Government must seek Chinese assistance to investigate 1MDB and ECRL
I have requested in my statement dated Thursday, 16 July 2020 that the Ministry of Finance and Bank Negara Malaysia must investigate the allegations that the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has facilitated the laundering of funds which had originated from the Najib administration to International Petroleum Investment Corporation of Abu Dhabi (IPIC) via China, Hong Kong, Kuwait and Malaysia.
As a background, by May 2017, the then Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak had signed the Phase I and Phase II of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project with a total value of RM55 billion with China Communications and Construction Company (CCCC). By June 2017, Malaysia had paid CCCC RM1,931.4 million and another CNY17,320 million via a loan from China Exim Bank.
Last month, Clare Rewcastle of The Sarawak Report has exposed the money flow from the Chinese companies to ‘purchase’ a 1MDB property in Penang. Based on information secured by the portal, we now know that:
28 Aug 2017 – CNY7,279,500,000 transferred from Multi-Strategic Investments Limited, Hong Kong (MSIL) to Al-Asbah International General Trading, Kuwait (a company with USD1,350 paid up capital). MSIL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zhen Hua Engineering Co Ltd, which in turn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CCCC.
28 Aug 2017 – CNY7,279,500,000 transferred from Al-Asbah International General Trading to the personal account of its sole shareholder, Sheikh Sabah Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.
30 Aug 2017 – CNY4,253,000,000 transferred from Sheikh Sabah to Silkroad Southeast Asia Real Estate Limited.
30 Aug 2017 – CNY4,253,000,000 was then transferred from Silkroad Southeast Asia to Sentuhan Budiman Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Ministry of Finance holding the 1MDB Air Itam land.
30 Aug 2017 – CNY1,950,000,000 was transferred from Sentuhan Budiman to IPIC, Abu Dhabi as part of 1MDB’s debt repayment agreement.
Between September 2017 to March 2018, the balance of the receipt in Sentuhan Budiman was used to service the interest of other 1MDB debts.
Please refer to the attached money flow chart.
Most critically, all of the above transactions were facilitated by Industrial & Commercial Bank of China. The billions of renminbi were transferred from ICBC Hong Kong to ICBC Kuwait to ICBC Kuala Lumpur to ICBC Abu Dhabi in a matter of 3 days. The transactions, carried out entirely in Chinese yuan, were obviously meant to circumvent anti-money laundering detection of US dollar transfers in the light of international scrutiny over 1MDB.
Hence we call upon the Malaysian Government, via the Foreign Minister, Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein to seek official assistance from the Chinese government to assist in the investigation of the above allegations.
China’s President, Xi Jinping, launched in 2012 a high-profile campaign targeting party, government, military and state-owned company officials suspected of corruption. The campaign has led to the investigation and prosecution of hundreds of officials across the country. His successful fight against corruption in China is almost legendary, and has become the benchmark and standard bearer for other nations fighting the scourge of corruption.
Given the close relationship between the Malaysian and the Chinese government which was cultivated during the Pakatan Harapan reign, we are confident that China will provide all necessary support to investigate the case. After all, the investigations will be in line with President Xi’s anti-corruption campaign to determine if the relevant companies were involved in illegal, corrupt or money-laundering activities which have tarnished the good name of both countries.
Media Statement by Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Damansara in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 21 July 2020.