
He is identified as 1MDB Officer 1 by the DoJ. Tang was executive director of investments and was accused by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of misleading the board of 1MDB with various presentations made to justify investments by 1MDB. Bank Negara put him on its wanted list in 2015. His current whereabouts is unknown.
SEET LI LIN
Singaporean Seet Li Lin was at Wharton with Jho Low. The former staff of the Monetary Authority of Singapore was very involved in the 1MDB-PetroSaudi deals where US$1.5 billion was allegedly siphoned off. On Sept 30, 2009 when 1MDB transferred US$700 million to Good Star Ltd, a company controlled by Jho Low and where Seet was chief investment officer, Seet posted on his Facebook account: "I feel the earth move under my feet".
The stepson of Najib went to the same boarding school as jho Low and they became fast friends. Nearly US$300 million of 1MDB money was alleged by the DoJ to have ended up with Riza and his Hollywood film company. Red Granite, which produced The Wolf of Wall Street. In March, Red Granite agreed to a US$234 million settlement with the DoJ. Riza is said to have been living in Malaysia for the past two years.
She is identified as 1MDB Officer 3 by the DoJ. She was general counsel and executive director of 1MDB in charge of corporate and legal matters. The DoJ traced at least US$5.0 million of 1MDB money that went to an overseas bank account held by her.
TAN SRI ISMEE ISMAIL
He was the only original non-executive director of 1MDB who stayed on the board through what the DoJ has described as the three main stages of fraud - the Good Star/ PetroSaudi phase (US$1.0 billion), the Aaabar-BVI phase (US$1.37 billion) and the Tanore phase (US$1.26 billion). He is currently chairman of Media Prima Bhd.
ARUL KANDA KANDASAMY
The 40-year-old was supposed to be the savvy financier who was going to fix 1MDB's problems when he assumed the post of CEO in January 2015. An articulate speaker, Arul spun and spun 1MDB's woes as "nothing more than a wrong business model". But few were convinced, including the voters who went to listen to his country-wide talks to explain 1MDB at the just concluded general election. They voted out the Barisan Nasional government led by Najib.
ERIC TAN KIM LOONG
The mysterious Malaysian was named by both the DoJ and Singapore police as playing a central role in the laundering of billions of dollars that belonged to 1MDB. Tan's role appears to have been to open bank accounts, which were then operated by Jho Low. At one stage, there was speculation that Tan was actually Jho Low using a false identity.