Irwan Serigar urged to clarify ‘secret’ letter of support for 1MDB loan

Tony-Pua-Irwan-SerigarPETALING JAYA: Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua wants Treasury Secretary-General Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah to address an allegation that 1Malaysia Development Bhd had a “secret” letter of support for a USS$975 million loan application to a Deutsche Bank-led consortium.

The DAP publicity secretary asked if Irwan, who is 1MDB chairman, was aware of the letter in Sept 2014 signed by “Malaysian Official 1” as stated in the latest suit filed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

He said the DoJ had mentioned in the suit that “internal Deutsche Bank records reflect that 1MDB officials opted to provide a Letter of Support signed by MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1, rather than some form of guarantee by 1MDB… at least in part because a letter of support did not require Bank Negara or Cabinet approval.”

He added that it also said that “at the request of 1MDB, all references to the Letter of Support were removed from the Facility Agreement.”

Pua said he had submitted a question to Finance Minister Najib Razak, who is prime minister, to confirm the existence of the letter during the current sitting of Parliament, but it was rejected by the speaker on grounds of having questionable assumptions (“sangkaan”).

He added that there had been no response from Najib and the cabinet ministers on the matter.

Pua said an official reply from the finance ministry in March 2016 had stated that there were two letters of support issued for 1MBD’s loan applications, one in March 2013 for US$3 billion and another in March 2015 for US$150 million.

He said the letters had stated that “in the event 1MDB… fails to provide the required funds, Malaysia shall then step in to inject the necessary capital into the Issuer or make payments to ensure the Issuer’s obligations are fully met”.

Pua said even if Irwan was not aware of the third letter, he should investigate the matter.

“Has he called Duetsche Bank to verify the existence of the letter of support as alleged by the US DoJ?” he said in a statement today.

“If Tan Sri Irwan fails to do the simple task of calling up the bank to confirm this information, then he has betrayed the trust of Malaysian taxpayers as the most senior financial civil servant in the country today.”

“If he is unable to protect the financial interest of the 30 million Malaysians in the country, then he is completely unfit to continue in his position, both as the treasurer-general and the 1MDB chairman,” Pua added.

On June 15 this year, the DoJ filed a civil suit seeking to seize US$540 million (RM2.3 billion) in assets, including art works, jewellery, a yacht worth US$165 million, and film rights to the two comedies “Dumb and Dumber To” starring Jim Carrey and “Daddy’s Home” featuring Will Ferrell, all paid for with funds allegedly embezzled from 1MDB.

In its earlier civil forfeiture suit filed in July last year, the DoJ had sought to recover more than US$1 billion (RM4.28 billion) in assets allegedly linked to 1MDB funds.

The assets included, but were not limited to, the Park Lane Hotel, 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” starring Leonardo DiCaprio.