Bank Negara must investigate Jho Low for money laundering

Bank Negara should investigate Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho and his associates for suspected money laundering in the acquisition of UBG Bhd via Petro Saudi International (Seychelles) Ltd using funds from state-owned 1Malaysia Development Malaysia (1MDB), DAP said.
The party's publicity chief Tony Pua said that the complicated money trail involving 1MDB clearly showed that it was meant as a cover up and to legitimise the acquisition of assets using illegitimately acquired funds.
Speaking at the Parliament lobby today, he said the fact that the funds were siphoned out of 1MDB made it an illegal action, adding that any money derived from illegal action and spent on subsequent assets counted as money laundering.
"Clearly there is deception involved because evidence provided by Sarawak Report shows that there was the agreement between Jho Low and PetroSaudi that Jho Low controls the funding in PetroSaudi Seychelles which was ultimately used to acquire Utama Banking Group (UBG).
"The PetroSaudi joint venture was designed for Jho Low and his associates to siphon billions of ringgit from the Finance Ministry-owned subsidiary 1MDB and in collusion with their foreign counterparts in PetroSaudi, they designed a highly sophisticated layering transactions to disguise the audit trail and provide anonymity," Pua said.
He said that there was enough suspicion for the Malaysian authorities to initiate investigations for money laundering under the Anti-Money Laundering Act and Anti-Terrorism Financing (Amendment) Act 2013.
UBG was owned by the former chief minister of Sarawak Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Sarawak Report had revealed that PetroSaudi Seychelles, via wholly owned subsidiary Javace Sdn Bhd, made a general offer to acquire all UBG shares for a total of RM1.4 billion in September 2010, adding that AmInvestment Bank Bhd had provided RM700 million to finance the acquisition.
For the balance, Petro Saudi Seychelles transferred US$260 million (RM850 million) to Javace Sdn Bhd.
However, the amount originated from 1MDB's US$500 million loan to 1MDB PetroSaudi Limited in September 2010 via the subscription of additional Murabaha notes.
He added that based on documents by Sarawak Report, US$160 million out of the additional US$500 million loan extended was transferred directly to Gold Star Limited, a company controlled by Low and his associates.
When asked if there was anything which implicated prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the 1MDB fiasco, Pua said he would leave that to the police to investigate.
"The prime minister is also the minister of finance and he had allegedly approved transactions such as lending of big sums of money to PetroSaudi, so he needs to clarify that.
"Ultimately, the buck stops with him, but whether he committed a crime or not, I leave it to the police to investigate," Pua said.
Meanwhile, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said he would be lodging a formal complaint with Bank Negara to investigate 1MDB.
"The IGP announced a special task force to investigate 1MDB made up of MACC, the police and the Attorney-General's Chambers.
"But how come it did not include Bank Negara?" he asked at the Parliament lobby today. – March 10, 2015.


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