President charged for accepting bribe and compromising image of the country

President Michel Temer was charged with corruption by Brazil’s prosecutor general late Monday. He was accused of taking a $152,000 bribe via an intermediary, an act that, according to the prosecutor general, Rodrigo Janot, “helped to compromise the image of the Federal Republic of Brazil.”


Elections are looming next year, and many lawmakers are facing their own corruption investigations. They may well feel safer siding with the government, even one as shaky as Mr. Temer’s, said Marcus Melo, a professor of political science at the Federal University of Pernambuco.

“He is a lame duck, but incredible as it sounds, he can count on this base because they, too, are implicated in many things,” Mr. Melo said.

On Monday, a federal police report said there were indications that Mr. Temer had obstructed justice in apparently encouraging Mr. Batista to keep making payments to Eduardo Cunha, the former speaker of the lower house of Congress, who has been jailed in another corruption case. This could mean a separate charge against the president.

On Monday, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a former president and elder statesman of the party, said in a newspaper column that Mr. Temer should make a “grand gesture” and cut short his mandate.

source: New York Times

Posted in jijik

Faced with president’s silence, there is irrefutable evidence of corruption

Brazil’s federal police Tuesday said there was solid evidence embattled President Michel Temer received bribes, a legal development that could see him suspended from office.

In a report the Federal Supreme Court said Temer — who was away in Russia Tuesday — benefited from bribe funds, even if he did so using someone else to collect or deposit the bribes.

Temer has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

But Brazil’s top court said it had accumulated enough evidence of bribes being paid to merit an investigation into Temer for “passive corruption.”

…“Faced with silence from the president and his former assistant, there is irrefutable evidence… showing strongly that passive corruption (on Temer’s part) took place,” the document said in part….

source: Desiforce

Posted in jijik

Malaysia’s first lady linked to $30 mln worth of jewelry bought with 1MDB funds

imageNearly $30 million of funds stolen from scandal-hit 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was used to buy jewelry for the prime minister’s wife, including a rare 22-carat pink diamond set in a necklace, according to the latest filings by the U.S. Justice Department in a civil lawsuit.

The filings lodged at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday did not identify Prime Minister Najib Razak or his wife Rosmah Mansor by name, but said the jewelry purchases were for the wife of “Malaysian Official 1.”

Malaysian and U.S. government sources have previously confirmed that “Malaysian Official 1” refers to Najib.

The diamond necklace set alone cost $27.3 million, according to the latest filings in a lawsuit that was launched last July….

source: Reuters

Posted in jijik

Top public officer convicted of misconduct in public office

Donald Tsang Yam-kuen became Hong Kong’s first ever chief executive to be convicted in a criminal trial as the High Court on Friday found him guilty of misconduct in public office when he was the city’s leader.

After a six-week trial, Tsang faces a maximum sentence of seven years behind bars for misconduct in public office between 2010 and 2012. Tsang, 72, was granted bail, as the case was adjourned to Monday for mitigation by his defence team.

During the trial, the prosecution portrayed Tsang as a two-faced liar who had used his public position to collude with rich businessmen for personal gain, …

source: South China Morning Post

Posted in jijik

Najib’s government cracks down on freedom of speech, in wake of 1MDB scandal

A senior Malaysian journalist who quit his job at a leading newspaper said Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government has cracked down on freedom of speech as it tries to limit the fallout from a graft scandal surrounding a state investment fund.

…A journalist’s responsibility is “first to the truth,” Mr. Mustapha wrote.

Investigators in at least seven countries are probing 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, a government investment fund Mr. Najib set up in 2009 to boost growth. Some investigators have said they believe $6 billion has gone missing.
Hundreds of millions of dollars originating from 1MDB allegedly moved into Mr. Najib’s private accounts via a web of offshore entities, and was spent on politics, jewelry and clothes, The Wall Street Journal has reported, citing investigators and bank-transfer documents.

Mr. Najib’s government has banned newspapers it controls—which include the New Straits Times and the larger-circulation Malay-language Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia newspapers—from covering the 1MDB story, Mr. Mustapha said in an interview.

News releases from 1MDB denying stories in the Journal and calling into question its sources would sometimes come to the New Straits Times from the prime minister’s office with orders to run the statements in their entirety, according to Mr. Mustapha. The newspaper did as they were told.

“There are specific instructions to use this or that story, and we’re not allowed to question,” he said….Mr. Najib’s administration has cracked down on criticism of 1MDB in other ways. Last year, a former ruling-party politician was arrested on charges of economic sabotage after he called for an investigation into 1MDB. He was later released on bail.

“When an American newspaper…wrote a story that got nominated for the coveted Pulitzer Prize, about an issue that happened right under my nose, I began to seriously search my conscience and asked myself why I was in journalism in the first place,” he said.

source: Wall Street Journal

Posted in BN, jijik, najib, umno

Najib’s 1MDB mess continues to entangle Malaysia

..Prime Minister Najib’s 1MDB mess is wrapping its tentacles around an entire nation. The unpredictable ways in which it threatens to drag Southeast Asia’s third-biggest economy under, like some massive vampire squid, can be seen in Putrajaya’s balance sheet. Could it even lead to a credit downgrade?

