Sarawak Report can reveal that a story has slipped out in Switzerland exposing how Malaysia’s coup coalition has not only been negotiating to drop charges against Jho Low (in return for RM1.5 bn in cash) but that there have been similar secret dealings with the PetroSaudi crook, Tarek Obaid.
The PetroSaudi Boys were the first to be exposed by Sarawak Report for their early complicity in the defrauding of 1MDB, acting as Najib and Jho’s first ‘Joint Venture Partners’ in the scam to cream off the entire $1 billion that was ‘invested’.
PetroSaudi International Limited was a shell company set up by Obaid, a Saudi playboy, from his base in Switzerland advised by his financier friend Patrick Mahony in London. The second shareholder in the company had been Prince Turki bin Abdullah, one of the many sons of the then King of Saudi Arabia back in 2009.
Prince Turki was paid kickbacks of over $77 million for his part in the conspiracy, which mainly involved posturing for the KL media to give the impression that the project was a ‘government to government’ venture, thereby covering Najib’s exposure on the project.
Just before the mega-heist all the players, Najib, Jho Low, Obaid and Abdullah, met on a yacht off Monaco to seal their plans – a moment captured in an informal photo together with Najib’s family (above). It was later obtained by Sarawak Report together with PetroSaudi data that exposed the thefts.
The prince exited the increasingly controversial project by resigning from the company in 2014. However, he was later imprisoned on corruption charges by rival royals who have come to power in Riyadh.
Meanwhile, Tarek and Patrick enriched themselves from the remaining half billion dollars that they were able to siphon out of the bogus joint venture, investing much of it in a fraudulent oil drilling project off the coast of Venezuela, involving corrupt officials whom they had bribed to sign a lucrative one-sided contract that netted hundreds of millions more in profit (without producing the oil they promised).
Jho Low and Najib had meanwhile robbed $700 million from this early 1MDB scam themselves (there would be several other rounds of theft). Sarawak Report exposed the entire scheme in February 2015 thanks to the Swiss whistleblower Xavier Justo, whom the conspirators (Mahony, Obaid and Jho Low) then contrived to have jailed in Thailand on false charges in an attempt to cover up their crimes.
These are the gangsters with whom the present Malaysian government has been negotiating, according to new information reported by the Swiss anti-corruption site, Gotham City, which has referenced legal papers submitted in March to the Swiss courts.
The cash that PetroSaudi is plainly seeking to barter in return for Malaysia dropping charges comprises one of that last remaining troves of 1MDB money retrieved by international investigators.
A legal challenge by the United States succeeded in freezing the major part of the $340 million that PetroSaudi was able to extract from Venezuela, despite the fraudulent nature of their contract which had been contested by that country.
Questionably, Obaid has been granted a million dollars a month from that frozen money to pay his lawyers and to cover his alleged ‘business expenses’ which largely amount to keeping him in luxury accommodation in the five star sanatorium where he has taken refuge in Geneva.
Meanwhile, lawyers for PetroSaudi have evidently been busy. According to Gotham City, court papers lodged in March show that they have petitioned for the Swiss Prosecutors who have been pursuing numerous charges of theft, fraud and false imprisonment against Obaid and Mahony, to be removed from the case and for their charges to be set aside.
The reason? The PetroSaudi lawyers claim that negotiations to repatriate the cash to Malaysia, doubtless in return for the dropping charges, are being impeded by the actions of the same Swiss prosecutors.
If this is the case, then it means that the PetroSaudi Boys have been pursuing exactly the same strategy that Jho Low was secretly advancing through negotiations with the Attorney General’s Chambers revealed last month.
Namely, the dropping of charges in return for cash back to the coup coalition government that is led by the very same corrupted UMNO party who supported Najib Razak and his thefts and cover-ups before being removed at the last election.
It is no secret that BN/PN are desperately seeking to replenish their war chests in advance of the next upcoming election. A handy injection of $300 plus million would doubtless be welcome on many fronts.
It leaves many questions in Malaysia. First, who is behind this latest secret and scandalous gambit to let off the key 1MDB crooks in return for their cash?
Is Najib’s former AG and trusted envoy Apandi Ali once more the link man having been approached by PetroSaudi’s lawyers in the same way that Jho Low’s lawyers were found to have reached out last month?
If so, what is the status of these negotiations and will the Malaysian government move to let off Mahony and Obaid or ‘bottle it’ as they did with Jho? What sum was being offered to tempt the as yet un-identified representatives from the Malaysian side?
Such outrageous deals need to be condemned in Malaysia and neither Switzerland nor the United States ought to contemplate accepting such a deal. Neither ought any international court release the PetroSaudi money to Malaysia in a deal that would enable some of the worst global fraudsters and criminals to get off Scot free having stolen Malaysia’s public money.
Malaysians deserve to see the foreign crooks as well as local crooks who stole their money receive the punishment they deserve.