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Smear campaign backfires and Kit Siang panics

March 12, 2018 7:30 AM
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According to The Malaysian Insight news report below, Lim Kit Siang is panicking and is frantically getting in touch with the Swiss authorities to discuss what to do with the RM430 million they confiscated.

Kit Siang does not want the money returned to 1MDB or to the Malaysian Government. Switzerland, on the other hand, is planning to keep the money for themselves. Kit Siang is not happy with that either and he wants Switzerland to keep the money ‘in trust’ and to be used for the benefit of the 32 million Malaysian people.

How that is going to be done (and whether such a thing has ever be done before) is not clear because Kit Siang has not explained the mechanics of how to do it. If Switzerland uses the money, say to build Chinese schools in Penang, then only a handful of Malaysians would benefit from the money.

The problem is Switzerland confiscated the money due to a complaint lodged by Matthias Chang and Khairuddin Abu Hassan and not due to a complaint lodged by 1MDB or by the Malaysian Government. If 1MDB or the Malaysian Government want that money they have to lodge a complaint with the Swiss Government and submit proof that they lost that money or that the money was stolen from them.

But then 1MDB and/or the Malaysian Government did not lose that money. The money was not stolen from either 1MDB and/or the Malaysian Government. So how can 1MDB and/or the Malaysian Government claim that money back if they did not lose it or the money was not stolen from them? More importantly, how can 1MDB and/or the Malaysian Government show proof or offer evidence that they lost that money or that the money was stolen from them if the proof/evidence does not exist?

So, it looks like Pakatan Harapan’s smear campaign has backfired badly and Kit Siang is panicking. If Switzerland keeps the money, like how they plan to do, and not send the money to 1MDB or the Malaysian Government, like how they plan to do, then this only proves that the money may have been stolen from somewhere, but it was not stolen from 1MDB and/or the Malaysian Government.

In essence, Switzerland is helping prove that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak did not steal RM42 billion of 1MDB’s money, as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has alleged. And Pakatan Harapan needs to use this ‘RM42-billion of 1MDB’s money has disappeared into thin air’ story in the election campaign.

What Pakatan Harapan, or Matthias Chang and Khairuddin Abu Hassan, have done is merely to help Switzerland become richer by about half a billion Ringgit. To 1MDB or the Malaysian Government it does not really matter either way because it is not their money anyway. So, if the Swiss Government keeps that money for themselves, as what Kit Siang is worried may happen, it is no loss to 1MDB or to the Malaysian Government.

The same goes with the US$60 million that Red Granite Pictures has agreed to pay to the US government and the US$250 million Cayman Islands-flagged luxury yacht, Equanimity, that was impounded by the Indonesia Government. That RM1.2 billion cash and assets now belong to the American people, said MSNBC on Friday, 9th March 2018. This means the RM1.2 billion is also not going to be returned to 1MDB and/or the Malaysian Government.

Matthias Chang and Khairuddin Abu Hassan also went to the US to lodge complaints with the Department of Justice. So, because of this, the US is confiscating various cash and assets. On 20th July 2016, the US DoJ announced that around US$1 billion or roughly RM4 billion is being targeted. On 15th June 2017 the US DoJ revised that figure downwards to US$540 million or RM2.1 billion.

Anyway, whether it is RM4 billion or RM2 billion is not really the issue. The issue is all those confiscated cash and assets will belong to the American people, said the news report on Friday, and not to 1MDB or the Malaysian Government. And that is why Kit Siang is panicking. If the US and Swiss Governments confiscate billions from all over the world and keep the money for themselves, then what good would that do?

More importantly, how can they use this as ammunition in the GE14 general election campaign? If the US and Swiss Governments keep those cash and assets they confiscated and do not return it to 1MDB or to the Malaysian Government, that would mean the money was not stolen from 1MDB or from the Malaysian Government.

(TMI, 11 Mar 2018) – DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang has asked Swiss MPs to back a motion in Parliament to repatriate RM430 million in 1Malaysia Development Bhd-linked funds that was seized from Swiss banks.

“I have emailed Swiss MPs, asking them to support the motion,” he said in a statement today, adding that the ultimate goal is to channel back a portion of the allegedly stolen funds to an independent, non-governmental trust in Malaysia.

He said the fund is to “benefit Malaysians harmed by the 1MDB scandal”.

The Swiss Parliament is set to debate on Tuesday a motion calling for the repatriation of confiscated corruption-linked funds, including the 104 million Swiss francs (RM430 million) allegedly stolen and laundered from 1MDB.

Swiss lawmaker Sommaruga Carlo, of the Social Democratic Party, will table Motion 17.3547: Repatriation of confiscated corruption funds to the robbed populations.

Lim said it would be “inappropriate” to return the money to the Malaysian government, as “it is directly involved in the 1MDB scandal”.

“The RM430 million in 1MDB-linked funds confiscated from Swiss banks and financial companies should, instead, be held in a trust for the benefit of the people of Malaysia.”

He said “it would also be most improper and morally indefensible for the Swiss government to keep these monies for its own use, as it would set a bad international precedent in an era to declare and combat corruption as an international crime”.

Tuesday’s motion before the Swiss Parliament reads: “The Federal Council (cabinet) is instructed to repatriate to its country of origin, at least in part, profits unlawfully obtained in third-party countries by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, in accordance with the procedures of the Illegally Acquired Assets Act (SR 196.1) in the countries concerned.”

The motion was triggered by plans to absorb into the Swiss Treasury illicit funds linked to financial crimes, like in the 1MDB scandal, that were recovered by Swiss authorities.

“(The Swiss Treasury keeping the money) will be against the principle enunciated in the United Nations Convention Against Corruption 2003, that stolen corruption monies in foreign banks and institutions, like the stolen 1MDB-linked funds, should be repatriated back to Malaysia to benefit the victims of the 1MDB scandal – 30 million Malaysian people,” said Lim.

The repatriation of such funds hidden or stashed overseas, away from their country of origin, and their use to benefit the nationals harmed by such corrupt practices is a principle that has been accepted internationally as a result of the UN convention, which Malaysia signed in Mexico on December 9, 2003, and officially ratified on September 24, 2008.

A highlight of the convention is the inclusion of a specific chapter on asset recovery, aimed at returning assets to their rightful owners, including countries from which they had been taken illicitly.

Article 35 of the UN convention upholds the principle that “entities or persons, who have suffered damage as a result of an act of corruption, have the right to initiate legal proceedings against those responsible for that damage in order to obtain compensation”.

Lawmakers in the national council, the lower house of the Swiss federal assembly, are expected to vote on whether to repatriate the funds on Thursday.


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