CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

Behind every great fortune is a crime – French novelist Honoré de Balzac

Jho Low, the plump pirate better known in select criminal circles as Felonious, was entertained by the joke and, as always, delighted in his friend’s masterly grasp of understatement. 

He’d just read that Fearless Leader, once a Malaysian Premier, had revealed to the Kuala Lumpur High Court that he had “only RM4.5 million in assets.” 

Politicians from every component party of the National Front government were moved. They knew the real root of all evil was a lack of money. 

But most people weren’t politicians, they were more cynical and distrustful and generally seemed unbelieving.  Fearless felt injured. “You think you’ve got problems?” snarled Malaysia’s once-most-powerful man. “What about me?”

It was a good, if pointless, question. Ever since 2014 amid the gradual revelations, the whispered rumours, and the increasing awareness of the gravity of the 1MDB problem, Fearless had had to deny, evade, duck, prevaricate, obfuscate or simply lie to Parliament and the Malaysian people about the matter.  

That takes a lot of nerve, an epidermis of no mean thickness and, surely, much heart-hammering amid the blood pressure of a giraffe. And, lest we forget, he had to return home to daily karaoke (Girls just wanna have funds) and occasional counsel (Can I advise you something?).

The extent of Fearless’ pre-emptive efforts to distance himself from 1MDB are slowly emerging. On Thursday, an anti-corruption agency officer testified that Fearless amended a 2016 audit report on 1MDB that was to be presented to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee “to shield himself from legal consequences.”  

And what do you think he felt every time he attended an international meeting after 2016, after the US’ Department of Justice had made sure the 1MDB scandal had made the world’s headliners, when the magnitude of the fiasco was becoming clear?  

Are they giving me the cold shoulder and ignoring me, or am I imagining it? 

Oh My God, is that a knowing look in Lee’s eyes? 

It must have been a time to try anyone’s soul and Felonious sympathised because he knew the extent of the heist. Neither did he feel any remorse about the matter. In fact, he’d recently offered RM1.5 billion to Putrajaya to forget the whole thing but the ingrates had declined.

As for those who accused him of burdening future generations with debt, he charitably forgave them as they did not know it was condoned. Didn’t the Bible say, “Blessed are the children for they will inherit the national debt?”

Felonious considered himself a principled man because, principally, there were only two rules governing crime and Rule 1 was unambiguous: never get caught. 

The second, which he was particularly proud of, simply referred the seeker of knowledge to Rule 1.  

Fearless considered his friend’s position neither here nor there and thought it cold comfort. Meanwhile, his defence team anguished over his RM4.5 million “revelation” because they’d been calculating their bill. 

And so it goes. And, in this instance, only the Bamboo River remains.

Still, silent, waiting.

ENDS

A SNOWFLAKE’S CHANCE IN HELL 

You only lie to two people in your life, your girlfriend and the police – Jack Nicholson in Chinatown 

The Economist doesn’t mince its words. 

In an op-ed piece headlined “The toxicity of Boris Johnson,” it talked of a deadly toxin menacing “ministers and their party” and “chairing their meetings.” Apparently, Bojo was not only a toxin but a “serial liar,”  

No one should be surprised. As a rule, aren’t all politicians less than sparing with the truth? Donald Trump played so fast and loose with the truth that he even attempted the Big Lie: in the face of massive evidence to the contrary, he claimed that he’d won the 2020 Presidential elections. He still does.

And there are some segments of American society that believe him!

“You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free,” goes a famous Biblical saying. Not in Malaysia though. Instead, the truth made Fatboy flee, and Fearless Leader want to. This was, of course, after the results of Malaysia’s 2018 general election made it plain that their jig was up.  

Now Fearless is behaving as if Grand National Theft has been legalised, while the cheerfully flabby Felonious is apparently, attempting to “settle” with the Malaysian government, if recent news on an online news portal is to be believed.  

“The only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself,” observed Winston Churchill. Dr Mahathir was clearly a student of Churchill. Consider how he lauded the “success” of his heavy industrial projects of steel (Perwaja) and autos (Proton). 

