Report: US DoJ traces 1MDB US$73.5m funds to Saudi associates, Najib’s stepson, Joey McFarland

Riza Aziz is seen at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s headquarters in Putrajaya July 4, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Riza Aziz is seen at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s headquarters in Putrajaya July 4, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — A 2013 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) bond offering was diverted to the private accounts of the sovereign fund’s one-time senior executive and two Saudi Arabians who later funnelled part of the money to the Hollywood production company co-founded by Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland, according to Malaysiakini.

Citing documents filed last Friday in California by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) in its latest quest to recover a fresh US$38 million worth of assets, the news portal reported that US$73.5 million of the bond money was transferred to Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, 1MDB’s former executive director of group strategy, former managing director of Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) Khadem Abdulla al-Qubaisi, and former CEO of IPIC subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS Mohamed Al-Husseiny between April and May 2013.

The transfers to the trio were made from a Riyad Bank account in Saudi Arabia held by a person dubbed “Saudi Associate 2” in the DoJ civil forfeiture filing.

Loo received US$10 million, Khadem US$24 million and Mohamed’s former wife Suaad al-Attas US$39.5 million who later transferred the cash in several transactions to her other accounts and to her husband, Malaysiakini reported.

Loo — who is wanted in Malaysia — reportedly paid nearly US$3.1 million in January 2014 for a London property through a company called Red Mountain Global Ltd while Mohamed bought a New York property called Oceana 57 in 2015 for nearly US$4.1 million, which was sold last year for S$5.4 million.

Khadem, who is alleged to be a beneficiary of the 1MDB financial scam, reportedly lent US$4.2 million to Red Granite Capital, a film production house owned by Riza who is stepson to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The loan was made through a company called Telina Holdings owned by Khadem and registered in the British Virgin Islands, a known tax haven, and supposedly funded a 43.37 per cent purchase in June 2013 of a facilities management company in Kentucky, the US -- the home state of popular filmmaker McFarland.

Through another series of transactions, the money went into Red Granite Investment Holdings, a company wholly owned by Riza, to another executive dubbed “Company 1 Executive 1”.

Malaysiakini reported that McFarland received about US$3.5 million from “Company 1” in January 2015, and later transferred US$1.5 million to Riza's personal accounts.

But last month, “Company 1” spent US$28.1 million to buy back the shares from Red Granite Investment Holdings and McFarland through an affiliate company called New FM Acquisition Company and have since deposited the funds in an escrow account held by a US-based international law firm called Squire Patton Boggs.

News agency Reuters reported last Friday that the US DoJ made a new civil filing on the same day to recover these new assets through the bonds arranged by Goldman Sachs, putting their total forfeiture attempt to about US$1.7 billion.

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