About a year ago, Najib Razak proudly declared himself as the only prime minister ever recorded to be able to play golf with U.S. President Barack Obama. The Malaysian Prime Minister made the statement in front of a group of Malaysian students in New York, because Najib believed (Malaysian) students could easily be conned, which is quite true to a certain extent.
Najib saw it as a sign of his political prowess, as if Obama has appointed him as his deputy Sheriff representing the Asian region, or even the continent of Asia. For days and nights, Najib couldn’t sleep because he was too excited with his self-proclaimed recognition. He didn’t realize Obama wanted him to sign on the dotted line for TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement).
Fast forward 10 months later, Obama’s TPPA was as good as dead, before it could see the light of the day. Arrogantly, Obama thought he could single-handedly push TPPA without reforming the financial sector. It was like getting a plumber to do patchwork when a new plumbing system is needed. With nothing else left to do, Obama plays more golf, before leaving the Oval Office.
But with the TPPA’s death, there’s no need to play golf with PM Najib anymore. Therefore, on July 20, 2016, the U.S. Justice of Department filed lawsuits to seize assets that it said were the result of US$3.5 billion that was misappropriated from 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad), a fund set up by Najib Razak himself in 2009.
The Malaysian prime minister almost fell off his chair. He didn’t see that coming. He had always believed that as Obama’s only golf buddy, he was untouchable and invincible, and such privilege extended to his stepson Riza Aziz and his family’s special friend Jho Low. He called Obama for help but soon realized he was played when the American president refused to scratch his back.
Today, Najib realizes Obama wasn’t serious about their friendship. Barack Obama has had wanted him to be his poodle, to sign the TPPA agreement and to support U.S. against rival China. If Obama wanted to, he could do the same Clinton stunt for Najib – refrain from filing lawsuits against Riza Aziz and Jho Low. After all, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was one of Obama’s minions.
President Barack Obama is no angel himself. If the US Justice Department’s move to seize more than US$1 billion in assets allegedly tied to corruption at 1MDB, including the rights to Hollywood film The Wolf of Wall Street, is the largest set of cases ever brought by the Justice Department’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, Obama’s latest money laundering is much larger.
However, unlike Prime Minister Najib who laundered money for stepson Riza Aziz, President Obama did the shameful act for Iran. If Najib Razak had laundered as much as US$3.5 billion as alleged, Barack Obama has done the same – but 10 times bigger. Last month, Obama was exposed as having negotiated and paid US$400 million – “cash” – to Iran.
Obama’s initial denial was followed by an admission – that the US$400 million cash sent by the U.S. in “wooden pallets stacked with Euros, Swiss francs and other currencies” into Iran on an “unmarked cargo plane” was for the release of five American prisoners. But the embarrassing scandal didn’t stop there.
The Islamic Republic of Iran forced the United States to pay US$1.7 billion in cash prior to the release of American hostages. Under the threat of a subpoena, senior officials from the State, Treasury, and Justice Departments were forced to appear on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers were stunned when told Obama administration has indeed laundered U.S. funds for Iran.
Here’s the best part: the senior officials admit that despite lame-duck Obama agreeing to give cash to terrorist Iran, Iran would not provide a guarantee that the money would not be spent on terrorism operations. Christopher Backemeyer, a deputy assistant secretary for Iranian affairs at the State Department admitted – “I’m not aware of any guarantees.”
While the US$400 million cash was sent into Iran on an “unmarked cargo plane”, the remaining US$1.3 billion was withdrawn from a U.S. taxpayer fundoperated by the Treasury Department and sent to Europe. Once there, the money was converted into foreign currency and transferred to a representative of Iran’s central bank on Jan. 22 and Feb. 5, and then brought back to Tehran.
Still, that wasn’t the biggest bombshell. According to testimony provided before Congress, President Barack Obama may have sent an “additional” US$33.6 billion in “secret cash, gold and other precious metal” between 2014 and 2016 to Iran. Apparently, Obama agreed to pay US$700 million – every month – to Iran between January 2014 and July 2015, amounting to US$11.9 billion.
However, the Associated Press revealed in June that U.S. officials estimated that Iran “brought home less than US$20 billion.” Because Obama has chosen to send “secret cash” to Iran without providing the details, it’s still unknown until today if this US$20 billion was in addition to the US$11.9 billion, not to mention the US$1.7 billion cash exposed by American media.
The worse case scenario is that Iran may have received as much as US$33.6 billion in cash or in gold and other precious metals. The problem is Obama, the president who has been screaming about transparency and human rights, has been caught sending money shrouded in mystery to a country who doesn’t give two hoots about human rights.
Because the US$33.6 billion in cash, gold or other precious metals were delivered to Iran in secretive manner, there’s no way to tell if they were from funds that had previously been frozen by U.S. sanctions. Even if they were, Obama’s excuse that his government couldn’t wire them to Tehran was a truckload of bullshit considering today’s technology.
In the case surrounding the accidentally downed Iran Air Flight 655 in July 1988, the settlement between the U.S. and Iran saw US$61 million deposited in a Swiss bank account that was jointly held by the New York Federal Reserve and the Iranian Central Bank. If such money transfer could be done back in 1996, why was the US$1.7-billion settlement couldn’t be done the same way in 2016?
In 2013, at the peak of the U.S. and EU sanctions (2010-2013) against Iran, total EU-Iran bilateral trade was €6.2 billion, down from €27.8 billion in 2011 and €13 billion in 2012. Still, the trade didn’t stop altogether to zero. Therefore the White House could have worked through a European intermediary for the entire transaction involving the electronic transfer of money to the Iranian financial system.
Only people with bad intention to conduct money laundering will try to avoid formal financial system. This is to prevent money trail. More importantly, if all the payments to Iran were legitimate as claimed by Barack Obama, why did he lie about it from the beginning, even to his own lawmakers? Besides US$1.7 billion, were the entire of US$11.9 billion or US$33.6 billion delivered in “secret cash” too?