Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Emails cast aspersion on S'wak Report funding? False, says Clare

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Since Sarawak Report's damaging revelations about 1MDB, its London-based editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown has earned the ire of the Malaysian government.

Government leaders have accused her of conspiring with Dr Mahathir Mohamad to topple Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak while the Malaysian police have also issued an arrest warrant against her.

Now, a government-linked source shared with Malaysiakini screenshots of emails that purportedly showed Sarawak Report receiving instructions on its reporting and payment arrangements.

However, Rewcastle-Brown, claimed the emails were fabricated.

"Totally false. I have never communicated with that person.

"It doesn't make sense for a second. Also the email address was made up," she told Malaysiakini.
Rewcastle-Brown also took offence over the incorrect use of the English language in the emails, which was attributed to her.

The email, dated Feb 23, 2015, was sent from one "Mohd Apandi" to a "Christian Angelo".

The email greeted "Christian Angelo" as "Claire" (sic), thanking her for communicating over the phone.

It then went on: "Sensitive subject. Already gotten the green light for Phase 2. Please indicate the cost in Ringgit Malaysia. Third party account. Sarawak Report must highlight 1MDB and focus on Najib. Big boss ok with your proposal".

The subsequent reply from "Christian Angelo" said it was inconvenient to settle the matter over the phone and asked for a meeting in London.

"Nevertheless, I am okay if you guys are okay," said the email.

In another email, "Christian Angelo" said: "Many thanks for the confirmation. As agreed, one lump sum payment and the monthly retainer for Sarawak Report is for a minimum of two years, with or without Najib as No. 1".

It was then followed with a reply that read: "Roger to that! Would inform you once $ have been wired to your designated account. Look forward to working closely with with (sic)".

The emails were six-minutes apart.

Sarawak Report had highlighted the 1MDB controversy as early as February last year.

In August 2015, Malaysian police issued an arrest warrant against Rewcastle-Brown and sought Interpol's help to detain her, but was rebuffed.

In July this year, the US Department of Justice commenced seizure of assets purportedly obtained through funds misappropriated from 1MDB.
 
The details laid out by the DOJ in its 136-page filing for the asset seizure also largely corroborated reports by Sarawak Report in the last year.
The DOJ believed at least US$3.5 billion was misappropriated from the Malaysian fund.

Najib has denied abusing public funds for personal gain, while Malaysian attorney-general Mohamad Apandi Ali has also cleared the prime minister of any wrongdoing.

During a journalism conference in Nepal last week, Rewcastle-Brown denied Sarawak Report was funded by anonymous credit cards as alleged by a website, Open Source Investigations (OSI).

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