France said it is toughening its online abuse laws after an outcry over young media executives who ran a macho 'boys' club' that hounded female colleagues. [...]
BEIJING (Feb 14): Goldman Sachs senior executives believe that the potential liability associated with its role as an underwriter of 1MDB fund could cost about... [...]
Feb.13 -- Anwar Ibrahim, head of the ruling party in Malaysia, discusses the current political environment in Malaysia and the 1MDB scandal with Bloomberg's Scarlet Fu on "Bloomberg Markets: The Close." [...]
Xavier Andre Justo accused Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s government as being kleptocratic and accused them of trying to discredit him many times. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 ― Swiss banker-turned-whistleblower Xavier Andre Justo has said he is unsure if the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal would have been exposed had former employers Petrosaudi had paid him the money he was owed.In an interview on Al-Jazeera’s 101 East programme this morning, Justo, who blew the lid open on the biggest kleptocracy case in the world because he was not paid 2.5 million Swiss francs (RM10.15 million) owed to him by Petrosaudi, was asked what he would have done if he had been recompensed.“I don’t know, I just wanted to recover my money,” he said.“That’s...that’s a beautiful question. If I want to make me a glorious guy I will tell you of course I would have given the data. I don’t know. You can’t go back in history,” he added.Justo was a former executive director in Petrosaudi, the company form which billions of ringgit from 1MDB was siphoned through.Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was the chairman of 1MDB’s advisory board when Barisan Nasional (BN) was in power.Justo accused Najib’s government as being kleptocratic and accused them of trying to discredit him many times. If not for a royal amnesty from the Thai King, Justo would still be languishing in jail. "You have no idea what it's like being in a Thai jail. I spent 18 months and they make my wife suffer for 18 months, they bankrupted us, they stole billions from poor people and just because I’m free I have to forget!” said Justo in the video.“No! They have to pay, they have been using and abusing the system of justice, the police, just to cover up their scam and to keep their millions,” he told Al-Jazeera.The Pakatan Harapan administration is seeking to recoup some of the stolen funds from 1MDB, much of which had been used to buy properties, expensive artworks or stashed in accounts all over the world.Najib will go on trial on February 12 on charges linked to 1MDB and Justo explained how much a role Petrosaudi played in it.“It’s very easy, you have the money you have the Petrosaudi name and you use these channels and bank accounts to,” explained Justo.“Malaysia had money, they needed a front company, something that could appear very legal and they found this beautiful name Petrosaudi. It looks like it’s the official oil company of Saudi Arabia.“That’s the only quality Petrosaudi had at the time and so the frame of the scam was established.”Justo was paid US$2 million (RM8.1 million) by The Edge media group chairman Datuk Tong Kooi Ong last week for his help in exposing the wrongdoings at 1MDB.The interview titled “Malaysia: The World’s Biggest Heist” premiered on Al Jazeera English at 6.30am today (February 8, 2019) on 101 East, and will be shown again later today at 5.30pm, tomorrow at at 11.30am, and Monday (February 11) at 12.30am and 1.30pm. [...]
Najib will go on trial on February 12 on charges linked to 1MDB. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 — Umno acting president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan today admitted that he did not know how to explain the issues surrounding 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), as he too did not have a clear understanding of what transpired.During a Sinar Harian forum today, Mohamad was asked by moderator Tan Sri Johan Jaafar to state one reason why people loathed Umno.A smiling Mohamad admitted that 1MDB was the main issue, among others.“I don’t mind telling you. The 1MDB factor was one of the reasons that made people mad.“I myself don’t know what 1MDB is. So what to do then?” Mohamad replied.“I, being on the state level, I didn’t know. Even at the federal level, many ministers too didn’t know, because the scheme was done as such. Not many know, so how do we then explain it?“Although many explanations have been given to us, we still don’t know how to explain it to people,” Mohamad said when Johan asked why the issues surrounding 1MDB were left to fester, leading to Umno’s downfall.Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was the chairman of 1MDB’s advisory board when Barisan Nasional (BN) was in power.The state investment firm has since been marred by several accusations of fund misappropriation, with Najib facing several charges in relation to the fund.Najib will go on trial on February 12 on charges linked to 1MDB.Last month, Bernama reported that the High Court here was told that the prosecution had handed over 421 documents against Najib, involving RM2.28 billion of 1MDB’s funds, to the defence.The Pakatan Harapan administration is seeking to recoup some of the stolen funds from 1MDB, much of which had been used to buy properties, expensive artworks or stashed in accounts all over the world.In September last year, a Singapore court ordered the return to Malaysia of about S$15.3 million (RM45.9 million), just a small portion of the total seized in the republic. [...]
