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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1MDB critic tells AG to send protest note to DoJ if he’s upset

Khairuddin Abu Hassan says it is pointless for Mohamed Apandi Ali to politicise US Department of Justice’s move to seize assets allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB money.

PETALING JAYA - A former Umno leader has urged Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali to send a protest note to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) if he is unhappy over claims that 1MDB funds were used to purchase assets in the United States.

“It is pointless for the AG to politicise the issue here, ” Khairuddin Abu Hassan said. He was responding to Apandi’s description of the latest DoJ civil lawsuits related to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) as politically motivated.

Apandi said the DoJ had never made any formal application to the Malaysian Attorney-General’s Chambers to obtain further information on claims that 1MDB funds were used to purchase US$540 million (RM2.3 billion) worth of assets in the US that the agency wanted to seize.

“If they request (any information pertaining to 1MDB), we are obliged to assist. So, I concluded that their action is political in nature,” the AG said in Kota Baru yesterday.

Apandi said he believed the DoJ’s action was based on information provided by a handful of Malaysians. Khairuddin, who was arrested and charged with sabotaging the nation’s economic and financial system in relation to 1MDB, said he could not understand Apandi’s statement that his office would have assisted the DoJ if help had been requested.

“His office declined to extend cooperation when sought by the AG of Switzerland,” he told FMT.

Khairuddin, who first reported the alleged embezzlement of 1MDB funds with the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in December 2014, asked what assistance Apandi could have provided to the DoJ.

“It has been more than two years since I made complaints, yet it was recently stated that the police are still investigating the 1MDB case,” he said.

Earlier this week, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said Apandi had ordered him to get more information on 1MDB.

Khairuddin said the DoJ’s court filings were comprehensive and that the DoJ had the right to act as 1MDB funds had been diverted to purchase property and valuables in the US.

“There is no reason for the DoJ to inform or seek Malaysia’s permission to act on a crime or civil wrong committed in the US,” he said.

Khairuddin had, in 2015, lodged reports with Singapore, Hong Kong, British, French and Swiss authorities about alleged money laundering of 1MDB funds.

On Sept 18, 2015, he was to fly to New York with lawyer Matthias Chang to meet Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers but was detained by police.

Meanwhile, Khairuddin’s lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said it was foolish and immature for the Malaysian authorities to demand to know the identity of those who had complained to the DoJ about the 1MDB saga.

“Any criminal investigation will be jeopardised if the source of the complaint is revealed at this stage,” he said, adding that the DoJ had recently clarified that the 1MDB investigation was still in progress.

Hanif said this in response to minister and Barisan Nasional strategic communications director Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s statement urging the DoJ to reveal the identity of the individuals who had lodged complaints with them relating to 1MDB.

The lawyer said even in Malaysia, criminal investigation papers were classified and the complainant would only be known when the accused person was charged with a crime.

“It is pointless for Rahman to talk about the law and make himself look foolish when the subject matter does not come under his portfolio,” he said.

By V Anbalagan

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