PetroSaudi Prosecutors Demand A Decade In Jail For 1MDB JV Alleged Fraudsters!

After a fractious two and a half weeks in the Swiss Federal Court in Bellinzona the prosecutors who have alleged serious fraud and aggravated money laundering charges against the two PetroSaudi directors, Tarek Obaid and Patrick Mahony, have finished their summing up.

Their recommendation to the judges was for the maximum punishment available be meted out, nine years in jail for Patrick Mahony, accused of stealing at least $55 million, and ten years for Tarek Obaid, who is accused of walking away with over $720 million from the Malaysian fund.

Moreover, given that both men are deemed a flight risk (it was revealed in the course of the trial that Obaid has already submitted to an electronic tag to keep his freedom) the prosecutor further recommended they should be incarcerated immediately, before the verdict is handed down.

The two financiers “used 1MDB “as a machine to spit out tons of money, almost 1% of the GDP of Malaysia, which had gone into heavy debt to finance 1MDB”, said lead prosecutor Alice de Chambrier.

“It is the fraud of the century, carried out by men who give themselves the appearance of being good in all respects, but who are in reality calculating and arrogant manipulators, without scruples and obscene greed,” [Le Temps]

The next hours will tell if the judges agree to detain the businessmen whose lawyers have defiantly accused the court and prosecution of all manner of forms of bias and incompetence throughout the trial, through a series of accusations and complaints which were nearly all dismissed after hours of petitions and delay.

The testimony of the two defendants, particularly Tarek Obaid, was equally defiant and dismissive. Obaid stunned the court with many of his claims, including that he was a secret high level emissary of the former King of Saudi Arabia on whose instructions he had been acting when he blatantly assisted Jho Low and his boss, prime minister Najib Razak, in the plundering of the Malaysian fund.

When challenged on certain key matters, such as why they had lied by claiming that PetroSaudi was the owner of the company Good Star which had creamed off the lions share of the $1.83 billion allegedly placed into the joint venture, the two men frequently claimed their memories eluded them.

This was despite the fact that both men were issued contracts by Good Star as an excuse for being paid tens of millions by that very company in kickbacks.

The prosecutor today dismissed as fabricated fantasies Obaid’s claims, saying she absolutely does not believe the thesis presented by Tarek Obaid, according to which he was responsible for secret missions for the highest level of Saudi power. Missions that he cannot talk about today for security reasons.

She also brushed aside their claims to posses oil assets worth billions when in fact, she said, they had borrowed on a ‘cow pasture’ in Argentina and had never held the licence for their supposed prize asset in Turkmenistan.

The trial had again reflected on the role of Najib in this affair whom the prosecutor described as having worked with Jho Low to “prepare the ground on the Malaysian side” for “a methodically orchestrated plan, with well-distributed roles” between them, reports the local Le Temps newspaper.

In recognition of the attempts to discredit the whistleblower, Xavier Justo, and also Sarawak Report the prosecutor also referred to the early attempts to discredit the revelations in 2015 with false investigations, concocted news reports and, likewise, the bogus prosecution of Justo in Thailand.

All were untrue, like most of the evidence produced by the two defendants in court she said. She warned that only some $300 million out of roughly $800 million that had been acquired by the two men remained under seizure in Switzerland and so there was every incentive for the two men to run before a sentence was passed.

Hence, her demand that the two men should be immediately locked up.

The trial still has to hear from both defence lawyers, whose turn it is to rest their cases for the two men. There is then likely to be a period of at least a month whilst the judges deliberate.

Whether Tarek and Patrick spend that time behind bars should soon become clear.

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