NEW YORK – The board of Goldman Sachs Group Inc said on Friday it is withholding a bonus worth at least $7 million from former chief executive Lloyd Blankfein until investigations into the bank’s involvement in the 1MDB scandal are resolved.
The bank also introduced a new forfeiture provision in its annual compensation plans for both its most senior executives, current Chief Executive David Solomon and former head Blankfein, relating to the ongoing 1MDB proceedings.
The move underscores the perils the 1MDB scandal still holds for Goldman, which is being investigated by Malaysian authorities and the U.S. Department of Justice for its role as underwriter and arranger of three bond sales that raised $6.5 billion (£5 billion) for 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
The U.S. Justice Department has estimated that a total of $4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level 1MDB fund officials and their associates between 2009 and 2014, including some of the funds that Goldman Sachs helped raise.
Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing.
The company said in a regulatory filing on Friday that its board can reduce pay packages of top executives if it is later determined that the results of the ongoing investigations related to the 1MDB proceedings would have impacted their year end compensation decisions.
The Wall Street bank also said it paid Solomon $23 million in total compensation in 2018, a 9.5 percent jump from his 2017 compensation.
Blankfein received $20.5 million in annual compensation in 2018, down $3.5 million from 2017.
The post Goldman Sachs says 1MDB scandal could hit pay for top executives appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve. [...]
File pic of food items displayed at a Real Junk Food Project cafe in a Church in Brighton, southeast England. Britain has among the lowest levels of food redistribution in Europe. — AFP pic
LONDON, Dec 31 — Britain appointed its first food waste chief today to help drive a campaign to reduce the millions of tonnes of food binned every year by restaurants, supermarkets and manufacturers.Ben Elliot, the nephew of Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall and wife of heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, was appointed to the one-year voluntary role of Food Surplus and Waste Champion by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.Food waste is increasing viewed as unethical in a world of rising hunger, as well as environmentally destructive, dumped in landfills where it rots, releasing greenhouse gases, while fuel, water, and energy needed to grow, store and carry it is wasted.“There continues to be an unforgivable amount of food waste which is both morally deplorable and largely avoidable,” said Elliot, co-founder of luxury lifestyle group Quintessentially and a philanthropic foundation that works with food charities.“As a nation, we need to stop this excessive waste and ensure that surplus food finds its way to people in our society who need it most, and not let it get thrown away and go to landfill,” he said in a statement.Britain has among the lowest levels of food redistribution in Europe, a system where out-of-date but edible food is given to people in need via charities and food banks, according to FareShare, a leading British food bank charity.Major supermarkets, food manufacturers and restaurants in September backed a drive to halve Britain’s food waste by 2030 and save the nation £10 billion (RM52.7 billion) a year.Tesco, Nestle and Coca-Cola were among at least 70 leading companies to sign up to a government-backed plan to reduce the 10 million tonnes of fruit, vegetables and other foods that are binned every year, worth about £20 billion.In his new role Elliot will work with food businesses across manufacturing, retail and hospitality to tackle waste “from farm to fork”, the government said, under a voluntary monitoring plan.The government said earlier this month it would look at introducing a requirement for businesses to report annually on food waste policies and set mandatory targets.Other European countries, including France and Italy, have already adopted national measures to fight food waste.“Food waste is an economic, environmental and moral scandal. We must end it,” Gove said in a statement.Globally, one third of all food produced — worth US$1 trillion — is binned every year, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and researchers fear annual food waste could rise by a third to 2.1 billion tonnes by 2030.World leaders pledged to halve food waste by 2030 as part of the global development goals set by the United Nations in 2015. — Thomson Reuters Foundation [...]
