Malaysia’s convicted former prime minister, Najib Razak, has argued first that the global fugitive Low Taek Jho had nothing to do with 1MDB and then more recently that he was ‘duped’ by the conman, who helped funnel nearly $5 billion out of the fund and into Najib’s political campaigns and personal accounts.
However, the latest criminal indictment brought by US prosecutors in Hawaii is likely to make that already unconvincing line of defence even harder to sustain for the ex-PM, currently facing his second trial following his conviction in the first.
The reason being that the case against a well-known local political lobbyist, 45-year-old Nickie Mali Lum Davis, shows that it was none other than Jho Low who was directly involved in paying a group of Republicans to organise Najib’s high profile trip to Washington in September 2017 to visit President Donald Trump, as part of a concerted strategy to force the Department of Justice to drop its cases over 1MDB.
After Jho Low fixed the trip, paid the lobbyists $8 million for their services and set in motion plans to shelve the case, Najib duly turned up in Washington to beguile President Trump with promises of massive Malaysian investment in the American economy (making sure to occupy the Trump Hotel with scores of his extended entourage for several nights).
It raises the inevitable question, how could Malaysia’s Prime Minister not have known what was going on and claim not have been in communication with the top fixer in these and so many other efforts to cover up 1MDB during 2017?
The case against Lum Davis joins the dots between several 1MDB players already identified by Sarawak Report (see base of report). It reveals the lobbyist accepted cash from foreign actors to lobby President Trump and his administration without registering those payments according to the law.
The Indictment opens:
From no later than March 2017 to at least in or about January 2018, NICKIE LUM DAVIS agreed with Persons A and B [identified by Sarawak Report as singer Pras Michael and Deputy Chairman of the Republican National Committee Elliot Broidy] to act as agents of Foreign National A [Jho Low] in exchange for millions of dollars in undisclosed wire transfers originating from foreign accounts associated with Foreign National A. DAVIS specifically agreed to facilitate Person B’s lobbying of the President of the United States (“the President”), his Administration, and the United States Depa1tment of Justice (“DOJ”) to drop the investigation of Foreign National A for his role in the embezzlement of billions of dollars from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“lMDB”), a strategic investment and development company wholly owned by the Government of Malaysia. As part of their efforts, the defendant [Nickie Lum Davies] and Person B [Elliot Broidy] willfully failed to disclose to the Administration and DOJ officials that Person B was acting on behalf of Foreign National A [Jho Low].”
The indictment makes clear the attempts were unsuccessful, since the DOJ did not suspend the case. However, prosecutors are demanding a return of all the money received by the lobbyist with a potential penalty of imprisonment.
The filing is part of a wider DOJ investigation that has unravelled how Jho Low sought to influence the US government on behalf of Najib and also China involving a wide network of Americans now facing charges or likely to face charges.
The include a government lawyer George Higgenbotham who has pleaded guilty over his involvement and to misleading banks about the source of payments from Jho Low; the celebrity rapper and friend of Jho Low, Pras Michael, who is defending his case and Elliot Broidy one of the most senior fundraisers in the Republican Party, who together with his lawyer wife now stand accused of devastating revelations over their role in selling access to Najib.
See the report filed on Hawaiian TV News and Sarawak Report will shortly bring full details on the devastating allegations and likely developments in this story,