By Tony Pua
Tan Sri Irwan Serigar, as both the Treasurer-General and one-year old Chairman of 1MDB must investigate and explain the scandalous misappropriations exposed by the United States Department of Justice
The updated second asset seizure suit filed by the United States Department of Justice (US DoJ) under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative contained even more outrageous exposés on how 1MDB funds were misappropriated by those who are in power as well as their associates.
Besides hundreds of millions more in the acquisition of luxury properties around the world and prized art masterpieces, the US DoJ is seizing The Equanimity, one of the most luxurious yachts in the world costing more than US$250 million belonging to Jho Low.
Even more scandalous was more than US$200 million spent on precious jewellery including more than US$30 million for a rare pink diamond necklace.
Besides some of the juiciest scandalous details befitting tabloid headlines around the world, the DoJ also took pains to elaborate how the funds exceeding US$5.6 billion have been laundered by 1MDB officials, Jho Low and his associates.
The previous DoJ suit in July last year had already outlined how US$1.83 billion invested with PetroSaudi International, US$1.367 billion paid to a fraudulent British Virgin Islands incorporated Aabar Investments and US$1.56 billion from 1MDB Global Investment Limited transferred to bogus investment funds, were laundered.
The updated suit published for the first time how an additional US$855 million borrowed from Deutsche Bank was raised and laundered in 2014 via another fraudulent Aabar Investments incorporated in Seychelles.
The exposé which reads like a Robert Ludlum political thriller, detailed how 1MDB managed forged documents including audited financial statements, created multiple version of agreements for the very same transactions, lied to financial officers and authorities and outrageously pledged worthless securities as collateral to secure its US$975 million loan from the Deutsche Bank-led consortium.
Tan Sri Irwan Serigar was only appointed as the Chairman of 1MDB last year to replace disgraced Board of Directors who resigned en-masse. He was not involved with any of the above shenanigans. As the Treasurer-General, the most senior Finance Ministry official in the country, he must take the bull by the horns and uncover all the skeletons in the closet.
The 1MDB management was quick to dismiss the US DoJ allegations as “not backed by evidence”. Surely, as an experienced civil servant, Tan Sri Irwan Serigar would not take the management denials at face value, especially in the face of such a detailed exposé of how the 1MDB funds were siphoned.
All it takes is for Tan Sri Irwan Serigar to call for an emergency 1MDB board meeting and demand for the relevant bank statements to be presented to discover if the US DoJ was only exposing the truth or they have been misled by all the international banks in the world who cooperated with the investigations.
Will Tan Sri Irwan Serigar do the right and honourable thing for the sake of Malaysian tax-payers, whose money he has been entrusted to manage? Or will he succumb to the very reason why the previous Chairman and Board had to resign in disgrace, the failure to perform their fiduciary duties to keep a rogue management in check, to prevent fraud and abuse, especially to the scale of tens of billions of ringgit.
Tony Pua is Petaling Jaya Utara MP and DAP National Publicity Secretary.
With a firm belief in freedom of expression and without prejudice, FMT tries its best to share reliable content from third parties. Such articles are strictly the writer’s personal opinion. FMT does not necessarily endorse the views or opinions given by any third party content provider.