Newly-installed Chief Executive David Solomon stressed that Goldman Sachs was working with authorities to bring to justice the culprits behind a scandal that has roiled Malaysia. ― Reuters pic
NEW YORK, Dec 22 ― The head of Goldman Sachs defended the investment bank's handling of the scandal-plagued Malaysian fund 1MDB yesterday, saying much criticism of the financial giant was unfair.“I cannot stress enough how integrity is a cornerstone of our culture,” newly-installed Chief Executive David Solomon said in a year-end message to employees.He stressed that the bank was working with authorities to bring to justice the culprits behind a scandal that has roiled Malaysia.Goldman helped 1MDB to issue US$6.5 billion (RM27.1 billion) of bonds but Kuala Lumpur accuses the bank and its former employees of misappropriating US$2.7 billion during the process.Malaysia on Monday filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and two of its former employees over the alleged theft of funds used to buy everything from yachts to artwork. The fraud that involved former Malaysian leader Datuk Seri Najib Razak, contributed to the last government's shock defeat at May elections.Former Goldman banker Ng Chong Hwa was formerly charged in the case on Wednesday. Malaysia has also taken steps extradite Ng to the United States to face US criminal charges.Solomon said he was limited on how much to share on the ongoing probe, but defended the bank's role in the scandal, which he said had “outraged” him.“While we understand the anger and skepticism, we do not believe that the criticism directed at us accurately reflects who we were then or who we are now,” Solomon said, according to the transcript of the video message obtained by AFP and confirmed by a Goldman spokesman.“We believe our culture and our processes around our due diligence and compliance was strong at the time, and is even stronger today.”Solomon, who took over the top spot at Goldman in October, said the bank conducted due diligence of the bond offerings.“What we did not anticipate was that a group of individuals and foreign officials would orchestrate such a brazen scheme,” he said. ― AFP [...]
(Reuters) - A former head of the U.S. Olympic Committee made "materially false statements" to a U.S. Senate subcommittee investigating sexual abuse in gymnastics, the panel said on Friday, and it said it would refer the matter to the FBI. [...]
Former Nissan chief was re-arrested for understating his income for another time period
TOKYO • Carlos Ghosn was indicted in Tokyo three weeks after his arrest for understating his pay at Nissan Motor Co Ltd, which will also face charges as Japanese prosecutors step up the investigation that has shaken the global car industry.
The former Nissan chairman was also re-arrested on allegations of understating his income for another time period, prosecutors said yesterday. That means he will be denied a chance to be released on bail for now.
In the first sign of blowback from the scandal for Nissan, the carmaker was indicted for breaching Japan’s financial instruments and exchange law by under-reporting Ghosn’s compensation.
The charges represent a victory of sorts for Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, who has emerged as a driving force into the investigation into Ghosn’s alleged wrongdoing. Ghosn is in custody in Japan after his Nov 19 arrest on allegations of under-reporting of his income at Nissan, which has since ousted him as chairman.
A Nissan spokesman and lawyers for Ghosn declined to comment.
The charges are related to a relatively arcane point of accounting — whether retirement payments were properly booked. Ghosn has denied any rules were broken around deferred compensation, people with direct knowledge of the case have said. His defence is that the amount of such pay wasn’t certain, and therefore it was appropriate to omit it from securities filings, they said.
While he remains at the helm of Renault SA, Nissan’s partner in the world’s biggest auto alliance, he has been replaced on an interim basis. Tension within the Franco-Japanese partnership that has been held together by Ghosn for two decades has all but exploded into the open since his shock incarceration.
More on Ghosn
Ghosn was indicted for understating his salary by ¥4.8 billion (RM179.31 million) during the five years until March 2015, and the re-arrest is for suspected income understatements of ¥4.2 billion for the three years until March 2018, prosecutors said.
Former representative director Greg Kelly was also indicted for aiding Ghosn in understating his income. Nissan faces a fine of no more than ¥700 million.
Shares of Nissan declined 2.9% in Tokyo. They have lost 6% since Ghosn’s arrest.
Here’s how Ghosn’s legal process could play out:
Ghosn will remain in custody as prosecutors continue to investigate additional suspected crimes. A trial typically takes place about 40 to 50 days after indictment. Ghosn’s trial is likely to take place at the Tokyo District Court or a similar tribunal, where cases are argued in front of three judges. Should he want to, Ghosn is likely to be able to appeal the verdict twice, first to High Court and then Supreme Court. If convicted, Ghosn could face up to 10 years in prison, prosecutors have said.
Japan has one of the highest criminal conviction rates in the world, and prosecutors typically try to use interrogations to extract signed confessions from defendants. Fewer than 1% of cases in Japan’s district and county courts resulted in a not-guilty verdict or the defendant being released in 2017, according to prosecution data.
Nissan, which Ghosn helped resurrect by uniting it with Renault in an alliance almost two decades ago, conducted a months-long probe into Ghosn’s financial reporting and alleged misuse of company assets. The timing prompted some analysts to say the scandal may have been manufactured in order to block a merger that Ghosn was advocating between Nissan and Renault.
Saikawa and other Japanese executives within Nissan have spoken strongly against a merger. Saikawa, a former protege of Ghosn’s, is now potentially succeeding him as Nissan’s chairman after already taking over as CEO last year. Ghosn remains the chairman of the Amsterdam-based Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors Corp alliance.
