Swiss Attorney General Lauber under fire over ‘stalled’ 1MDB investigation

Reports of a link between the Vatican's financial security controller René Brülhart's to the Swiss AG and Tariq Obaid, a suspected mastermind in the 1MDB heist is sparking rumours of a collusion and attempts to cover-up the scandal

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Switzerland was one of the first countries to start an investigation on the 1MDB scandal, but two years after it opened its case file on the scandal involving the Malaysian state investment fund, nothing or little has come out of the investigation.

Sarawak Report is of the view that there is almost no action from Switzerland and from its Attorney General Michel Lauber despite the volumes of evidence available to the Swiss authorities.

Reports of a link between the Vatican’s financial security controller René Brülhart’s to the Swiss AG and Tariq Obaid, a suspected mastermind in the 1MDB heist is sparking rumours of a collusion and attempts to cover-up the scandal.

Sarawak Report says, “It is clear that like Jho Low, Obaid and his associates have poured large sums of money into hiring teams of lawyers and PR professionals to manage coverage of the story, advocate their position and harass journalists seeking to report on the situation (including Sarawak Report which has been the target of aggressive legal action and sustained defamation linked to PetroSaudi).

“Today, it has emerged, according to Tribune de Geneve, that included in those companies for hire is TD International part belonging René Brülhart, who controls financial security at the Vatican and used to work with Michael Lauber.

Among their clients, TD International and René Brülhart had Petrosaudi and its co-founder Tarek Obaid. Based in London, Riyadh and, at the time of the facts, Geneva, Petrosaudi is believed to have played a central role in the S$1.8 billion hijacking of the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB between 2009 and 2012. Tarek Obaid and Petrosaudi contest any irregularity and benefit at this stage of the proceedings from the presumption of innocence, wrote the Swiss newspaper Tribune de Geneve.

The Swiss paper says Vatican financial policeman Brülhart, saw funds from his companies blocked by the Swiss courts after a report by the anti-money laundering authority last week.

“The money comes from an oil company, Petrosaudi, suspected of massive embezzlement with the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. This is one of the most important cases investigated by the Public Ministry of Confederation, led by the same Michael Lauber. In 2016 and 2017, Petrosaudi paid some 2.5 million francs in fees to René Brülhart’s companies,” says The Tribune.

The paper is also questioning if by hiring René Brülhart’s company, did Petrosaudi seek direct contact with the Attorney General of the Confederation?

In early 2018, according to the newspaper Le Temps, Petrosaudi had discussed with the Federal Public Ministry the possibility of concluding a sentence negotiated in the 1MDB case.

This simplified procedure requires a certain leniency by the judiciary and saves the convicts a trial, says the Swiss paper. -/TISG

Picture Credit: Tribune De Geneve
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