As Najib Threatens Legal Action, WSJ Says It Stands By Its Report On The PM

"It's a significant story and we take it very seriously," said WSJ Hong Kong bureau chief Ken Brown on their expose on the Malaysian PM's involvement in the debt-laden 1MDB.

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Zahid Hamidi: I've met the Arab "king and prince" who donated US$700 million

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

Image via Malaysian Insider

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he has met the wealthy Arab family who had donated the US$700 million (S$986 million) that was channelled into Prime Minister Najib Razak's personal account.

He said the "king and prince", whom he did not name, had donated the money because of Malaysia's commitment in fighting terrorism, and being a moderate Muslim country with a plural society.

"Those were the answers given to me when I asked them the reason for their donation. They have also helped other Islamic countries," he explained.

He said he had also met the investment officer of the wealthy Arab family, who explained how the first US$100 millon was given via a cheque under Datuk Seri Najib's name and the rest through other channels.

"I saw the documents myself - the original documents, not photostated ones, and I also saw the money trail," he added.

He assured the people that the donation was 100 per cent from the Arab family and not from the Retirement Fund Inc. or 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

23 AUG: Why hasn't Najib sued the WSJ and Sarawak Report, asks Tony Pua

Image via Choo Choy May

DAP today questioned why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has yet to sue both Sarawak Report and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) for their reports on the US$700 million (RM2.67 billion) transferred into his private accounts, after his deputy stressed not a single sen had been linked to government pensions fund Kumpulan Wang Amanah Persaraan (KWAP).

DAP MP Tony Pua cast doubt today on Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s claim that not one sen from the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) had been involved in the transfer of RM2.6 billion into Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s accounts, pointing out that the matter was still under investigation.

The Petaling Jaya Utara MP asked Zahid to explain how he had arrived at such a conclusion when SRC International Sdn Bhd, a Finance Ministry-owned firm currently under probe by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), is funded entirely by a RM4 billion loan from KWAP.

National publicity secretary Tony Pua said both the whisleblower site and financial newspaper had highlighted clearly that RM42 million of funds originating from a former subsidiary of troubled 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), SRC International Sdn Bhd, went directly into Najib's personal bank accounts.

"If Zahid is so certain that none of the monies deposited into the prime minister’s account came from SRC International, which took a RM4 billion loan from KWAP, why didn’t Najib sue both The Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report for defamation?" he asked in referring to Najib's deputy, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

"Hence, how did the new deputy prime minister come to the conclusion that his superior never received a sen from SRC International, which is funded entirely with the RM4 billion loan from KWAP, guaranteed by the Federal government

Both publications had exposed the money trail on the nearly US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) worth of deposits that investigators discovered were channelled into the prime minister’s accounts.

Of the RM2.6 billion, RM42 million is believed to have originated from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB that is currently parked under the Finance Ministry that Najib heads.

17 AUG: UMNO leader says RM2.6 billion was donated as a sign of appreciation for curbing IS threats

Image via The Malay Mail

The RM2.6 billion channelled to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s account was given as an appreciation for Malaysia’s efforts in combating Islamic State (IS) threats and upholding Islam. This was reported to have been said by Kuantan Umno division chief Datuk Seri Wan Adnan Wan Mamat, who added that other countries also received similar funds from Saudi Arabia.

"It was an appreciation to Malaysia for championing Islam and for practising Sunni Islam (Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah). Not only Malaysia received the donation from Saudi Arabia, two or three more countries also received, including the Muslim community in the Philippines and (Southern) Thailand," Wan Adnan was quoted as saying.

Wan Adnan claimed Najib said this to 146 Umno divisional leaders at a meeting last Wednesday. He said Najib had explained that the funds went to his personal accounts as the donation from Saudi Arabia was made to Najib and not to the party.

12 AUG: DAP invites Najib over for fundraising dinner tonight

A spot has been reserved by DAP at its fundraiser event tonight, at Petaling Jaya City Council's Civic Hall, for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in order to offer him an insight to the party's ways of raising money. In a statement, Selangor DAP chairman Tony Pua said following Najib's repeated enquiries regarding the party's funding sources, the invite may give the Prime Minister a proper platform for him to explain the RM2.6 billion donation.

"This is the perfect opportunity for Najib to explain how he received and spent his RM2.6 billion donation to the crowd. I am certain that they look forward to greeting the Prime Minister with all the necessary decorum and provide him every opportunity to explain his case," said Pua in the statement.

"This dinner is in complete contrast to Barisan Nasional dinners which are completely free, augmented by lucky draws of hundreds of lucrative prizes," Pua added.

Najib earlier this month said he was ready to declare Umno's sources of funding if DAP would do the same.