Renault appeared to have been blindsided by Ghosn’s arrest and the allegations that have drifted out.
Executives are suspicious of Nissan’s motives, demanding to see proof from the Japanese carmaker of the accusations against Ghosn, people familiar with the matter have said. Nissan offered up a presentation summarising his alleged transgressions, but Renault declined, requesting the presence of lawyers and the full report on the allegations, the people said.
A spokesman for Renault said Nissan still hasn’t provided the evidence Renault’s board has asked for. Renault is aiming to reach in about a week the first conclusions of its internal probe into whether the pay packages of Ghosn, along with the French carmaker’s other top managers, were properly disclosed to shareholders, the people said.
Renault and Nissan have complicated cross-shareholdings, and poor relations would make operations difficult. The French carmaker is the largest shareholder in Nissan and has voting rights, while the Japanese company is the second-largest shareholder in Renault, with no votes. Nissan is keen to achieve a more equal power balance, but its demands have been stonewalled by Renault and the French state. — Bloomberg
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TOKYO: Nissan Motor Co’s auditor had repeatedly questioned transactions at the heart of allegations of financial misconduct by former chief Carlos Ghosn but Nissan said they were proper, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday. [...]
Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad speaks during a townhall meeting with Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents, November 23, 2018. ― Picture by Razak Ghazali
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 ― Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said his ministry will set up a joint committee to review the controversial mega project development involving some part of Taman Rimba Kiara (TRK) sites.He said the planning to set up the committee had long been referred “to the top” for decision and he is still waiting for the result, stressing that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been briefed over the controversy.“The PM already knows about this and I have sent a letter to him on this issue which should be resolved as soon as possible,” he told reporters after attending the townhall meeting with Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents last night.Also present were Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh, Mayor of Kuala Lumpur Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan and TTDI Residents Association chairman Abdul Hafiz Abu Bakar.The meeting was attended by about 450 residents in the area.Khalid said, the government must resolve the issue as the project already approved and been through the agreement procedure in the previous government administration.“I hope the developers are willing to withdraw the project because otherwise this case will be brought to the court. If it is to be brought to the court, of course the financial implication is higher.“The cost of RM150 million may involve expenses, but if losses and various costs incurred by developers including defaults, the cost may be difficult for us to expect,” he added.Khalid also hoped that there would be company that wish to take over the developer's project, but it involves a lot of things including a solution to the construction of the longhouse.“As for now, [there is no company to take over]. Therefore, DBKL has to absorb all the costs,” he said, referring to the City Hall.The controversy over the TRK project has occured for the past two and a half years, causing TTDI residents to take legal action.The residents claimed that the development will take half of the public park site and destroy area with the most trees that has been the habitat for nearly 40 species of local birds and migration.In fact, the longhouse community residing next to TRK also pushed not to make them as the “scapegoat” in the project's construction plans, and demanding for their homes to be built on the original site without destroying the public park.However, on December 15 last year, the Kuala Lumpur High Court rejected the application of the TTDI residents and nearby condominium management to suspend the development orders in the area.The decision was made after the court took into account major expenses incurred by the developer, Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd and Federal Territory Foundation as the respondents in the project.Meanwhile, Save TRK Working Group coordinator Leon Koai said the residents will absolutely continue to fight for the open space park.He said, the area is not set up to be the commercial development or high density development.“It is part of the original Bukit Kiara which was acquired for public purpose, it should never allowed to be developed.“So let's fix the wrong that were done in the past. It's not easy we understand that, but let's work on it together,” he added. [...]
Foliage partly covers a 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, July 3, 2015. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — A US documentary on Malaysia’s 1MDB corruption scandal premiered at the 2018 DOC NYC festival yesterday.Like the Billion Dollar Whale book, however, The Kleptocrats puts added emphasis on the role of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho in the corruption scandal spanning at least 10 countries.It tracks Low’s movements as he crisscrosses the world between Malaysia and Hollywood, playing up his lavish lifestyle that led to his playboy image.Directors Sam Hobkinson and Havana Marking also included interviews with Malaysian personalities such as MP Tony Pua and Maria Chin Abdullah to help convey the damage the scandal wrought on Malaysia.The documentary is jointly produced by Rubber Ducky Productions and Roast Beef Productions.Since 2010, DOC NYC has been annual documentary festival held in New York City and is now the largest of its kind in the US. [...]
PETALING JAYA: Two Umno top guns have aired their opinion that Barisan Nasional's (BN) loss in the 14th General Election was due to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had reportedly echoed Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin's position on the matter.
