Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Anwar Accused of Stashing RM332m in Secret Bank Accounts

The Dewan Rakyat has been rocked by claims that Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim stashed away RM332 million in bank accounts in four different countries, including Israel.

It was made by BN MP Liang Teck Meng who claimed Wikileaks to be the source of allegation that Anwar secreted US$66 million (RM209 million) and SGD$49 million (RM123 million) in 20 different banks in the United States, China, Singapore and yes, Israel.

"This information went viral on the internet. And when I read this, I wonder where this money comes from," Teck Meng told the house to jeers from the Pakatan benches.

He said the amounts were linked to the account details that included names, passport numbers and the transaction history.

This is not the first time there have been rumblings about how Anwar allegedly squirreled away money during his time as finance minister in the 1990s. Last year there were reports of former Bank Negara assistant governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid's statutory declaration alleging proxy bank accounts that contained RM3 billion held on behalf of Anwar.

And in 2012, the writer 'Jonathan Smith' alleged that he knew the details of how these funds supposedly "washed across five continents." Smith said Anwar used "a complex web of Malaysian and foreign accountants, financial advisers, tax lawyers, brokers, and other financial professionals to not only comply with, but to cleverly exploit loopholes in and shelter, a sprawling financial empire."

The claim of an Israel account will prove especially troubling for Anwar given his endorsement of the Jewish nation. Last year he told the Wall Street Journal that he supported "all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel" – a state Malaysia has never recognised. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak responded at the start of 2013 by visiting Gaza to show his support for the Palestinian people.

Teck Meng's allegations have drawn immediate fire from the Opposition benches, with

PKR MP Tian Chua demanding Teck Meng provide immediate proof of his claims regardless of the fact they are sourced from Wikileaks, whose founder Julian Assange Anwar once considered to be a loyal ally.

DAP's Jeff Ooi Chuan Aun chimed in threatening to refer Teck Meng to the Rights and Privilege Committee if his claims are shown to have been made under parliamentary privilege without substantiation.

However, it is not clear that Pakatan wish to re-open this matter. A probe of Anwar's finances before a Parliamentary committee or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, regardless of the outcome, would steal a great deal of the Opposition pact's faltering momentum.

In the meantime, Anwar needs to say something in public. At the very least, he must deny these very serious allegations.

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