The amount of money both projects cost the taxpayer is unclear, but they must surely run into the tens of billions. 

Dr M professed distaste for Anwar Ibrahim’s “moral misconduct” and it was the stated reason for sacking him as deputy premier in 1998. 

But the same distaste wasn’t evident a couple of years ago when Azmin Ali, Dr M’s blue-eyed boy then, was caught in a similar circumstance. 

Different strokes for different folks, it seems, is an acceptable hypocrisy in politics.

Fearless himself lied through his teeth between 2014 and 2018 every time he was questioned over 1MDB in Parliament. 

Everything was hunky dory with the agency, he assured Parliament. And no, Felonious had nothing whatsoever to do with the agency, he had no role in the company and that was the absolute truth, so help him God.  

His story changed after he was charged in court in 2018. Then, everything was the fault of Felonious. Or the directors. Or Goldman Sachs. Or the Arabs.

But not him. Never him. How could it be him? He’d been too busy being PM. 

He continues the fiction now. Unashamedly, would be the word to describe how he carries it off. Shameless, unblushing, unembarrassed, and brazen are others. 

Actually, Fearless comes across as the quintessential Umno politician.  Having deprived the Malaysian Treasury of more than the monies awarded to the heirs of Sultan of Sulu (RM69 billion), he continues to swagger about the Malaysian political stage as if he were a potential premier.

He’s got a snowflake’s chance in hell. 

Right?

ENDS

WHO EVER SAID PRIDE GOES BEFORE A FALL SHOULD HAVE HIS HEAD EXAMINED. 

If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe,  then I’d have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little – Comedian George Carlin

Just when you think things could not get more absurd in this fantastic country of ours, it does. 

Hours after a march for “judicial independence” got thwarted by the police, an Umno Supreme Councillor wondered if the same lawyers would march to demand “justice for Najib.” 

Najib is the nation’s First Felon, a former premier who has been convicted by two concurrent courts of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering in relation to 42  million ringgit of money that belonged to the government. He only awaits one more appeal and if that fails, he has to serve time.

But these first charges are chicken feed, the lull before the storm. He is also accused of the largest theft in human history and awaits two more trials, one of which involves the theft of billions from lMDB, a government agency he created ostensibly to help develop Malaysia.  

In one sense, Dr Puad Zakashi, the Umno personage calling for justice for Najib is right. We also think that justice should be  expedited for the former premier. 

Instead, here we have the spectacle of the courts, and well-nigh everybody else, giving him the maximum leeway, stretching the adage of “presumed innocent until proven guilty” to its breaking point. 

In countries like Japan, a nation which highly values  honour, bail isn’t a right but a privilege. 

And yet, in this country, Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy premier, was denied bail for six years for a crime that isn’t even criminal in developed countries. 

But consider the following where Najib is concerned: having been convicted by two concurrent courts, he still enjoys police protection, outriders and all the trappings of power; he is allowed to lead political campaigns and isn’t shy about splashing his wealth around; he is encouraged  to address political gatherings like the recent National Front convention where he declared, to rousing  applause, “I’m not a thief, I was only accused of laundering funds that I did not employ.”

It’s not even a good try. 

This is the legal definition of criminal breach of trust, for which he was found  guilty by two courts. 

“Whoever, being in any manner entrusted with property, or with any dominion over property, either solely or jointly with any other person, dishonestly misappropriates, or converts to his own use, that property, or dishonestly uses or disposes of that property in violation of any direction of law prescribing the mode in …”

How much clearer does he want it to get?

There is more. 

He gets invited to the palace for dinner with our King and Queen. 

Everywhere he goes, he is lauded as “our boss who need not feel any shame.”

When he tweets that he loves trains, MRT Corp immediately invites him and his family on the maiden journey of its  Putrajaya line.

What gives? Are these the values we are asked to pass on to our children? 

And what’s with the silence from the religious right, the same ones who see red over Bon Odori, who wax  apoplectic  over the attire of our airline stewardesses? 

What, no comment on Bossku? 

By all means, let’s march to demand justice for Malaysians.

