Thursday, July 21, 2016

The 1MDB Seizure

The 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) saga just will not end. I think it goes without saying that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak just want everyone to forgot about the issue but it's just not happening. Worse is that he has now been officially linked to the billions of dollars that were siphoned off.

The US Justice Department has officially moved to seize more than $1 billion in assets including luxury real estate and a jet allegedly bought with money pilfered from the 1MDB state investment fund. The news came after a months-long international FBI probe and according to court filings made, the US alleged that billions of dollars were siphoned off by Najib's stepson, Riza Aziz, a family friend and other officials.

This is big because this is the first time anyone has tried to take back money from 1MDB. Switzerland and Singapore have frozen millions of dollars worth of assets on suspicion of 1MDB-related embezzlement and money-laundering, but no one has went for the money yet. Also, no major figures have been brought to justice. That too might change.

However US Attorney General Loretta Lynch did pull some punches. The US never refer to Najib by name, instead going for "Malaysian Official 1," Described as a "high-ranking official" in the Malaysian government with control over 1MDB, "Malaysian Official 1" was the "ultimate beneficiary" of bank local Malaysia bank account which held tens of millions of allegedly misappropriated funds.

We all know who she as referring to but considering the man is Prime Minister of Malaysia, I think it's understandable why he wasn't explicitly named. Still, the US has made their move. Now the big question is whether other countries will follow. 

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