Two seats have been reserved for the Prime Minister and his wife in DAP's fundraiser tonight so that he can see for himself how the party raises funds for its operations. Would Najib accept the invitation?

11 AUG: PM is just "a victim of double standards and allegations", says Nazri

Image via The Rakyat Post

Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz saw nothing wrong in party donations being transferred into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal account.

“It’s not fair to him. If (someone) gives donations, there is nothing wrong,” the Tourism and Culture Minister told reporters after officiating at the declaration of the 2015 National Heritage at the National Museum today.

Nazri went on to defend the PM, saying that the RM2.6 billion donation was from a 'brotherly' nation

He said the RM2.6bil donation deposited into Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's personal account, was from a "brotherly nation", adding that this would not make it susceptible to meddling from the Middle East.

"I would like to remind all political parties ... don't lie la saying that they don't receive donations.

"The donation was given to us by a friendly nation, a nation which is not much stronger than us. Not like the US that can influence us," he said on whether Malaysia would come under the influence foreign power as a result of the donation.

"But this is just a brotherly nation which wants to see certain parties win in the general election because we are friendly to them. There's nothing wrong."

10 AUG: Attacking my dad would only bring hardship to the people of Malaysia, says Najib's son

Mohd Nazifuddin Najib

Image via The Star

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's son has implored Malaysians to stop attacking his father, saying that it will only hurt the country, Utusan Malaysia reported today. Describing the attacks as personal, Mohd Nazifuddin said the allegations levelled against his father would cause the people to suffer.

He said the personal attacks against Najib would only bring hardship to the people because it would not improve the country, and instead worsen the situation.

In a report in Utusan Malaysia today, he reportedly urged members of the public not to be easily swayed by rumours, and consider its long-term implications on peace and harmony in the country.

“The loss of confidence (in Najib) would cause people to become willing to ‘sacrifice’ the country simply to topple the prime minister.

“This is because foreign investors would be too afraid to invest because they don’t think the country is stable, and this in turn causes the value of our currency to drop and affect the whole economy,” he reportedly said.

Nazifuddin said the accusations against his father appeared to be part of a concerted plan by certain quarters to unseat the prime minister. "Those quarters should realise that the pressure they are piling on him is not fixing the situation. On the contrary, it is worsening multiple aspects of the country, and eventually we will feel the effects.

“I hope people are not easily influenced by rumours and think of the long-term implications on the country’s welfare,” he said during the launch of a cafe in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

Najib is currently embroiled in the 1MDB scandal, in which he is the chairperson of the state investment company’s advisory board.

Among others, he is accused of receiving some RM2.6 billion in his personal account, with RM42 million supposedly channelled from former 1MDB subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Najib had previously denied taking public money for personal use, while 1MDB has denied that its money had gone to Najib’s account.
Image via TMI

Najib an "honest and transparent" leader, says Sabah UMNO deputy chief

Datuk Seri Salleh Said Kerua

Image via The Rakyat Post

Sabah Umno deputy chief Datuk Seri Salleh Said Kerua has come out to defend Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the row over a RM2.6 billion donation, saying his party president had proven himself to be “honest and transparent” when he explained last weekend that the funds were meant for the party and MACC's statement provided clear proof that the prime minister had nothing to hide.

The Umno leader, who was just over a week ago picked by Najib to be the new federal communications and multimedia minister, said, however, that it was imperative that the prime minister’s explanation be repeatedly drummed into the minds of party members.

To me, it is important now to have continuous clarification to the party members, right down to the grassroots to prevent any confusion or misunderstanding,” he said.

He said critics who have made baseless accusations that the RM2.6 billion had been fraudulently deposited into Najib’s accounts were merely voicing their personal opinions.

4 AUG: RM2.6 billion worth of donations came from UMNO supporters, says Khairy

Image via The Star

The RM2.6 billion donation deposited into Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's private bank accounts came from Umno's supporters, said party Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

"I was made to understand the contribution came from supporters and donors. We hold on to MACC's (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) statement that the donation came from donors and supporters," he told reporters.

Yesterday, MACC issued a statement claiming that investigations revealed the sum was from donation and not 1MDB funds.

3 AUGUST: RM2.6 billion in Najib's account were from donations, not 1MDB funds

Image via The Star

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigation over alleged RM2.6 billion channelled Najib's account showed that the money did not come from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), instead it came from donations, said the anti-graft agency in a statement issued today. It also urged the public to avoid making any speculations until the investigation is completed.

"MACC’s investigation focused only on issue relating to SRC International and the channelling of RM2.6 billion into Najib’s account while the police were conducting investigations on 1MDB and Bank Negara Malaysia. Investigation on SRC International involving a fund of RM4 billion is still ongoing," MACC commission said in the statement.

