Britain’s Sunday Times ran a full page item over the weekend about the UK’s own 1MDB fugative, Najib’s former communications guru, Paul Stadlen.
Right up till the election count Stadlen had confidently briefed the world’s media in his customary haughty manner that BN would win the election and the vast majority believed him and reported accordingly.
However, for months Sarawak Report had questioned this unusual operator (the prime minister had claimed that Stadlen was not being paid by the Malaysian government) not only for his statements, but also for his lavish lifestyle and partying, which we queried might possibly have clouded his judgement in the conduct of such a resposible role?
Stadlen’s loyalty to his boss was not in doubt. However, given the dubiousness of many of the stories and statements that Stadlen proved willing to release to sceptical journalists on Najib’s behalf, Sarawak Report had sometimes needled this ‘Flash Harry’ defender of apparent mass theft and deception, that he would do well to keep a standby seat on the London shuttle.
And, so it proved. As the evening of election night drew on, reporters relate that Stadlen’s phone went silent. The man who was usually ever ready with an unatributable quote attacking and denigrating Najib’s critics (most particularly Sarawak Report) had switched off his phone. Najib must have felt bereft of his megaphone just at the moment of greatest need, but Stadlen, as predicted had finally smelt the coffee and would appear was headed for the airport.
One assumes it was a first class flight. Although not officially paid for his efforts none could deny that Stadlen was being well remunerated. His luxury flat, which once resonated to partying, has remained emply in KL since that moment when it dawned on him that like so many other foreign collaborators he had bet on a knobbled nag named Najib.
His known address in London is also empty. Indeed, that London address in fact belongs to one of a series of rented apartment blocks into which Stadlen had invested millions of pounds over the past few years, apparently with a view to refurbishment and re-sale for a big profit.
His first move, according to distraught long-term residents who contacted Sarawak Report last year, was to evict the tenants, who naturally obstructed such a business plan.
Najib’s Link Man With Jho Low?
It remains to query why Malaysian prosecutors are now so interested in interviewing Mr Stadlen, who was known to be part of a super-trusted inner circle around Najib. He had met the PM as an aspiring young PR manager, after nailing an original role as the KL head of the firm APCO, hired to puff Najib’s image back in 2009.
Sarawak Report has learnt that Stadlen’s interest to investigators lies in his intimate knowledge of Najib’s continuing relations with the fugitive financier Jho Low, who went into hiding after this news sight revealed his role in thefts from 1MDB.
The communications man is understood to have been a go-between as Najib and Jho secretly attempted to limit the damage and to structure a bail out for the fund via corruptly bloated construction projects involving money from China.
Najib has continued to attempt to deny recent dealings with Jho Low (despite having slipped his security detail twice to meet with him during his last official visit to China). Yet, Sarawak Report has heard that there were a number of trips made by Stadlen that involved meeting Jho.
Wise heads would suggest that Mr Stadlen would do well to emulate others who have come forward to make a clean breast of their dealings with Najib and take the consequences come what may, as Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner now appears to have done.
For now, however, it appears that the well born, well educated, once promising British journalist has decided to lie low and hope for the best.
With his apartment in a gleaming 38-floor block that boasted a rooftop “sky gym”, an infinity swimming pool and sweeping city views, Paul Stadlen enjoyed the high life as media adviser to Malaysia’s most powerful man.
But the 39-year-old Briton, a regular on Kuala Lumpur’s nightlife scene, hastily abandoned these luxurious trappings and vanished in the hours after his boss, Najib Razak, was toppled as Malaysian prime minister in a shock election defeat.Najib and his free-spending wife now face charges of financial crimes related to an alleged multibillion-dollar fraud — and Malaysia’s anti-corruption commissioners are looking for Stadlen, too. They want the well-connected British public relations man to assist with their investigation into one of the world’s largest financial scandals……
His father, Eric, who died in 1995, was a veteran BBC journalist who helped train several broadcasting stars of recent decades, including the young Jeremy Paxman. His uncle, Peter, was a concert pianist and Daily Telegraph music critic and his aunt, Hedi, was a prominent philosopher and grand-niece of the composer Johann Strauss Jr.
Other relatives include Matthew Stadlen, the LBC presenter; Tommy Stadlen, a tech entrepreneur and bestselling author now based in Silicon Valley; Sir Nicholas Stadlen, a retired High Court judge; and Godfrey Stadlen, a former senior civil servant.
After graduating with a first in English from Leeds University, Stadlen initially followed his father into journalism, working on various BBC shows and writing occasionally for newspapers. But he soon migrated into the world of public relations, joining Apco Worldwide, the public affairs giant.
He won accolades as “best newcomer” and “young professional of the year” from PR industry publications — and, at the age of 30, he was posted to Malaysia to lead Apco’s operations there in 2009, the year that Najib became prime minister.
Stadlen headed Najib’s foreign press operations as the [1MDB] crisis deepened. He was dismissive of media that investigated the scandal, resolutely defending Najib. He circulated scathing attacks on Najib’s political opponents and briefed against Clare Rewcastle Brown, a British journalist who runs Sarawak Report.
When questions were raised by opposition MPs in parliament about Stadlen’s role, the prime minister’s department issued a statement that he was not being paid a salary by the government.
Whatever his financial arrangements, Stadlen handled media inquiries for Najib until election night six months ago, when his messages to journalists ended and he stopped answering his phone. [To read the full article click here]