The 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal is the story unprecedented greed and corruption.

While billions of dollars were looted, the Malaysian people did not let it slide its handling carries valuable lessons for Kenya...

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1MDB has been referred to as “kleptocracy at its worst” and potentially “one of the greatest financial heists in history,” with more than $4.5billion diverted and looted.

It resulted in investigations in over 7 countries including the US and the UK.

1MDB was set up in July 2009 by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, 3 months after he took office. It was supposed to be a "strategic development company driving new ideas and new sources of growth"

Instead, billions of dollars were stolen and misappropriated.
The $2.5bn Joint venture deal between 1MDB and PetroSaudi was struck on the Alfa Nero, a 92-metre long megayacht, off the coast of Monaco.

Obaid and co-founder, Prince Turki bin Abdullah of Saudi Arabia met with Najib and his adviser Jho Low to iron out the details👇🏿👇🏿👇🏿
Najib was dynastic and had risen through the ranks: MP at 23; chief minister of his home state; minister for education, defense & finance; then deputy PM.

He was the eldest son of Abdul Razak, Malaysia's 2nd PM and nephew of Hussein Onn, its 3rd PM.
On corruption in Malaysia:

The Razak family is tightly intertwined with Malaysia’s leading political party...

Inflated govt contracts are the norm, widely accepted because recipients simply turn around and donate to the party...

Sound familiar?
Three weeks after the deal, $300mn was transferred into the 1MDB-Petrosaudi Joint Venture account and $700mn into an account held by Good Star, a firm owned by Jho Low.

1MDB eventually made payments to Good Star in 2009 & 2011 totalling $1.03bn.
The Good Star deal made Obaid, then 32, and Mahony, then 33, very rich men. Records indicate that on 30 September 2009, Good Star agreed to pay $85m to Obaid, which the Seychelles company described as a fee for “brokering services.”

Mahony was a PetroSaudi executive.
Between September 2010 and May 2011, 1MDB agreed to lend an additional $830m to the joint venture with PetroSaudi – bringing 1MDB’s total investment to $1.83bn.
Meanwhile, Jho Low spent $140m from the joint venture on properties in Hollywood and New York.

Funding for The Wolf of Wall Street movie came from money diverted from the PetroSaudi joint venture.

Incidentally, the movie was banned in Kenya.
Enter Goldman Sachs

Goldman raised $6.5 billion for 1MDB from investors around the world. However, more than half of that was reportedly looted by Najib and his friends.

Goldman made a cool $600 million for their trouble.
As an aside, Goldman has quite a history with such crooked deals and was once referred to as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”

[A must read really]
With Najib seemingly back in power after the purge, Xavier Justo was arrested and sentenced in August 2015 to 3 years in prison for attempted blackmail.

He was released 18 months later as things continued to fall apart for PM Najib.
In 2016, the US DOJ filed a lawsuit to seize assets bought with $3.5bn stolen from 1MDB

The DOJ named a Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) over 30 times.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Morais was found dead, encased in a concrete-filled drum.
In 2019, 17 current and former Goldman Sachs executives were charged by the Malaysian govt and a former partner, Tim Leissner, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money

On July 24, 2020, the firm settled on $3.9bn with the Malaysian govt.
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