Saturday, July 1, 2017

U.A.E.’s Ambassador to U.S. Linked to 1MDB Scandal

U.A.E.’s Ambassador to U.S. Linked to 1MDB Scandal Interview: UAE Ambassador to Washington on building economic relations with US

Documents show companies connected to Yousef Al Otaiba received $66 million allegedly misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd 
By Bradley Hope and  Tom Wright
June 30, 2017 7:16 p.m. ET

The scandal swirling around a Malaysian state investment fund allegedly defrauded of billions of dollars has entangled the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the U.S., according to court and investigative documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Companies connected to Yousef Al Otaiba, the ambassador, received $66 million from offshore companies that investigators in the U.S. and Singapore have said contained funds...
Yousef Al Otaiba is the current United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States. Previously Al Otaiba served as non-resident ambassador to Mexico. Within political circles he is known for his intelligence and understanding of Middle Eastern politics.[1] His father is Petroleum magnate Mana Al Otaiba, who served as the president of OPEC a record six times.
The United Arab Emirates has become one of the United States' strongest allies in the Middle East. Its ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, has been instrumental to enhancing UAE-US relations and improving bilateral security and economic cooperation between the two nations. As part of a special visit to RAND, Ambassador Al Otaiba will describe his vision for a stable, tolerant, and prosperous Middle East. Podcast. (Didn't listen)
Yousef Al Otaiba is the most charming man in Washington: He's slick, he's savvy and he throws one hell of a party. And if he has his way, our Middle East policy is going to get a lot more aggressive. In just a few years, Otaiba has acquired an extraordinary influence in the capital. He can often be spotted dining with members of the media, Congress and the administration: the Four Seasons in Georgetown is a favorite power-breakfast spot. ("He doesn't work the tables. People come to him," says one regular.) He makes the perfect Washington dinner guest: A Muslim who’ll raise a glass and offer inside insights on the volatile politics of the region. “He is incredibly savvy,” says a former White House aide. “He throws great social events. He understands how Washington works, how the Hill works, which a lot of these countries don’t. He knows the dynamics and how to pit different entities against each other when he needs to.” Richard Burr, the Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee... TL:DR
Why does Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba need a $50 million compound in Malibu? Posted on 07/05/2016 at 9:28 AM This is a BLOG post. I captured most of the story here. Links are at the bottom of the page.
This will be a long post that will not involve any Hollywood celebrities. Or anyone you’ve ever heard of, most likely. Unless you happen to be interested in or connected to the A-list political social circles in Washington.
On the very edge of the highest cliff, a tip-top-secret lair is vigorously under construction. Untold tens of millions have been spent – and are still being spent – to cobble together a beast. The enigmatic mastermind behind the monster has carefully disguised his footprints to prevent any media leakage, yet whispers of the grim secret emanate from behind the hedges and tall, guarded gates.
For months, dozens of workers have arrived at a construction site by dawn, where they are quickly hustled behind high walls, out of sight from any prying eyes, then tossed out just as rapidly at dusk. Though the workers are many and the hours long, it will be months before the daunting project is complete. After all, there are two once-separate properties to tear down, rebuild, and combine cohesively. When finished, the compound will undoubtedly be one of the most expensive in the city – perhaps even the king to rule them all. But why the near-impenetrable veil of secrecy?
The house was on the market. In March 2014, asking $34.5 million. Property was marketed extensively and graced several magazine covers.
In August 2014, the property was unceremoniously yanked off the MLS, never to return. Just five days after the removal, public records show the property sold for a tremendous $33,500,000 – easily the biggest sale for a single parcel in Point Dume. Ever. The buyer was listed as a strangely-named offshore corporation incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. Yolanda also heard from a very good source that Malibu mega-agent Chris Cortazzo had not just one but both sides of this deal. You go, boy.
As if all that intrigue wasn’t enough to pique Yolanda’s interest, the smaller modern-ish house on 1.1 acres next door sold nearly a year later (July 2015) for $12,225,000 to a different but no less oddly-named offshore corporation. Within a few months, both properties had been ripped apart and were feverishly being modified to combine the two structures into one tremendous estate.