Now.

ENDS 

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING CONNECTED

The very rich have no need of character – Hebrew proverb

Jho “Felonious” Low thought character was overrated anyway so he concentrated on keeping the police in Macao happy so everybody there could continue to live happily ever after.

His wife, the low-profile, Mrs Felonious didn’t want too much out of life either. All she’d wanted was a husband who was kind and understanding which she didn’t think was asking too much of a billionaire.

Felonious thought The Way Forward lay in living as quietly and as low-profile as possible which is Evading Capture 101 for all criminal masterminds on the run.

That was why he was now scanning the papers with a furrowed brow. Even his cigar remained in hand, unlit.

The object of the stout scalawag’s consternation was a report that the Malaysian King had invited Fearless Leader, a former co-worker and helpmate of Felonious, to break the Ramadan fast at the Palace. It seemed as appropriate as inviting Tim Leisner to address the World Economic Forum.

Even so, there they all were, cheerfully breaking the fast together. The pictures have since been posted on the Net. And there has been no lack of comment!

Fearless seems oblivious to public perception which is strange and uncharacteristic of the veteran politician that he obviously is. Or perhaps he’s cynical enough to understand the truth behind the Phyllis Diller quip: “Those who have money to burn are often surrounded by people with matches.”

But there is another quote that seems more germane to this issue: “The poor and ignorant will continue to lie and steal so long as the rich and educated show them how.” Alas, I can’t remember its author, but it does seem to fit.

Fearless was found guilty by two consecutive courts of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering, and faces a 12-year sentence pending a final appeal to the Federal Court. Meanwhile, he faces other, equally daunting, charges including one for evading taxes of over RM1 billion. We should also keep in mind the media’s description of the fraud at 1MDB as the “greatest theft in human history.”

But he remains free on bail, enjoys all the perks of an ex-premier including outriders, and traipses all over the country, campaigning, speaking, and having dinners. This is in stark contrast to the treatment meted out to former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim: he was denied bail at the outset for a crime many other countries do not even recognise.

Meanwhile, the Fearless precedent is already taking root. A Kelantan farmer facing jail time for committing grievous bodily harm was given bail after he cited Fearless’ precedent of remaining free despite convictions by two courts.

Viewed in its broader context, the Dinner at the Palace is perplexing to say the least. The signal it sends out is downright appalling as it seems to suggest that criminality can be condoned in certain circumstance.

Felonious sat up with a jerk as he pondered these significant portents. There was a moral to this story somewhere and he thought he knew the answer.

Life was just a breathing spell, and it was better to live rich than die rich.

ENDS

CRIME DOES NOT PAY, NOR SHOULD IT SEEM TO

In three words I can summarise everything I’ve learnt about life – it goes on. –Poet Robert Frost.

Najib Razak would, no doubt, agree.

Malaysia’s First Felon, affectionately known in high society criminal circlers as Fearless Leader, has been fearlessly dishing out advice left, right and centre – and people are taking heed, it seems.

Indeed, he’s morphed into a latter-day Svengali to the United Malays National Organisation, the party he once headed. Fearless is, to be sure, the Boss-Who-Needn’t-Feel-Any-Shame-at-All.

And he doesn’t, not a jot.

Even so, the shameless ex-boss continues to be deferred to as a leader. Nowhere was this more evident than in a recent video showing the party faithful celebrating its win in the recent Johor state election: it showed party president Zahid Hamidi elbowing Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob aside to bring Fearless up-front, to the head of the throng.

It’s no wonder Ismail’s been looking especially doleful of late.

As I write this, I read, with astonishment, that Fearless just concluded a keynote address to the Penang International Business and Investment Summit.

The report went on to say that during his “two-day trip” to Penang, Fearless was expected “to meet the Chinese community” and “the state Umno liaison committee.”

Ye Gods! Who invites a person found guilty of defrauding his country to launch an “international business and investment” seminar?

That’s like inviting Bernie Madoff to launch a Rotary business event in, say, Seremban. Let’s face it, on the Jho Low Scale of Mammoth Larceny, Madoff is a minnow to Fearless’ whale.

