Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Corporate Sleight of Hand

Malaysians learned on Monday that Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments PJS and Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (BVI) are two completely different entities.
Abu Dhabi’s state-owned sovereign wealth fund International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and their subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS (Aabar) to which a staggering $3.51 billion dollars was allegedly sent in 2012 by 1MDB – under the guise of fulfilling ‘state to state’ obligations (relating to a $3.51 billion loan) – have now denied in a formal joint statement issued to the London Stock Exchange that they ever received any such money.
Even more incredulous, IPIC/Aabar said the British Virgin Islands-registered firm – which was wound up in June 2015 – with an almost identical name, Aabar Investments PJS Ltd, were “not an entity within either corporate group."
The PAC investigating 1MDB had highlighted in a report released on Thursday that the Malaysian sovereign fund had dispatched the $3.51 billion to the other Aabar, i.e. "Aabar BVI". What happened to the money after it went to the British Virgin Islands could not be determined, the report said.
1MDB too had acknowledged that Aabar BVI were set up by two individuals – they were Khadem Al Qubaisi (IPIC managing director and Aabar chairperson) and Mohamed Badawy Al Husseiny (Aabar CEO) in the British Virgin Islands.

One cannot help but conclude that the intention behind this scam was to mislead the auditors. And one can only wonder if 1MDB are a party to this trickery.
One of the payments received through the BVI company was a whopping $150 million to a virtually unknown production company Red Granite Pictures – as reported by the Wall Street Journal, who have been snooping round Hollywood.
Riza Aziz (PM Najib Razak’s stepson) had himself promoted an announcement by Al Husseiny back in 2014 claiming he personally had funded Red Granite films, including the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
Already, the United Arab Emirates' central bank had ordered a freeze on the assets of Khadem and Mohamed Badawy, banking sources told Reuters last week. The reason was unclear.
DAP’s Tony Pua, who was part of the parliamentary probe, said "there was no way" the attorney general or the parliamentary inquiry could clear the prime minister of the allegations since billions of dollars that 1MDB sent overseas cannot be traced and investigations into them continue abroad.
The red-hot 1MDB issues are still sizzling and smoking.
Today, I can confirm that Sunway University Toastmasters Club – chartered May 17, 2012 – is now a President’s Distinguished Club! And even better, we scored 10 upon 10!
It is good to know that I am leaving the club on a high note!
And yesterday evening, I was in KL’s TTDI to attend the WIM Toastmasters meeting where I presented my CC #8 speech – it was engrossing and enlightening and it incorporated an enticing twist! The speech title was “Coke Banishes Obesity”!

I was voted Best Speaker. An engaging meeting overall.

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