Based on everything we know, have heard, and have seen, we very strongly believe it is His Excellency Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba who is building the top-secret $50 million+ compound up in Malibu Fact: As we mentioned previously, the big house was sold for $33,500,000 to a BVI-incorporated offshore company. (We’re pretty damn sure the sale was all-cash – we find no record of a loan or mortgage.) Said offshore company gives a legal address at a small financial advisory firm located in Montreux, Switzerland. That firm was founded a few years ago by a British ex-pat named Mr. Evans. Interestingly enough, Mr. Evans resided for 20+ years in the United Arab Emirates, where he was a longtime senior partner at PwC. Did y’all catch that? Fact is, Mr. Evans spent a significant amount of time – indeed, the majority of his career – living and working in a very prominent role in the UAE. It was only within the last 10 years that he decamped to Switzerland to establish his own startup firm. FACT: ”People are whispering. We’ve heard from two completely different folks (one who’s worked onsite recently and someone else who we’ve been doing “business” with a long time, and both have dropped Mr. Al Otaiba’s name). And they would know, kiddies. We’ve even been shown a document copy that directly links Mr. Al Otaiba’s name to this estate.
But anyway, the sign calls out a list of teams involved in this massive project. In addition to the lawyers and financial advisors, there are a lot of people getting paid a lot of money for all of this construction.
Can you wrap your brain around all this so far? Whoever is building up on 29140 & 29150 Cliffside has so far spent a total of $45,725,000 on the land alone. Then there’s the demolition and rebuilding fees, salaries, and all the other crap. Only three Malibu homes have ever sold for more than $50 million. All have been massive, thoroughly renovated compounds on 4 acres of land or more. Now here’s someone who’s spending well over $50 million to construct a trophy compound on just 2.32 acres. No doubt those are two very valuable acres of land. But if you ask Yolanda, it’s far more than what a place like that is really worth. So your gurl has to ask why. Why? Why would someone dump so much cash into a residence? And especially when both properties, particularly the 29150 Cliffside mansion, were already in top-notch shape. Why would you spend unnecessary millions just to gut and rebuild them? Just for fun? Hmmm. We don’t know.
Listen kids, His Excellency is a very rich man. His entrepreneurial father owns a huge palace in Abu Dhabi, was the country’s first oil minister, and the family has long wielded a great deal of influence in the area. Could that be why this has been kept so quiet?
Mr. Otaiba also has a reputation for exceedingly generous charitable contributions to a whole host of philanthropic causes. He’s also well-known for his penchant to throw extravagant parties for his select circle of high-powered Washington politico contacts. There was that one time he flew Wolfgang Puck from LA to his Virginia home to cook dinner for his family and a few guests. You know. Just your typical, everyday dinner party. As it happens, Yolanda was researching His Excellency when we discovered something interesting – or at least interesting to us. His Excellency is (allegedly) besties with our very own boy Jho Low. In fact, His Excellency has (allegedl) been involved in several business deals with the very shady (and extensively legally-embattled) Mr. Low. He and Mr. Low are – or were – both significant shareholders in something called the Abu Dhabi-Kuwait-Malaysia Investment Corporation (ADKMIC), a British Virgin Islands-registered investement company. That’s according to Mr. Low himself, not Yolanda.
ADKMIC is believed to have majority control of one of Malaysia’s largest banks. So His Excellency has – or had – clear business ties both to Malaysia and Mr. Low himself. He’s been termed a longtime “associate” of Mr. Low, whose numerous bank accounts worldwide are currently frozen as he is investigated for money laundering by at least six different countries.
Mr. Low, as you should already know, is believed to have looted Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund (1MDB) of at much as $6 billion since 2009.
But even if we are wrong about His Excellency’s ownership, you guys, there’s something fishy in Denmark. Someone has gone to a hell of a lot of trouble to cover their tracks here. Yes, very rich people often like to stay anonymous. But this – this level of deliberate opacity is practically beyond anything we’ve ever witnessed in LA. There’s gotta be a reason for the deafening silence. Whoever the owner is, for whatever reason they’re spending so much money up there on Point Dume, there’s a story there. A big story. A really big story.
Perhaps sometime in the next couple years, one of the big professional journalists will pick it up and turn it into real breaking news. If and when that happens, and you read it on some headline somewhere, don’t forget it was your chick Yolanda who first popped open that can of worms. You hear? Your gurl was on this shit from day one.

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