Meanwhile, why is Fearless being lauded about, and bowed and scraped to, as if he were leading his party into the next general election?

Do they know something we don’t?

The absurdity of it all is made preposterous by the testimony coming out of a Brooklyn courtroom. It stars Felonious, Fearless’ less-than-trusty sidekick and co-stars greedy bankers and everyone else who fed at the 1MDB trough. Their numbers, to quote the Bible, are “legion.”

By all accounts, Felonious was the mastermind and the biggest thief of the lot. But he could not have pulled it off without help from the top.

How did Fatboy convince everybody, even people already rich as Croesus, to participate in a grand plan to loot an entire country? The US trial in Brooklyn was told that the rotund robber siphoned US$4.5 billion (RM18.9 billion) of 1MDB’s money into his own account.

Fearless has been convicted of only one crime that involved a sum of RM42 million which is peanuts in terms of Felonious’ colossal theft. But it sets the stage. His big trials are ongoing and he has a lot to answer for.

Which is why it is sheer lunacy to continue to fete Fearless, to extol him and assure him he needn’t feel shame. To do so would be to exonerate him. Even worse, it’s a tacit nod towards corruption, even its encouragement, so long as the loot is shared.

1MDB was and remains the largest theft in the history of white-collar crime. That is an absolute fact and no amount of dissembling, artifice, advice or keynote speeches at investment seminars can diminish its magnitude.

The Appeals Court described him as “a national embarrassment.”

There is also that.

ENDS

JUST WHEN YOU THINK IT CAN’T GET ANY WORSE, IT CAN

It’s generally been a depressing week, don’t you think?

George Carlin was right all along: how, on God’s green earth, can any war be civil? And amid a still-raging pandemic?

I read, with mounting disbelief, that Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and the largest in Europe, was on fire early Friday after an attack by Russian troops.

Are they out of their minds?

Even Vladimir “Stoneface” Putin must know there are no winners in that kind of war. In the words of Bertrand Russell, it’s either “co-existence or no existence.” In those circumstances, all men are truly cremated equal.
Against that hellish backdrop, the banality, and continuing dishonesty, of Malaysian politics comes across as almost refreshing, a bit of comic relief in an otherwise grim world.

The nation’s First Felon, the peerless, Fearless Leader once again demonstrated his prodigious ability to perplex by telling Parliament Wednesday that the government had yet to pay “a single cent” of the principal debt of 1MDB, the sovereign wealth fund that Fearless set up and, subsequently, crippled through the sheer weight of its own debt.

He was attempting to show that taxpayers hadn’t been injured in the slightest. You have to admire the man’s gift for being disingenuous.

It is true that the principal amount of 1MDB’s debt (RM32 billion) hasn’t changed but it’s only because the bonds issued by 1MDB – to buy unnecessary assets at inflated prices – aren’t due yet. Since its inception in 2009, taxpayers have repaid over RM13 billion of 1MDB’s debt with another RM38-odd billion to go.

The latter will become due starting May and will have to be serviced by the taxpayer until 2039. Malaysia’s total national debt is over RM1 trillion.

Blessed are the children for they shall inherit the national debt. The sentiment was Herbert Hoover’s and he was the US President widely credited with exacerbating the Great Depression of the 20th Century.

In a backhanded sort of way, it makes me glad that I’m over 65.

Meanwhile, the bells of judgment have begun tolling for Fearless. Having been found guilty by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal, Fearless had desperately tried to delay matters by attempting to claim “new evidence”.

The hope was extinguished Wednesday when the country’s apex court rejected any more postponements. And so Fearless’ final throw of the dice will take place March 16-18.

If he loses there, he can no longer “pass Go nor collect $200”. Instead, he will have to “proceed directly” to jail to begin serving a 12-year sentence. There, he won’t have police outriders or bodyguards. Nor is he likely to expect the adoring throngs, with their raucous cries of “Bossku” (My Boss) any time soon.

