PETALING JAYA: Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown predicts that more information will soon emerge on 1MDB and claims that money taken from the state investment fund was hidden in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Rewcastle-Brown, who was in Hong Kong this week to promote her book, “The Sarawak Report: The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose”, said she believed “secret deals” were done in Singapore, one of several countries currently investigating the fund.
“I think there are still secrets to come out of Singapore on 1MDB, and probably Malaysians will want to prise them out,” she was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) at an event with the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong.
She also claimed that 1MDB was “going to rear its head in Hong Kong quite soon”.
“A lot of the money stolen by the former ruling couple of Malaysia ended up here in Hong Kong. I cannot see how the lid is going to be kept on that much longer,” she said in the report.
She was referring to claims that former prime minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor were involved in the embezzlement of billions of dollars from 1MDB.
Najib faces a total of 38 charges for abuse of power, criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering in relation to 1MDB and its former subsidiary SRC International.
Rosmah meanwhile has been charged with money laundering and failing to declare her income to the Inland Revenue Board.
1MDB is at the centre of a global scandal involving claims of embezzlement and money laundering, which have triggered investigations in at least six countries including the US and Switzerland.
Last June, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a forfeiture suit to seize US$540 million in assets. These assets included artworks, jewellery, a yacht worth US$165 million, and film rights purchased with funds allegedly embezzled from 1MDB.
Businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, and two former bankers from Goldman Sachs, were recently charged in the US in relation to 1MDB.
One of the ex-bankers, Roger Ng, is said to be fighting extradition to the US where he would face charges of money laundering and bribery related to the state investment fund.
Ng, who was Goldman’s head of Southeast Asia sales and trading when he resigned in April 2014, was said to have played an important role in facilitating the US$1.75 billion bond deal that Goldman arranged for 1MDB in May 2012
The whereabouts of Jho Low, meanwhile, are not publicly known. The businessman, who previously said he did consulting work for 1MDB, is portrayed by some global investigators as the mastermind behind some of the schemes involving missing funds.
Rewcastle-Brown said she believed Jho Low was receiving advice from his father, Low Hock Peng, against whom a warrant of arrest was issued in August.
“Jho Low’s father was a businessman with a chequered character and probably… spent many decades developing an understanding of how to manage the offshore system,” she was reported as saying.
Calling it a “family business”, she claimed Jho Low’s sister, allegedly based in Singapore, was an “expert in setting up offshore corporations”, while his brother was also involved.