PMO calls latest DoJ suits ‘unproven allegations’

THE unnecessary and gratuitous naming of certain matters and individuals by the US Justice Department (DoJ) will only open the door to domestic political manipulation and interference, said the Prime Minister’s Office today.

In a statement issued early today, the Prime Minister’s Office noted its concern that there was a motivation that went beyond the objective of seizing assets in the DoJ’s latest filing.

“We note the United States Department of Justice’s (DoJ) latest civil lawsuits brought against various assets. The Malaysian government will fully cooperate with any lawful investigation of Malaysian companies or citizens in accordance with international protocols.

“So we are concerned that again the DoJ has failed to seek such cooperation from the Malaysian government or 1MDB, the Malaysian company concerned,” said Tengku Sariffuddin, press secretary to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

“There have been numerous and extensive investigations by Malaysian authorities into 1MDB, including by independent and bi-partisan bodies such as the Public Accounts Committee, and no crime was found.

“1MDB is still the subject of an investigation by the Royal Malaysia Police. If there is evidence of wrongdoing, Malaysia will not hesitate to take action.

“Until then, unproven allegations should not be taken as facts. And we take note of DoJ’s own press release, which states that ‘A civil forfeiture complaint is merely an allegation that money or property was involved in or represents the proceeds of a crime. These allegations are not proven until a court awards judgment in favour of the US’,” said Tengku Sariffuddin.

He said that the judicial process is not served by seeking headlines and that Malaysia stood firm in its support of transparency and good governance.

“That includes ensuring that accusations have a basis in fact, rather than smears briefed by political opponents. We are confident that justice will take its course and Malaysia will continue to cooperate with all willing international agencies.

“As the Prime Minister has always maintained, if any wrongdoing is proven, the law will be enforced without exception,” said Tengku Sariffuddin.

THE US government had moved to seize a London penthouse it alleges was bought with funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd last week.

In its filing, the DoJ named businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, who is alleged to have used £77 million (RM416 million) from 1MDB to finance the purchase of the penthouse, office building and another flat on Stratton Street.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a suit on June 7 to seize the properties, which it said were acquired with funds from 1MDB.

In a separate but related matter, the American authorities are also investigating the US$2.2 billion (RM9.4 billion) purchase of a US energy company by a Middle Eastern investment fund with links to 1MDB.

Citing legal documents, the Wall St Journal said the deal was arranged by Goldman Sachs and earned one investor a US$300 million windfall in less than a week.

WSJ said the government-linked investor was an important player in the scandal involving 1Malaysia Development Bhd. – June 16, 2017.

(Source: The Malaysian Insight)

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