He will have to get used to new dietary conditions, new clothes, an out-of- parliament experience and grimmer accommodation than he’s accustomed to. His pensions are also likely to be axed.

On the plus side, he will still get to go out from time to time: Fearless still faces very serious charges in several remaining trials.

From somewhere deep in Macao, Jho “Felonious” Low watched the plight of his once-trusted friend and helpmate with all the sympathy a bottle of ice-cold Moet & Chandon Esprit du Siècle Brut can summon.

The sympathy was considerable but it was also tempered by relief and a sudden epiphany on Felonious’ part.
There but for the grace of Money and many passports go I.

ENDS

A FOOL AND HIS MONEY ARE SOON PARTYING

Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody. – Benjamin Franklin

I read an item on Twitter recently, from an aggrieved bank customer in Malaysia.

Our friend thought he’d finally paid off his car loan. Close, but no cigar.

His loan balance read $0.01. And the bank insisted that he settle the “outstanding” amount before anything else, meaning, he couldn’t cancel said bank’s claims on the car.

Trivia for the day: Do you know you cannot transfer $0.01 online? It’s below the minimum transfer amount.

It stumped our worthy who proceeded to have a Eureka moment: He transferred $1 to the bank instead.

“Hee-Hee,” thought he gleefully, “now it’ll have to return $0.99 to me and Good Luck with that!”

Unfortunately, the bank was made of sterner stuff: it knew Banking Rope-A-Dope 101 as well as any Goldman Sachs and countered with the aplomb of a bureaucrat. Its answer: if said worthy wanted any change, he’d have to submit a written request together with supporting documents of proof.
It was the banking equivalent of “put that in your pipe and smoke it.”

Of course, he gave up!

Our friend didn’t name the bank which was a pity as it might have embarrassed it enough to have the grace to return his money.

“You win, bankers,” he concluded dismally, “You always f$%^&g win!”

Tim Leisner didn’t.

As an implacable banker and a hardnosed dealmaker, Leisner knew there were only two rules for success. 1) Never tell all you know.

But now he was telling all that he knew about 1MDB to a New York court and Malaysians were riveted. He was the person who enabled Jho “Felonious” Low to steal billions of dollars from 1MDB and his guilty plea probably did more to undermine former premier Najib Razak’s credibility than anything else.

The sums bandied about in Leisner’s testimony against Roger Ng, his Goldman colleague and friend, were enough to delight Donald Trump. It also made you wonder why anyone in their positions – wealthy by any measure – would take such risks to make themselves richer.

But these people aren’t normal, to begin with. Recall that the wife of the former premier thought nothing of paying over a RM1000 for getting her hair done in her home.

For his part, Felonious knew that money couldn’t buy you happiness, but it could buy you a yacht big enough to pull up alongside it.

He probably thought he would remain safe so long as his friend remained in power. Both knew the Golden Rule: he who has the Gold, Rules.

I suppose in the case of the former First Lady, if it didn’t buy you happiness, it helped you be miserable in comfort.

But how to explain Leisner and Ng?

Goldman’s exorbitant commissions were immediately noticed by the media which must have set warning bells ringing in the US and Malaysia.

Felonious’ extravagant and well publicised spending sprees in the US must have also attracted attention. The minute the DOJ released its report in 2016, Messrs Leisner and Ng must have known the jig was up.

Despite his testimony and cooperation, Leisner still faces sentencing. The former premier’s last gasp is also due.

Only Felonious remains unaccounted for.

So are 1MDB’s billions.

ENDS

HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE

Utility, thought Dr M, is when you barely have enough; luxury is when you have enough; opulence is when you have more than enough; and ridiculous is when you are heaped with more, despite already racking up much more than enough.

That appeared to explain the continuing good fortune of Fearless Leader. The former premier was convicted of Very Grand Theft for which the Malaysian government now appeared to want to reward him.

To paraphrase the Bard, the slings and arrows of Fearless’ continuing good fortune were, verily, outrageous.

Dr M was in Parliament to discuss this very matter and he thought it was good to be back. Actually, most people knew, at 96, it was good to be anywhere.

