Kuala Lumpur—The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on June 16, Sunday, that two executives with ties to the massive 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal have been jailed in Abu Dhabi due to financial crimes.
Khadem Al Qubaisi, who used to be the head of Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) has received a 15-year prison sentence.
Mohammed Badawy Al Husseiny, a US citizen, received a 10-year prison sentence. Mr Al Husseiny used to helm a subsidiary of IPIC.
Additionally, Messrs Al Qubaisi and Badawy are required to pay US$336 million (S$ 460 million). Half of the amount is considered a penalty to be paid to the Abu Dhabi criminal court, while the other half is to be paid IPIC.
Mr Al Qubaisi was found guilty of “exploiting his job and unlawfully appropriating €149 million (S$ 229 million) after selling shares he owns for the company he heads, without disclosing his ownership of the shares, for €210 million (S$323 million).”
However, according to the report from WSJ, this conviction is unrelated to the 1MDB scandal, and according to the statement from the Abu Dhabi court, the investigations that led to this conviction were part of a wider investigation into allegations of graft by the Abu Dhabi Public Funds Prosecution.
Mr Al Husseiny was allegedly found guilty of “exploiting his position and facilitating the seizure of the company’s money by” Mr Al Qubaisi, who in January denied the allegations against him, saying that he was being used as a “scapegoat” in the involvement of UAE in the 1MDB scandal.
Messrs Al Qubaisi and Al Husseiny are among the co-conspirators accused of the misappropriation of US$4.5 billion (S$ 6.6 billion) in 1MDB funds.
Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is currently on trial for abuse of position, criminal breach of trust and money laundering in connection with RM42 million (S$ 13.8 million) from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB.
Last month, the Government of Malaysia, as well as the country’s police, filed two civil forfeiture suits against former prime minister Najib Razak and wife Rosmah Mansor as well as other individuals, in order to take possession of items worth RM711million (S$234 million) which had purportedly been purchased using funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The items include cash, luxury vehicles, jewellery, and designer handbags. This forfeiture would be the next step following authorities having taken possession of valuables from properties in the capital city district of Bukit Bintang and other venues.
There were also two notices of motion and supporting affidavits filed in the High Court, and the first notice of motion was for the seizure of a property in the Klang Valley, as well as various luxury items such as jewellery, handbags, watches and sunglasses, and cash in different currencies, totaling RM680 million (S$223.4 million).
The second motion was for the seizure of 27 luxury cars, 29 bank accounts, watches, and bags plus cash which included foreign currencies worth RM31 million (S$10.2 million). After last year’s General Election in May, the police raided various homes and offices connected to ex-PM Najib.
Police Commissioner Amar Singh, who had been the commercial crime investigation department director at Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Aman police headquarters, had described the seizure as the biggest in Malaysia’s history, with the total value of the items seized estimated to be between RM900 million (S$295.6 million) and RM1.1 billion (S$ 361.3 million).
Among the items seized were cash in 26 different currencies worth around RM 135 million; 12,000 items of jewelry with an estimated retail value of RM756 million, including 1,400 necklaces, 2,200 rings, 2,100 bangles, 2,800 pairs of earrings, 1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras; 567 handbags from 37 different designer brands, with the Hermes bags alone worth approximately RM59 million; 423 watches worth an estimated RM92 million and 234 pairs of sunglasses worth an estimated RM373,000./ TISG