The commission also touched on police investigations over its officers and besides promising full cooperation, MACC reiterated that none of its officers are involved in any ploy to topple the government.

23 JULY: WSJ will stand by its report that USD700 million (RM2.67 billion) was found in Najib's personal bank accounts

Image via Straits Times

Dow Jones & Company, the publisher for The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), confirmed today it has responded to the request for clarification from lawyers representing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and said that it will continue to stand by the accuracy of its reports. Without revealing details, a representative from Dow Jones said in an email that the firm issued its response yesterday.

Yes we responded to the lawyers’ letter yesterday and continue to stand by our reporting,” the Dow Jones spokesman said.

There is little choice for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak but to sue for defamation now that The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has stood by its report. Lawyer Datuk Bastian Pius Vendargon said Najib's next step was to name the journalist and publisher, Dow Jones & Company, as defendants to kickstart his civil action for loss of reputation.

"I don't think it is necessary for Najib's lawyers to send a notice of demand to ask the publisher to retract the report and ask for an apology since they are firm on their stand," he said.

WSJ has yet to respond to Najib's legal letter regarding claims on 1MDB

Image via The Malay Mail

The Wall Street Journal has yet to respond to the legal letter sent by the prime minister's lawyers to state their stand on claims that US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) was channelled into Datuk Seri Najib Razak's personal accounts.

Lawyer Wan Azmir Wan Majid, speaking on behalf of legal firm Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak, said the firm had yet to receive a response to the letter sent to WSJ publisher, Dow Jones, on July 8, adding that the deadline ends today.

"If we don't receive anything by today, then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has a few legal options.

"Among them would be to sue or to issue a letter of demand to WSJ," Wan Azmir was quoted saying today.

15 JULY: Najib's lawyer says the WSJ article is confusing

Mohd Hafarizam Harun

Image via The Star Online

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's lead counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam bin Harun today defended his "confirmation letter" to Dow Jones, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

Hafarizam claimed that the letter was meant to get the international media giant to clarify its stand in a bid to provide better legal advice to the prime minister in future, failing which he said would constitute "professional negligence" on his part.

The Wall Street Journal article was not clear on whether Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was accused of taking funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), said counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun. Mohd Hafarizam, whose law firm is acting for the Prime Minister, said the article was "neither here or there".

"The article is not clear on whether they are alleging that the money is from 1MDB or not. Why we sent a letter of clarification is because we want the WSJ to tell us what their position is. Once that position has been taken, then it is easier for me to advise my client. Otherwise I will be bordering on conjecture. I would have to assume that they meant 1MDB or assume that they did not mean 1MDB."

"It would be rather difficult for me as a plaintiff to advise my client if I am not sure what their position is," he told reporters on Monday.

Mohd Hafarizam said he had advised Najib that the WSJ article was unclear.

"Yes, my law firm can say whether the article is defamatory or not - but if I wrongly give advice, then I am also subject to professional negligence. The first two paragraphs of the article seem to suggest the money was from 1MDB, but then when you look further, they mention 'the source is not known'," he added.

He said his firm would seek Najib's instructions once WSJ stated its position on the matter.

So far, the lawyer said his firm, Mssrs Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak, had yet to receive any reply from the WSJ regarding their stand on the allegations in the their articles published on July 2 and 6.

The WSJ has until Tuesday (July 21) to reply to the letter, which was sent on July 8, he added.

14 JULY: As 1MDB storm continues, Najib says, "Don't listen to nonsense, truth will emerge in the end"

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak

Image via Reuters

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak came out today asking the public not to believe allegations thrown at him and his family on social media. In a speech at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur tonight, Najib said the government will make sure the truth about all the allegations will be put forth, though he did not specify when.

"Don't listen to nonsense. There is too much nonsense on social media. Don't listen to it all. Not all of it is true. We will ensure that the truth will emerge in the end. If (they) say billions of ringgit from 1MDB have disappeared, listen to the Auditor-General's report and find out if it is true or not. I don't want to make any announcements, let him do it," Najib said in a speech after breaking fast at the Salahuddin Al-Ayubi mosque in Taman Melati, Kuala Lumpur.

The embattled PM is feeling the heat over the expose by The Wall Street Journal which claims that US$700 million (RM 2.6 billion) was deposited into his personal bank accounts. 1MDB is at present under investigation by the the National Audit Department and the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Najib's lawyers give WSJ 14 days to confirm allegations of "misappropriation"

Image via Asia One

UMNO lawyers representing Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be sending a letter of confirmation to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) instead of the usual letter of demand to confirm if it accused the Malaysian prime minister of misappropriating US$700 million it alleged was funnelled into his accounts from 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

“Letter to seek confirmation first. We want WSJ to state their stand on the source of money said to have been deposited into client’s personal account,” said lead counsel, Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun.