"I agree with YB Khairy (Khairy Jamaluddin). The scandal happened and the Cabinet only knew about all the decisions after the issue exploded in the media," he was quoted as saying in The Star.
Khairy had earlier tweeted, "We lost because of 1MDB. The end."
The tweet referred to an attached news clip from an English-language daily in which former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak claimed that BN had lost the election due to "fraud, defamation and false promises made by Pakatan Harapan."
One of Najib's staunchest supporters, Datuk Lokman Noor Adam, retaliated in a series of tweets, with one aimed squarely at Khairy.
"With this kind of finger pointing attitude, don't ever dream that you can ever become the President of Umno," the Supreme Council member said.
Through Twitter, Khairy retorted, "You better pray I don't become President of Umno. First thing I'll do is sack you for having the IQ of a carrot." [...]
COPENHAGEN • Danske Bank A/S said it will be able to absorb “large” fines as Denmark’s biggest bank awaits the outcome of criminal investigations into its role in one of Europe’s worst ever money laundering scandals.
The bank, which said yesterday it faces a “huge task” trying to restore trust with customers and investors, hasn’t yet set aside provisions for a potential penalty, arguing it’s still too early to predict how much it may be facing. Analysts have published estimates as high as about US$8 billion (RM33.44 billion), while the bank’s market value has slumped about US$16.5 billion this year.
Danske admitted in September that much of about US$230 billion that flowed through a tiny Estonian unit might need to be treated as suspicious in origin. Management is in an ongoing dialogue with authorities in the US, Denmark and Estonia in connection with criminal investigations into the case, the bank said yesterday.
The Copenhagen-based lender has already made a “donation” to society of 1.5 billion kroner (RM961.4 million) based on profits it made at the Tallinn-based unit at the heart of the scandal. It’s also been forced to add 10 billion kroner to its regulatory capital in connection with the case, prompting management to cancel this year’s share buyback programme.
But the bank used yesterday’s report to provide details of its campaign to talk to clients and investors, and of its compliance efforts to make its business impenetrable to those trying to commit financial crimes. Investors welcomed the update, and shares in Danske gained as much as 6.5% in Copenhagen, marking the bank’s best performance since February 2016.
At Jyske Bank, analyst Simon Hagbart Madsen said yesteray’s report offered “better insight” into the short-term effects of the laundering case on Danske’s business.
In an interview, interim CEO Jesper Nielsen said “we’ve been very prudent in terms of capital and can basically withstand large fines or sanctions”. He also said the financial impact of the scandal has been “limited so far”, and that the bank is doing what it can to fight the threat of a customer exodus.
The interim CEO also said the bank is investing “massively” to “combat financial crime”, in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Danske is taking a very different approach to capital management, as it awaits news of a potential fine. “We are more preoccupied with being seen as prudent in terms of capital these days than necessarily handing back capital to shareholders,” he said.
Nielsen became CEO in October, when Danske removed Thomas Borgen for his role in the laundering scandal.
Nielsen has ruled himself out as a candidate for the job in the long term. Danske tried to win regulatory approval for its head of wealth management, Jacob Aarup-Andersen, to become CEO, but failed. It didn’t provide any further updates yesterday.
According to the bank’s updated factbook, it lost about 8,000 customers in Denmark last quarter, as Danes learned the full scope of the laundering scandal.
Per Hansen, an investment economist at Nordnet, said “one could have feared a bigger exodus”. But he also notes that there’s an expectation that customer flight will continue in coming quarters, though it appears “Danske Bank will stand its course”.
Nielsen said Danske is working hard to “explain to the market” how much it’s done to avoid ever again being dragged into a similar scandal. That includes building up a staff of about 1,200 people to focus on compliance in the area, compared to roughly 300 in 2015, he said.
“It is important that people can feel that we are truly sorry and that we take this very seriously,” he said.
Danske reported profit that fell short of analyst expectations last quarter. Net income in the three months through September came in at 2.28 billion kroner, about 4% below consensus estimates. Nielsen said income “was affected by the uncertainty in the financial markets”.
The bank still expects to generate profit somewhere between 16 billion kroner and 17 billion kroner this year.
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MOSCOW — France’s players had barely finished celebrating their victory over Uruguay in the World Cup’s first quarterfinal when a convoy of black minivans and sedans screeched out of the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. The passengers were in a hurry. They had about two hours — roughly the length of a soccer match — to make the 200-mile journey to Kazan for the day’s second game. [...]