Yes, argues Sian Fenner of Oxford Economics in Singapore. Malaysia’s total government debt, she reckons, ended 2015 at 54.5% of gross domestic product, a heavy burden relative to Asian peers. As Najib dismantles the debt-ridden 1MDB he created in 2009, his government may have to assume some liabilities. According to Fenner’s calculations, that could top 2.5% of GDP. “We find that it would have a material effect on asset prices and pressure on the exchange rate could see Bank Negara raising interest rates to support the currency despite weaker domestic activity,” she says.

In March, Fitch warned a downgrade was “more than 50 percent likely” as 1MDB struggled to meet obligations and the trade balance darkened. Last month, 1MDB defaulted, adding to what traders call “headline risk.” At the same time, corruption probes in at least seven countries are intensifying even as Najib’s government insists the case is closed. Hardly, with overseas investigators sniffing around to locate more than $6 billion of funds believed to be unaccounted for. And as the Wall Street Journal alleges, investigators are all over hundreds of millions of dollars Najib and his family may have used to finance everything from real estate to jewelry to Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Wolf of Wall Street” film.

Sadly, Putrajaya’s response has been to circle the wagons and blame the messenger. Najib recently said his central bank directed the police to investigate foreign media outlets breaking news on 1MDB. That’s an ominous sign for the state of central-bank autonomy in Kuala Lumpur. As I wrote last month, there are questions about whether new Governor Muhammad Ibrahim can maintain the same independence as predecessor Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

Far from boosting Malaysia’s economy, 1MDB is denting its standing as global headwinds intensify. Last week, Credit Suisse became the latest investment bank – joining JP Morgan and others – in downgrading Malaysian shares. Along with “considerable political and governance risks,” Credit Suisse cites oil-price trends and an economy that “remains subject to negative growth revisions and a weak consumer.”

This circles back to Fenner’s view. Since late 2009, she says, the share of debt held by foreigners has more than doubled, and amounted to more than a third of total debt at the end of the first quarter. The drip, drip, drip of bad news since then only increases Malaysia’s vulnerability to shifts in investor sentiment. “While at these levels debt is still manageable, there are several factors that have increased Malaysia’s vulnerability,” Fenner warns.

It should worry investors that 1MDB’s tentacles are wrapped so tightly around what should be one of Asia’s most vibrant economies.

One is how a government in full survival mode isn’t restructuring an economy falling further behind. Early in his premiership that began in 2009, Najib pledged to scale back the affirmative-action polities benefiting the ethnic-Malay majority. That scheme, implemented by Najib’s prime minister father in the early 1970s, kills productivity, deadens innovation and encourages multinational companies to set up shop in Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam instead of Malaysia.

Another is how Najib’s party, which has held power since 1946, is neutering government institutions to extend its reign. Case in point: a proposed overseas travel ban on Malaysians who criticize the government. The assault on the media, both domestic and foreign, is troubling, too. For a reality check, I recommend reading Wall Street Journalreporter Tom Wright’s interview with Mustapha Kamil, who recently resigned from New Straits Times newspaper to protest “authoritarian” winds coursing through officialdom.

The more Malaysia obfuscates on 1MDB, the more outside parties pounce. It was truly surreal to see Najib hosting Asia’s World Economic Forum in Kuala Lumpur last week, pretending all’s well in his economy. U.S. law enforcement officials scheduling interviews with Goldman executives (according to the Journal) would disagree. At issue is the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act, which demands financial institutions flag suspicious transactions. It should worry Najib’s team that a law employed to snag Ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff is looking their way.

It should worry investors that 1MDB’s tentacles are wrapped so tightly around what should be one of Asia’s most vibrant economies. With vast natural resources, 30 million people and enviable proximity to China and India, the place should be thriving. Yet it’s run by a party putting its own interests ahead of the masses. And now, Najib’s creature is squeezing Malaysia’s credit rating. No wonder investigators and investors alike have that sinking feeling.

 source: Barrons
Posted in BN, jijik, najib

Rising public anger over Tokyo governor’s lavish spending

Tokyo’s embattled governor has apologised in the face of rising public anger over alleged inappropriate spending.

Yoichi Masuzoe has come under intense media grilling over lavish outlays on overseas business trips, online auction purchases and accommodation at high-end hotels and spas.

…The telegenic, French-speaking Masuzoe took office in February 2014. A former health and labour minister and member of parliament, he pledged an administration free of money scandals.

But trouble started in late April when reports emerged that he was using his official car to be driven at the weekends to and from a cottage south of Tokyo.

It was later revealed that official trips taken to London and Paris with 20 metropolitan officials last year cost taxpayers 50 million yen (RM1.8mil), with Masuzoe flying first class and staying in luxury suites.

He also allegedly used political funds to buy items such as children’s pyjamas.

source: The Star

Posted in jijik
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