In the letter addressed to WSJ's board of directors, Dow Jones and Company Inc, his lawyers gave WSJ 14 days to respond to the letter. In the press release accompanying the legal notice issued to WSJ, Najib's lawyers also outlined the steps needed to be taken before any conclusive legal action can proceed.

"Firstly, we have been instructed to identify the parties involved in the authorship, distribution and publishing. Secondly, another issue of concern is, jurisdictional issues of which the publication originates from United States of America and accessible worldwide."

"The third issue is to tackle all possible or plausible legal remedies of which our client shall be given advise on an action of defamation, further tortuous actions and remedies including any statutory violations by WSJ and related companies and (if any) conspirers."

Letter of Confirmation to WSJ

Image via Malaysian Digest

8 JULY: PM Najib has indicated he may take legal action against the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) for its report alleging that RM2.6 billion of 1MDB's fund was funnelled into the PM's personal bank accounts

PM Najib Razak

Image via The Star Online

4 JULY: Najib's political secretary, Muhammad Khairun Aseh told Sinar Harian, a Malay daily, that the WSJ report was criminal defamation

“The report was done with bad intention and based on unsubstantiated and dubious sources. We will take legal action,” he was quoted as saying by Sinar Harian.

The PM has vehemently denied the WSJ allegation

Najib Razak denies taking funds from 1MDB, blaming Dr Mahathir Mohamad for orchestrating the attacks against him.

Image via The Malaysian Insider

"I have never taken funds for personal gain as alleged by my political opponents – whether from 1MDB, SRC International or other entities, as these companies have confirmed," he said in a statement late last night.

The prime minister then went on to accuse former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad of perpetrating the allegations against him.

Mahathir has become a staunch critic of Najib's handling of the finance ministry-owned 1MDB which has accumulated a debt of RM41.8 billion.

Meanwhile, the WSJ is standing by its report that billions of ringgit were channelled into the personal bank accounts of PM Najib, saying that their investigation was based on solid documentation

In an interview with CNBC, WSJ Hong Kong bureau chief Ken Brown said they had been very careful with the report, given the nature that it is against a country's leader.

"We are very careful and we believe the investigation and documents we have are solid and come from reliable investigation and not a political investigation."

WSJ’s Hong Kong bureau chief Ken Brown told US broadcaster CNBC’s Street Signs in an edited 2.43-minute phone interview uploaded last Thursday that its reports were based on documents that “had been shared with the Malaysian attorney-general, with others in the government so they’ve been seen by all and also the prime minister”.

Brown did not disclose how WSJ sighted the documents but stressed that his reporting team took a very serious view of the story that concerns the fate of Malaysia’s top leader and the huge sum of public money. He acknowledged that the ongoing national-level scrutiny of 1MDB’s accounts have turned into a “highly-politicised story”.

"It's a significant story and we take it very seriously."

"Any time you see the leader of a country has been […] at least the evidence showed money flowing into his personal accounts and tied to government deals, it is hugely dramatic," he said. Brown said the money trail ended at Najib's bank accounts and he did not know where the money subsequently went to.

When asked about the response from the Prime Minister's Office, Brown said it had merely stated that PM Najib had not taken any funds for personal use, The Malaysian Insider reported

“And they are accusing their political opponents of coming up with this story to get him. And that is the same kind of stuff they said from our earlier story on 1MDB, the way the money the fund took in was used in the last election campaign by the prime minister, so the reaction been the same," Brown said of the response from the PMO.

Asked if WSJ knew where the source of the money was from and what it was used for, Brown said they "know what they know", adding that the money trail ended in the bank accounts with the Prime Ministers name on it

“We know what we know. One batch of money came from a unit in the Finance Ministry and another batch came through a private bank affiliated to Abu Dhabi. Where the money went, we don’t know. The trail we have ends at bank accounts with the PM’s name on it,” he added.

Meanwhile, a PKR lawmaker has called on AmBank to clarify if Najib does indeed have personal accounts with the bank as alleged by the WSJ in its report, in order to clear the PM's name

PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli said only with the bank's clarification, could the people believe Najib, who has since denied the allegations in the WSJ article, which claimed that billions were channelled into his bank accounts.

"I am sure if Datuk Seri Najib Razak has nothing to hide, the best way to put a stop to the attacks on his credibility is to allow the bank (or any other bank in the country) to reveal every account that he had ever opened since becoming the prime minister in 2009," Rafizi said in a statement today. If it is proven that the account in AmBank, as revealed by WSJ and Sarawak Report, does not exist, then Datuk Seri Najib Razak can easily put a stop to this latest issue."

Read the facts from the WSJ and Sarawak Report's expose, here:

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