In Hong Kong last week, investigative reporter and whistleblower for Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal, Clare Rewcastle Brown, said that more secret deals which occurred in connection with the scandal will emerge from Singapore and Hong Kong soon.
The South China Morning Post reports that Rewcastle, who was on tour promoting her book The Sarawak Report: The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose, said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong on November 7, “1MDB is going to rear its head in Hong Kong quite soon. A lot of the money stolen by the former ruling couple of Malaysia ended up here in Hong Kong. I cannot see how the lid is going to be kept on that much longer.”
That evening, at a separate gathering held by the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Macau, Rewcastle said that deals were done in secret in Singapore so that the money that former Prime Minister Najib Razak had taken from the fund would remain undiscovered.
“I think there are still secrets to come out of Singapore on 1MDB, and probably Malaysians will want to prise them out.”
Rewcastle had been kept for questioning by officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in Spetember, when she was stopped while leaving Singapore via Johor Bahru in September. The reporter had apparently been put on a blacklist in 2016.
Rewcastle’s book, published two months ago, narrates the reporter’s exposing of corruption in Malaysia’s politics, specifically that of Abdul Taib Mahmud, the former chief minister, now governor, of Sarawak. Taib has been accused of preferential treatment by awarding infrastructure contracts to his relatives, as well as turning a blind eye to the corruption in the timber sector that resulted in wide-scale virgin forest losses in Sarawak.
However, Rewcastle is most famously known for the expose on her blog, also entitled The Sarawak Report, showing that almost US $700 million was taken from 1MDB and put into the bank account of the former Prime Minister.
Rewcastle’s expose is said to have helped bring about Najib’s downfall. His successor, Prime Minister Dr. Tun Mahathir Mohamad, has been investigating the scandal, and while Najib and his wife Rosmah have pleaded innocent, charges have been brought against them.
Aside from Singapore and Hong Kong, there are at least 10 other places around the world that are believed to be involved in the 1MDB scandal. But Singapore is the first country to put wrongdoing bankers behind bars for breaking the laws in connection with the scandal, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has gone so far as to fine financial institutions including United Overseas Bank and Credit Suisse for the breach of money-laundering rules in connection to 1MDB.
MAS had also filed a police report against a writer for the States Times Review, who has been accused of “false and malicious” statements,” due to allegations in an article that PM Lee Hsien Loong had signed unfair agreements with former Prime Minister Najib.
In response to the article, MAS wrote, “Singapore’s law enforcement and regulatory agencies had also been cooperating actively with their counterparts in Malaysia, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the United States of America during the tenure of the previous Malaysian government.
MAS has placed utmost importance on safeguarding its integrity as a financial regulator, and takes seriously any false allegations to the contrary.”