Sarawak Report, the whistleblower that broke the Malaysian corruption and money laundering 1MDB scandal, has damning reports on Century Banking Corporation.
The blog links the bank to an underground network of cheats and a strategy to divert attention of those tracing the 1MDB money trail.
But according to the information from Sarawak Report, there is no doubt the Islamic bank in Mauritius is linked to the 1MDB scandal.
As a starter, Kuwaiti investigators reported suspicious transactions related to 1MDB belonging to a company called Al Mouniratyen International General Trading.
Incorporated in Kuwait in 2016, it has one Sheikh Sabah as sole shareholder and is a mere thousand dinar capital company.
But there is a co-signatory for the company’s account held at the ICBC Bank in Kuwait.
The co-signatory is Hammad Ali Hassan Al Wazzan and is known as a proxy of Jho Low, one of the masterminds and a close partner to the ex-Malaysian PM Najib Razak.
Despite the modest nature of the company, a staggering US$4.8 billion dollars was soon to be transacted through its ICBC bank account.
There were no apparent business activity for the company or indeed staff to generate such amounts, says Kuwaiti investigators.
The US$4.8 billion will become the issue of their investigation in Kuwait and abroad, where the FBI and local anti-graft busters were also looking at the money trail.
The Kuwaiti company has a strange modus operandi. It does payments to companies outside Kuwait, including the Century Banking and abort the payments days later.
One of the transactions from the Kuwaiti bank shows it aborted a payment duly made to an entity at the Century Banking Corporation Ltd in Mauritius.
Sarawak Report says the Century Bank was taken over by a business proxy of Jho Low the 1MDB mastermind on the run, from Thailand namely Phengphian Laogumnerd.
Another interesting part is that the Kuwaiti company will payments for contracts, which were then subsequently cancelled sometimes without the money being returned.
One example is as follows and it involves a company that has a HQ in the Seychelles:
“One transfer out of 145m euros (52,114,000 KD) to the account of Midas Commodities Agents Limited, based in the Bahamas with an HQ in the Seychelles, was to buy commodities of bitumen and steel. This contract was between El M was for the purpose of selling the goods.
The bank says the company then told it that Midas Commodities Agents didn’t have the ability to find the goods, so Al Mouniratyen gave them a one week extension till July 2017, but they didn’t manage to complete the contract they signed a contract termination with Midas Commodities Agents Limited on 17th July 2017 which included a five million euro penalty.
However, the money didn’t come back and the company said that the reason was there was a management change. They said they would take legal measures against Midas but we have no proof there was any action.”
The Kuwaiti Interior Ministry did not reveal so far where does the 1,480,246,400 Kuwaiti Dinars[$4.8 Billion] come from. But the money was used to bank into accounts where it was not returned to the bank in several occasions.
However, the money banked into the Century Banking was returned to the Kuwaiti entity.
There is a transfer from Al Mouniratyen of 156m euros (61m KD) 29th December 2016 to the Century Banking Corporation Ltd in Mauritius.
The money returned to Al Mouniratyen on 3rd Jan 2017 and on the document it said the contract was cancelled and this was the reason for the return of the money.
There are also two transfers from Al Mouniratyen on 28th Feb 2018 together totalling 145 hundred million euros and (53mKD) and the reason given is payment for a supply agreement to Khaleesi International Limited. This amount came back to the account on 20th March and 2nd April. The documents show the contract was cancelled.
As a result the money laundering investigators said in their report that they were satisfied there had been suspicious activity on the companies owned by Sheikh Sabah and run by Jho Low, the Malaysian close to ex-PM Najib Razak.
ICAC and FBI
It is obvious now that the FBI has found traces of links between the 1MDB scandal and the Century Banking Corporation.
The ICAC would surely have the information above, that is the transactions from the Kuwaiti company to an account in the Century Banking Corporation.
The ICAC report says there were multiple transactions linked to the 1MDB scandal and involving millions of rupees.
It also says the transactions were suspicious and the bank did not follow the proper existing procedures in its involvement in these transactions.
Now we know some of the amounts involved and the source of the transaction, that is from Kuwait.
We believe both the FBI and the ICAC would have no problems in finding which account was the receiver of the millions of dollars at the Century Banking Corporation!