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Swiss state prosecutors seek decade jail term for duo in US$1.8bil 1MDB fraud

Swiss prosecutors seek long prison terms for duo accused of embezzling US$1.8B from 1MDB, labeling it the “scam of the century.” Described as “calculating” and “greedy,” they splurged on jets, yachts, and real estate in London and Geneva.



SWITZERLAND: Swiss state prosecutors are pushing for lengthy prison sentences for two individuals accused of embezzling US$1.8 billion from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB): Tarek Obaid, a Saudi-Swiss businessman, and his Swiss-British business partner, Patrick Mahony.

Allegedly, the duo established a fraudulent oil exploration company to siphon off more than US$1.8 billion from 1MDB funds, as revealed in court proceedings at Switzerland’s top criminal court in Bellinzona.

Federal prosecutor Alice de Chambrier, as reported by Swiss local media, labelled the scheme orchestrated by fugitive Low Taek Jho or Jho Low as the “scam of the century.”

She characterized Obaid and Mahony as “calculating, manipulative, and obscenely greedy,” highlighting their lavish spending on items like precious stones, private jets, yachts, and real estate in London and Geneva.

The lead prosecutor emphasized that the two financiers exploited 1MDB as a cash cow, extracting almost 1% of Malaysia’s GDP and driving the country into significant debt to fund the project.

“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.

She accused them of “extraordinary criminal activity and tenacity” over 10 years between 2009 and 2019, if alleged acts of concealment are included.

Seeking justice, the prosecutor proposed a 10-year sentence for Obaid and a nine-year term for Mahony.

Additionally, prosecutors advocated for the pair’s detention throughout the trial due to flight risk and the confiscation of assets in Switzerland to be returned to 1MDB.

Prosecutor dismisses Obaid’s claims of secret Saudi missions as baseless fantasies

The trial, commencing on 2 April and scheduled until month-end, is under the jurisdiction of three judges.

Daniel Zappelli, Obaid’s defence counsel pointed out the absence of former Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Jho Low in the case and underscored discrepancies in the laundered amounts alleged against the defendants.

Obaid’s startling assertions included his purported role as a clandestine envoy for the former Saudi King, under whose directives he allegedly facilitated the misappropriation of Malaysian funds alongside Jho Low and Prime Minister Najib Razak.

When questioned on critical matters, such as the ownership of Good Star, which purportedly received the majority of the embezzled US$1.83 billion, both defendants frequently claimed memory lapses, despite holding contracts with the company and receiving substantial kickbacks.

The prosecutor unequivocally rejected Obaid’s assertions as baseless fantasies, particularly his claims of conducting secret missions for the highest echelons of Saudi authority, which he cited security concerns for not elaborating on.

Similarly, the prosecutor dismissed their assertions of owning oil assets worth billions, revealing that they had merely secured loans using assets of negligible value, like a pasture in Argentina, and lacked proper licensing for their alleged prized asset in Turkmenistan.

The trial revisited Najib’s involvement, with the prosecutor describing his collaboration with Jho Low in orchestrating a meticulously planned scheme, as reported by local newspaper Le Temps.

Acknowledging efforts to discredit whistleblowers like Xavier Justo and the Sarawak Report, the prosecutor highlighted previous attempts to undermine revelations with false investigations and news reports, along with the unjust prosecution of Justo in Thailand.

The prosecutor emphasized the falsity of evidence presented by the defendants and cautioned that only a fraction of the embezzled funds remained seized in Switzerland, providing ample incentive for the defendants to abscond before sentencing, thus advocating for their immediate incarceration.

1MDB scandal led to the downfall of the Najib-led Barisan National Govt in 2018

The sprawling 1MDB financial scandal has spurred criminal investigations worldwide, with probes underway in the United States, Switzerland, and Singapore.

Billions of dollars are alleged to have been siphoned from the fund, officially known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad, by multiple individuals, funding extravagant purchases from artwork to a luxury yacht.

Najib has been imprisoned since 23 August 2022, following the Federal Court’s confirmation of his convictions for criminal breach of trust, abuse of power, and money laundering related to the misappropriation of SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds, accompanied by an RM210 million (approximately US$44.5 million) fine.

On 2 February, the Pardon’s Board reduced Najib’s sentence from 12 to six years for misappropriating funds amounting to RM50 million (approximately US$10.6 million), potentially enabling his release on 23 August 2028.

Najib is also the former president of UMNO, having led both the party and the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional.

However, he faced defeat in the 2018 Malaysian General Election primarily due to the 1MDB scandal.

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These fraudsters should have think of Singapore before committing huge financial crime. Because even if got caught, just a little damage and even a golden handshake and can walk off happily ever after.

In Vietnam, it’s sentenced to death, Swiss is decade long jail term.

Singapore is melting pot of gold and roses for money launderers, financial criminals, fugitives, etc

Last edited 1 month ago by Singapore Fooled Again n Again

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While in Malaysia, the Royalty can intervene to shorten NR sentence. These sweetheart deals are the problem, Malaysia cannot develop into a thriving developing State. Why are so many institutions allowed to interfere with a court ruling? It is fertile ground for more crooks.

Seems like SG is treating the Fujian criminal gang with treatments suited for princes or gods. How nice and awesome foreign-borned criminals in SG have their pompous days.

Indeed foreign trash are treated as gold too while they earn income away from what’s due to sheeps.

What kind of Administration SG has is MIND BOGGLING!

PS Tharman an ex felon with criminal background is President when Chee Soon Juan was attacked like nobody’s business. What joke.