Hornbill Unleashed

July 15, 2017

Ex-BSI banker’s trial opens up Pandora’s box regarding 1MDB

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Yeo-Jiawei-1Singapore’s investigations into ex-BSI banker Yeo Jiawei and 1MDB have revealed that Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, was closely involved in the setting up of a joint venture in September 2009 between 1MDB and PetroSaudi International Limited.

A report in The Edge Singapore details the intricacies of the transactions made involving 1MDB, based on what Singapore’s investigators have found.

The statement of facts presented at the trial of Yeo showed that there were inconsistencies in statements made by some of those involved in the transactions, including 1MDB and bank officials.

Yeo was sentenced on July 12 to four-and-a-half years’ jail for money laundering and cheating involving 1MDB transactions. He had earlier been sentenced to a 30-month jail term on charges of perverting the course of justice by tampering with key witnesses in order to frustrate investigations into his alleged involvement.

In total, The Edge reported, US$1.03 billion that 1MDB purported to invest in the joint venture had actually been diverted to Good Star Ltd.

Singapore investigators confirmed that Jho Low was the beneficial owner of Good Star. He owned the account from the time it was opened in June 2009 until its closure in September 2013.

Malaysian officials have maintained that Good Star Ltd was owned by Petrosaudi International Ltd.

The Edge report said on Sept 30, 2009, Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Berhad was instructed by way of a letter, which was signed by the then-executive director of 1MDB, to transfer US$300 million to the joint venture’s JPMorgan (Suisse) SA bank account.

Another US$700 million was to be transferred to a bank account belonging to Good Star, this being RBS Coutts Bank AG (Zurich) bank account no 11116073, the report added.

According to the report, on Sept 30, 2009, in a telephone conversation with Deutsche Bank Malaysia, the executive director confirmed that the US$700 million was to be transferred to PetroSaudi as repayment of an advance owed by 1MDB PetroSaudi.

Subsequently, on Oct 2, 2009, the report said the then-CEO of 1MDB represented to Deutsche Bank Malaysia that “Good Star is owned 100% by PetroSaudi International Limited”.

In order to explain the inflow of US$700 million to Coutts compliance staff, Jho Low initially provided Coutts with an investment management agreement as evidence that Good Star was to invest the money on 1MDB’s behalf, the Edge reported.

He later provided Coutts with a loan agreement, which characterised the money as a loan from 1MDB to Good Star.

“The agreements provided to Coutts are inconsistent with each other, and both are also inconsistent with the explanation for the transaction given to Deutsche Bank Malaysia on Sept 30 2009,” said the public prosecutor in the statement of facts.

Between May and October 2011, Good Star received a further US$330 million from 1MDB, spread over four transfers.

In June 2012, 1MDB exchanged its entire “investment” in the 1MDB-PetroSaudi joint venture for a 49% stake in PetroSaudi’s wholly-owned subsidiary PetroSaudi Oil Services Limited (PSOSL), a deal which was booked at US$2.22 billion.

The remaining 51% interest was subject to acquisition by 1MDB for a token sum vide a call option agreement, according to The Edge report.

The transactions were structured such that 1MDB’s interest in PSOSL and the call option would be held by its wholly-owned subsidiary, 1MDB International Holdings Limited (1MDB IH).

Investigations reveal, The Edge reported, that the main assets of PSOSL were two ageing drill ships.

Jho Low said this week that attempts to link him to recent guilty pleas in the 1MDB-related probes were based on “unfounded assumptions”.

“It has been clearly stated by the Malaysian authorities that there has been no evidence of any misappropriation of 1MDB funds,” Low’s representative said in an emailed statement. “No wrongdoing has been proved in any jurisdiction relating to the alleged misappropriation of 1MDB funds, and this development in Singapore does not change that.”

Source : FMT Online



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