COMMENT | The 1MDB scandal has been described as “one of the world's greatest financial scandals” and was declared by the US Department of Justice as the “largest kleptocracy case to date”. This was in 2016 when it released its findings, but since then, so much more has emerged.
Although it was the United States that initiated the investigations into the use of stolen funds, the probe was carried out in 10 countries. The tentacles of the perpetrators spread far and wide and investigations were carried out by enforcement agencies in Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Seychelles, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Malaysia.
Together with the infamous “Can I advise you something” audio recording, another was released where Najib requests a “comfort letter” for his stepson, Riza Aziz. The request was made to the then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed Zayed Al-Nahyan, where Najib pleaded for help with money laundering accusations faced by Aziz at the height of the 1MDB financial scandal.
This is what was said in the recording: “Your highness, I have a personal request. My son Riza Aziz, related to his movie production in America… if there can be an agreement with Sheikh Mansour signed so that it can show it was legitimate instead money laundering. At the moment, he’s under pressure in America. I’m worried if they make him a scapegoat.
“I hope the agreement can be signed immediately with Sheikh Mansour so that it can appear as a legitimate loan agreement.”
Najib would certainly have been the first prime minister to have sought help from a top member of the Middle East royalty for a document to satisfy the investigators in the US.
Then, there’s Rosmah Mansor...