PETALING JAYA: There should be only one primary concern on the minds of the Malaysian Cabinet when it meets next Wednesday, says Lim Kit Siang, and that is the United States Department of Justice’s (DoJ) civil suit to seize assets purchased using funds allegedly embezzled from 1MDB.
Reiterating his call for ministers and Barisan Nasional MPs to speak up against the issue of kleptocracy as defined by the DoJ in its suit, the DAP parliamentary leader said if that was not done, then the ministers should just collectively quit “for failing to defend Malaysia’s good name and reputation in the world”.
Lim, who is Gelang Patah MP, was referring to the new civil action taken by the DoJ in California on Thursday, in a follow up to a similar civil suit it took in July last year.
In its latest court filings in California, the DoJ is seeking to seize US$540 million (RM2.3 billion) in assets including art works, jewellery and film rights believed to have been paid for with funds siphoned from 1MDB.
The assets named in the applications included the film rights to two comedies, “Dumb and Dumber To” starring Jim Carrey and “Daddy’s Home” with Will Ferrell. Both productions were allegedly financed with millions of dollars from the state-owned investment fund.
Last July’s civil forfeiture suit sought to recover all the assets including but not limited to the Park Lane hotel in New York, a luxury hotel in Beverly Hills, condominiums in New York, a private jet, expensive works of art, as well as the financing of Martin Scorsese’s movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio.
With yesterday’s court filings, the total value of the assets sought by the DoJ increases to US$1.8 billion (RM7.7 billion).
The DoJ charged that from 2009 through 2015, more than US$4.5 billion (RM19 billion) belonging to 1MDB had been diverted by high-level officials of the fund and their associates. 1MDB was the brainchild of Prime Minister Najib Razak soon after taking over from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to become Malaysia’s sixth prime minister in 2009.
Lim also mocked those close to the prime minister who had counted on US President Donald Trump to intervene in the case by the DoJ over the 1MDB issue.
“The latest DOJ action also lays to rest the hopes of some in Najib’s inner circle that new US President Trump would quash the US DoJ action on 1MDB, as Najib boasts being Trump’s ‘golfing buddy’ and ‘favourite Prime Minister’ and having a signed photograph of Trump on his desk,” Lim said.
The DAP veteran also dismissed Attorney-General Mohamad Apandi Ali for saying his office had not received any request from the DoJ, saying it was just in April that Swiss Attorney-General Michael Lauber had said he was confident that the 1MDB money-laundering probe would bear fruit despite the Malaysian authorities’ refusal to co-operate.
Lim also said the issue of treason brought up by an Umno minister following the latest DoJ revelation was also fitting under the circumstances.
“Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak may not realise how correct he was to raise the issue of treason in connection with the US DoJ action.
“No loyal and patriotic Malaysian can read the updated 251-page DoJ suit to forfeit US$1.7 billion 1MDB-linked assets arising from US$4.5 billion 1MDB money-laundering without consternation and horror and only those who are prepared to commit treason will be unaffected, unmoved and untouched by the DoJ action,” Lim said, adding that the document has brought the greatest shame to Malaysia in the nation’s 60-year history.