PETALING JAYA: Gobind Singh has slammed Umno minister Salleh Said Keruak for accusing the opposition of committing treason over the latest actions by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ).
The Puchong MP called Salleh’s response to the DoJ civil suit filed in Los Angeles earlier this week to recover US$540 million (RM2.3 billion) in assets purchased from funds allegedly embezzled from 1MDB, as nonsensical, saying “it isn’t treason at all”.
“It wasn’t the opposition who found RM2.6 billion in their personal accounts and it wasn’t the opposition which spent huge amounts of money buying all sorts of things all over the world which has now led to actions by the DoJ in the US.
“So, why is he pointing at the opposition? He should ask his prime minister to answer the allegations made instead,” Gobind said, referring to the RM2.6 billion deposited in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts in March 2013, which was later declared a donation from a member of the Saudi royal family.
Yesterday, in a blog posting, Salleh attacked the opposition over the DoJ action, saying it was “an act of treason, that during Tun Dr Mahathir’s time would see the Internal Security Act (ISA) used to detain such people without trial.”
Gobind mocked Salleh for not understanding the US legal system and for claiming “that the DOJ was acting merely on complaints it received and had made it clear the civil forfeiture complaint contained allegations which are not proven until a court decided otherwise”.
“That is the norm. It simply means the document now sets out particulars and details indicative of the matters in support of the claim later in court,” Gobind said.
“These particulars and details are prima facie sufficient to trigger off investigations here in Malaysia as well and that is precisely what we are saying needs to be done.”
Gobind added that the minister has obviously “missed the point”.
On Thursday, the DoJ filed its second action in California, seeking to recover 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 Malaysian investment fund.
According to a Bloomberg report, the court filings yesterday were the latest attempt by the US government to seize assets linked to 1MDB, bringing the total sought by the DoJ to US$1.8 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.
The civil suit follows a similar action taken by the DoJ last July to seize other assets also purchased allegedly using funds from 1MDB.