Monday, October 18, 2021

Report: Firms involved in Russian, Indian financial sleaze had a part in 1MDB theft

The link was reportedly discovered through documents involving Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee, a Panama law firm heavily implicated in the so-called Pandora Papers.

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An investigation into leaked documents that show funds held under the names of prominent individuals worldwide has identified two offshore funds involved in high-profile frauds in India and Russia as also being involved in the theft of 1MDB funds, Malaysiakini reports.

The news portal, which earlier named several prominent Malaysian politicians and businessmen who appeared in the so-called Pandora Papers, said two investment funds based in Curacao, an offshore financial haven in the Caribbean, had taken part in the transfer of some RM1.5 billion siphoned off from 1MDB between 2012 and 2013.

It said the funds had siphoned off money raised from government bonds in 2012 and transferred it to a company owned by an associate of Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, the fugitive Malaysian businessman whose involvement in the 1MDB scandal has been documented by US authorities.

Another US$1.59 billion (RM5.3 billion) was stolen from bonds raised with investment bank Goldman Sachs in 2013.

The US Department of Justice had said part of the money from the bonds was transacted to former prime minister Najib Razak’s bank account.

Najib is currently appealing against a conviction over charges related to some RM42 million in funds found in his account from 1MDB-linked SRC International Sdn Bhd, the company he helmed as the finance minister.

Malaysiakini reported that the link between the 1MDB and Russian scandals was discovered through documents involving Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Algocal), a Panama law firm.

It said the two Curacao-based funds which transferred 1MDB money, Enterprise Emerging Markets Fund (EMMF) and Cistenique Investment Fund, were involved in major financial scandals in Russia and India between 2009 and 2015.

It said EMMF and Cistenique, each with shares in Russian bank Vneshprombank, were linked to the embezzlement of US$2 billion that led to the closure of the bank, on the back of a major scandal where loans were issued to shell companies.

Meanwhile, EEMF was named for its involvement in several money laundering and corruption scandals involving a prominent Indian jeweller.

Malaysiakini reported that while the DoJ had not named the two funds in the unearthing of the 1MDB scandal, they were reported to be in liquidation “with no indication if any proceeds made through the 1MDB scandal are to be recovered”.

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