SOAS University of London

Centre of South East Asian Studies

Malaysia's Billion-dollar 1MDB Scandal: The Inside Story

Clare Rewcastle Brown (Editor, Sarawak Report)
Clare Rewcastle-Brown (Sarawak Report, UK)

Date: 15 November 2016Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 15 November 2016Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Seminar


The Sarawak Report shocked the world with its detailed evidence and analyses alleging the diversion of billions of dollars from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state development fund, to the private coffers of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his associates between 2009 and 2015. The Sarawak Report’s research has spurred investigations into 1MDB-related individuals and entities by government authorities in Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and elsewhere. In Malaysia, the disclosures have roiled domestic politics and the economy, but most investigative efforts by government authorities and by the media and others have been hampered. In January 2016, the Malaysian Attorney General declared Prime Minister Najib innocent of criminal offense and corruption accusations. Nonetheless, in July, the United States Department of Justice filed civil complaints alleging that at least US$3.5 billion had been misappropriated from 1MDB and that the US was seeking to seize over US$1 billion of assets said to have been acquired with stolen funds. This is largest case ever brought by the DoJ’s kleptocracy asset recovery programme.

Speaker biography 

Sarawak-born Clare Rewcastle Brown is an investigative journalist who founded the Sarawak Report and Radio Free Sarawak in 2010. Through research, analysis and reportage, these organisations have aimed to expose and draw attention to the role of corruption in the destruction of Sarawak’s rain forests and the resulting harm to the resources and livelihoods of the people of Sawarak. In 2015, in the wake of her reporting, Rewcastle Brown was followed and photographed by hired stalkers in London and as a result provided with Metropolitan Police protection. In the same year, the Sarawak Report was recognised by the Index of Censorship as a “champion against censorship.” Rewcastle Brown was honoured as one of Fortune Magazine’s 50 World’s Greatest Leaders of 2016. The impact of Radio Free Sarawak was highlighted when it won the International Press Institute’s Free Media Pioneers Award in 2013 and the Communication for Social Change Award in 2014.


Watch the video of the talk

Organiser: SOAS Centre of South East Asian Studies & Monsoons Book Club

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