Just last week Sarawak Report warned that the arrests of senior people in Kuwait related to our exposes on 1MDB money laundering threatened to open an ugly can of worms that pushed to the surface in August of last year after a former Kuwaiti Defence Minister filed a $160 million court case in California.
Yesterday, the can finally spilt open when prosecutors in California issued a civil asset seizure containing a series of allegations into senior Kuwaiti royal figures whom US investigators now accuse of misappropriating huge sums of public money.
Ex-Defence Minister, Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah (subsequently Minister of the Interior) had claimed last August that he had been swindled over a fraudulent property sale of possibly the world’s premier chunk of real estate, namely The Mountain, a vast residential site twice the size of Disney Land that towers over Hollywood’s prestigious Beverley Hills.
But how did he get the money in the first place? That was what everyone started immediately asking in Kuwait.
As Sarawak Report has detailed Sheikh Khalid’s replacement at the Ministry of Defence, the son of the Amir, Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, undertook an investigation into funds missing from the ministry and detected that since 2009 large sums had been detoured into a group of so-called Military Aid Fund accounts based in branches of Kuwaiti banks in London.
This money had then found its way into private accounts, according to Sheikh Nasser, who reported that he believed this was the source of the money with which the former Defence Minister had sought to buy possibly the world’s most expensive property.
Sheikh Khaled is also a known close political associate of former prime minister, Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al al-Sabah, whom he had in fact succeeded as defence minister in 2013. It is Sheikh Jaber’s son, Sabah Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah (Sheikh Sabah), together with his lawyer Saud Abdulmohsen and a college friend of the Malaysian fugitive financier Jho Low, who have spent several days in custody answering questions about the apparent separate laundering of billions of dollars that were sent in kickbacks from China linked to 1MDB.
The accusations by Sheikh Nasser brought down the Kuwaiti government last November, meaning both he and the prime minister were replaced. It was following this that Sarawak Report raised the separate concerns about Malaysian money laundering on the part of the former prime minister’s son.
Those suspects have now been released on bail, pending further enquiries on a case that has taken on similar proportions in Kuwait to 1MDB in Malaysia, as anti-corruption campaigners associated with Sheikh Nasser and now the Kuwait authorities have battled to get answers from those who deny all the allegations.
Defenders of Najib Razak and the PN government have, as usual, spent the past few days denigrating Sarawak Report’s latest evidence amidst chants of ‘fake news’.
However, as in the case of Najib Razak’s own extensive denials over 1MDB, the US prosecutors have now sunk their arguments with apparently devastating evidence provided by the IRS Criminal Division (the US tax authorities) of the money trails in their case against “Official #1″ filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Over $100 million was illegally transferred by the former Kuwaiti Minister of Defense, was used to purchase the assets he was then defrauded over, say the US investigators, and the money had indeed originated from thefts from the suspect Military Aid Fund accounts in London!
In a familiar if ironic twist on the related 1MDB saga, “Official #1″ had complained in his original complaint against the alleged fraudster Victorino Noval that instead of transferring him the property he had taken the money and:
“…. purchased, either directly or indirectly, multiple parcels of real property and personal property, including, but not limited to exotic automobiles, aircraft and boats. Plaintiff is further informed and believes that Victorino and Franco converted the monies to their own use by supporting their lavish and extravagant lifestyle and spent significant amounts of Plaintiff’s monies on, among other things, leasing real property for their personal use, hosting parties, exotic dancers, wine, worldwide travel, gambling, and paying personal staff, including but not limited to numerous limousine chauffeurs.”
However, this money was not the Sheikh’s to complain about it would appear, but rather it belonged to the people of Kuwait whose interests he had been entrusted to protect.
To be updated…