Frankly Speaking: Closing in on the truth

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on November 5, 2018 - November 11, 2018.
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Last week, the US Department of Justice indicted former bankers Tim Leissner and Roger Ng, along with fugitive financier Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, for financial transactions linked to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

The three men were charged with conspiring to launder billions of dollars in illegal proceeds from 1MDB and for conspiring to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes.

This is a landmark development in a multinational investigation into what may be the world’s largest financial scandal, with US bankers facing criminal charges — a rare event in recent memory.

It is worth noting that Leissner has pleaded guilty. Thus, it is fair to presume that some sort of plea bargaining is taking place now between Leissner and the US prosecutors in exchange for leniency.  

As an insider who has now admitted to participating in the alleged wrongdoings, Leissner would have direct knowledge of what exactly transpired and who else was involved.

It is therefore critical that Malaysian investigators continue to work closely with their US counterparts, as well as those from other jurisdictions, to leverage such disclosures as they pursue those responsible.  Any new information may improve the odds of recovering as much of the lost funds as possible.

As for Ng, he was arrested in Malaysia last week while Jho Low remains at large. Hopefully, more developments unfolding over the coming weeks and months will get Malaysians closer to the truth.

Only then will the betrayal of Malaysians’ trust in the 1MDB scandal be resolved and justice brought to bear on those responsible.

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