Life had handed the physician lemons and he thought it best to squirt them in someone’s eye. That’s what he did in Parliament last week, lambasting the government for its incredible generosity towards a man accused of looting more than RM18 billion from the country he was elected to lead.

Think about that for a minute! The sum – US$4.5 billion – is the amount the US Justice Department estimates was siphoned off from 1MDB. It’s mind-boggling, the sort of thing Bernie Madoff might have contemplated if he were on steroids; a heist that a Great Train Robber might regard with awe.

Dr M was incensed that Fearless had requested a “privilege” from the government in the form of a 2.8-acre residential property worth RM100 million in one of Kuala Lumpur’s swankiest neighbourhoods.

The government had, apparently, agreed, which was what had infuriated the old man.

It was Charlie Brown who got it right, “Somehow I never quite know what’s going on,” he reflected sadly in a strip I read years ago.

That’s what many of us want to know. Here we have a convicted person, the First Felon if you like, going around with security and a motorcycle escort, campaigning in an election to loud cheers, being allowed to travel overseas.

And now he’s asked for a RM100 million house as an “entitlement” and no one thinks it’s strange, weird, or, even remotely, grotesque?

Only a 96-year-old man and the rest of the opposition?

Even the self-confessed holier-than-thou types, the Islamic Party of Malaysia, or Pas, normally so quick to judge or condemn, has been strangely reticent on this subject. Indeed, they haven’t uttered a peep on the matter.

It’s never worried about other people’s money: it’s other people’s fun that keeps them up nights. Because, as sure as night follows day, it’s probably immoral.

I suppose that’s life. The average person strives, he tries to do what’s right, he stays on the right track and still gets hit by a train. And he answers like Norm in Cheers when Coach asks: “How’s the world treating you?”

Norm: “Like a baby treats a diaper.”

This is a world where John Lennon gets murdered, the same world that sees new Barry Manilow releasers each year.

Fearless knew the secret of life. The trick to getting ahead was to get a good lawyer, good book be damned.

ENDS

TO ERR IS HUMAN, TO BLAME ANOTHER EVEN MORE SO

Former Malaysian premier Najib Razak, or Fearless Leader, has applied to a United States court to obtain the names of 1Malaysia Development (1MDB) officials who were bribed by Tim Leisner, the former Asian head of Goldman Sachs.
Fearless’ lawyer, the hirsute Scruffy A, had been doing his damnedest to stall the trial of his client because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Fearless is currently being tried for four criminal charges in bribery totalling RM2.28 billion and 21 other charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
Unfortunately, the learned Scruffy’s fishing expedition was dismissed. The judge didn’t budge which, while being good poetry, did little for Fearless’ state of mind as the trial wasn’t delayed in the slightest.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Fearless had already been found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in prison in an earlier trial. He’d also been fined RM210 million to boot. He faces an additional five years if he fails to pay the fine.
Indeed, everything Fearless had touched during what he liked to recall as his “golden years” seemed to be crumbling into dust.
AmBank, the bank Felonious, Fearless’ ever-mistrustful sidekick, chose for the money laundering operations, had been fined RM2.83 billion as part of a “global settlement” in relation to 1MDB. The fine almost brought the bank to its knees.
Similarly, Deloitte, 1MDB’s auditor at one time, paid RM324 million for neglecting to disclose the agency’s sins of commission. Another auditor KPMG is negotiating its fate.
With so many entities and individuals left burning in their wake, a reasonable man might conclude that Messrs Fearless and Felonious were now repentant and despairingly sitting in sackcloth and ashes, and beating their breasts.
Alas, he would be disappointed.
The flabby Felonious has not been seen since 2018, the same year that French winemakers noticed a huge spike in the sales of champagne in the northern region of Macao.
That was not to say that Felonious had gotten off scot free. By his own standards, he’d bled as well, losing a yacht, a private jet and billions in assets in Malaysia, the US and the United Kingdom.
But the chubby charlatan was nothing if not philosophical. “Easy come, easy go,” shrugged the bovine bandit and concentrated on weightier matters like getting the amount of caviar on his cracker just so.
He was never one to put Descartes before the horse.
It wasn’t as if Fearless’ feet were being held to the fire either. He dispensed advice freely whether people listened or not: they didn’t. He diligently continued to attend Parliament, an act that compelled Scruffy A to plead yet another reason to postpone the trial.
He even put out videos of his exercise regimen – planking and weights. Indeed, it appeared that the only inconvenience dealt to the unflappable Fearless was his conviction, which effectively ruled him out as a candidate in the next general election.
The other thing that had changed was that the dynamic duo had fallen out. Now the main plank of Fearless defence was that it was all Felonious’ fault, and that he’d been merely guilty of a silly, and misplaced, trust in a friend; that he’d been “more sinned against than sinning.”
The idea had come from the learned jurist Scruffy A, whose inspired decision-making stemmed from a long political tradition of blaming others for the really serious errors.
In between flutes of the good stuff, Felonious sympathised because he understood. Had the shoe been on the other foot, he would have done the same.
Thank God it wasn’t, he reflected cheerfully, and decided he could, and would, drink to that.


