Along with the blog’s editor Claire Rewcastle Brown, the major opposition parties in Malaysia was also conned believing an event held in Switzerland was an open forum to discuss critical issues related to 1MDB and its harmful impacts.
In a lengthy detail of the what it called the ‘undercover ops’ headed by a PR firm close to the Barisan Nasional (BN) government in Malaysia, the Sarawak Report editor narrates the facts and pins the blame on Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
It said the stint took place at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and was hosted by its ‘Observatory on Security” (OUS), part of the university’s Global Studies Institute.
The blog said what was supposed to. be a public seminar on the troubled 1MDB, turned out to be a bogus event in which the organisers tried to persuade the attendants on how the money seized by Switzerland could be put to the good cause.
It was also an attempt to coerce the participants to believe that 1MDB was not a destabilising factor, with the organiser of the event the Vice-President of OUS, Nicolas Giannakopoulos angrily arguing about Malaysia’s stability and that he was working for the Swiss Attorney General
Clare Rewcastle Brown, Editor of Sarawak Report; Muhyddin bin Yassin, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia and Nurul Izza Anwar – Member of the Malaysian Parliament for Lembah Pantai were all confirmed as speakers at the event.
Sarawak Report said the event was a pro-BN stint, in which dubious film makers were allowed to attend in a bid to record conversations
Giannakopoulos were having with the attendats.
The aim, the blog said, was to produce a film that would dispell the 1MDB scandal, perhaps as a preview to the upcoming elections?
The organisers also said the invited attendance will be mostly officials from the Swiss Dept. of Foreign Affairs, the Public Ministry and Federal Dept. of Justice”, continued the official invitation, which bore the University of Geneva logo and stamp at its heading.
Sarawak Report said its editor turned out at the event, but the Yassin and Anwar Ibrahim’s daughter Nurul Izzah were absent, and obviously, there were no Swiss officials.
However, the crowd was composed of members of the opposition parties and NGO’s that battled it out to expose the 1MDB scandal.
The only other Swiss in the room were three campaigners already known to be openly engaged on Malaysian corruption issues, namely the Director of the Swiss Bruno Manser Fund, Pascal Najadi (son of the murdered AmBank founder) and Laura Justo, wife of the then still imprisoned whistle-blower on 1MDB, Xavier Justo.
The organisers also broke their promises of a no-media-event, inviting people linked to a UK production company called Salt Lick Films, which has spent the last two years filming a documentary about the 1MDB investigation (the project was later extended into a co-production with another UK company, Roast Beef Productions).
Sarawak Report said it had also started to obtain further information indicating that at least one member of Salt Lick’s production team has been in regular contact with Prime Minister Najib Razak’s private circle and communications team over the previous many months of extensive filming in Kuala Lumpur.
Besides these discrepancies, Giannakopoulos appeared to have lied to the crowd present on his links with the Swiss Attorney General, whom he suggested was willing to impart useful updates to him about the 1MDB investigation privately.
At one point, Giannakopoulos started to attack Open Society and what he described as “destabilising” forces and that “they have funded American shit all over the planet during years.”
He later said he was ‘helping’ the Swiss AG and wanted Malaysia to remain a stable country.
Sarawak Report also suggested that the most likely source of the money to finance the bogus seminar would in fact appear to be one of Giannakopoulos’s private clients, since alongside his academic/NGO role he owns two private investigations companies.
“We suggest the most likely client to be interested in such intelligence is the Government of Malaysia, which has also been identified as receiving information from Salt Lick Films, which so clearly has ties to Giannakopoulos.