KUALA LUMPUR, 13 Oct 2015:
Attorney General’s Chambers today issued a statement in relation to the decision to close the Bank Negara Malaysia’s investigation on 1MDB:
“The alleged offence investigated into by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is paragraph (4)(b) of Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the Exchange Control Act 1953 namely, knowingly or recklessly making a statement which is false in a material particular.
In short, the statement made must be false and material to the subject matter i.e the information requested by BNM at the time when the application(s) for remittance were sought for and in response to further information requested by BNM.
1MDB obtained three permissions from BNM to make remittance, namely on:
- 29 September 2009
- 6 September 2010, and
- 20 May 2011
It is noted that BNM DID NOT TAKE MORE THAN THREE DAYS to grant the said permissions on all three occasions.
It is further noted that the relevant ECM forms namely 09A and 06B do not require the applicant to supply the name(s) or beneficiary owner or the bank’s account numbers of the recipient(s) or the manner as to how the funds to be channeled.
When 1MDB requested Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Berhad to remit to a different account, Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Berhad sought clarification from BNM and BNM responded by advising Deutsche Bank that it being a business decision and as long as there was no deviation from the purpose intended and no further query was made by BNM at that particular time.
BNM being the controller did not stop the remittance or direct Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Berhad to advise 1MDB to revert to BNM for a review of permission.
Clearly there was no information or further information requested by BNM at that material time. 1MDB rightfully furnished the information required to the purpose of the remittance.
The relevant forms for remittance in this case did not require the applicants to state the bank account number and the beneficiary of the same an ordinary remittance which would enable BNM to go one step further to verify where the funds will end up to.
Since there is no requirement, the omission on 1MDB officials’ part to disclose is not an offence under the Act.
As far as 1MDB is concerned, it needs to fill up the relevant form and responds to the queries by BNM. If BNM does not request for certain or specific information, how would 1MDB be faulted as it has filled up the form as required and responded to the queries made?
The officials of 1MDB at all material times i.e during the process of obtaining the permissions had complied with the directions given, hence the permissions / approvals granted. Until and unless it can be shown that the officials had deliberately or knew even recklessly provided information that were false in material particulars, they had committed no offence under this Act.
The BNM however vide a letter dated 1 October 2015, requested for a review of the decision citing omission on the part of 1MDB i.e non-disclosure of certain information.
As far as omission is concerned, there is no obligation to inform unless requested. In this respect and the fact that there is no new evidence made available, we do not see the necessity to review.