ENDS

FINALLY, IT’S PROVEN THAT GOLDMAN SUCKS

The felonious fatty, known as Jho Low, had mixed feelings about the whole thing. Quite a “yes and no” type situation. 

On the one hand, he was saddened that Goldman Sachs, a former friend and more-than-willing ally, had been rewarded with a public flogging and fines of over US$5 billion for its role in the 1MDB debacle. 

On the other hand, he felt positively elated and brimming over with what the French term la joie de vivre. “It could have been much, much worse,” he confided to his father in between sips of a delightfully ice-cold 1977 Chardonnay. “It might have been us.” 

His pater, the dashingly-moustached Hairy Low felt a certain disquiet at his son’s use of the pronoun (“us”) but still awarded himself full marks on his prescient foresight of sending his son to study at the prestigious Wharton School in the University of Pennsylvania all those years ago.  

The products of that school were the sort of people most people would want, nay, need to know, reflected the urbane co-conspirator, with a dashing twirl of his moustache.  

But only two were really famous. 

One was the current President of the United States and the other was a very rich and a very sought after Felonious, his beloved son and the ample apple of his aged eyes. 

There was no doubt that Felonious was much sought after but it certainly wasn’t as an after dinner speaker. His erstwhile boss, mentor and help-mate, Fearless Leader, wanted to blame him while Malaysia’s top cop, Abdul Hamid Bador, wanted to jail him.

The US wanted to question him, Singapore wanted to flog him and the banks in Switzerland only wanted to learn at his feet. 

Meanwhile, Bernie Madoff wanted his autograph – he wanted to be just like him when he grew up – while it wasn’t clear what exactly Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman, at the material time when Felonious was Tripping his Blight Fantastic, wanted with the cherubic charlatan. 

But it looked as if there was murder in his eyes. 

Goldman was pilloried after the 2008 Global  Financial Crisis as an archetypal symbol of Wall Street greed: it misleadingly hawked highly dubious mortgage-backed securities as gilt-edged bonds and tried to sell out before the bottom fell out of the market, which added momentum to the downward spiral. 

It paid fines but no one was charged. With Fearless running defence, Felonious might have singlehandedly changed all that. 

Goldman’s costs from the scandal hurtled beyond US$5 billion on Thursday, while a subsidiary pleaded guilty to a US criminal charge for the first time in the firm’s history. 

The parent company entered a deal to spare itself a conviction that could cripple business, by promising to behave.

And both CEO David Solomon and predecessor Lloyd Blankfein got a rare rebuke: they have to give up pay, attaching personal accountability to two of the industry’s most visible leaders for a scandal spanning the globe.

The accords lift a legal cloud that formed during Blankfein’s tenure and remained through the handoff to Solomon two years ago. 

It could account for the look in Blankfein’s eyes: he had always maintained he’d never even met the fat fraud. 

Get over it, advised the ever-philosophical Felonious. He was eager to get on with a new scheme.

But for some strange reason the Chinese banks seemed reluctant to give him credit for his ideas.