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Thursday, 9 July 2015

Malaysia

On 8 March 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight 370, a scheduled international passenger flight and nowadays better known as MH370, took off from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) to Beijing (China). At 01:19 MYT (17:19 UTC, 7 March), one hour after take-off, voice contact with air traffic control stopped. Two minutes later the plane was no longer visible on their radar screens, as the plane's transponder signal to ground radar was deliberately shut down (BBC). Yet the plane continued its flight for at least another 7 hours. At 02:22 MYT, Malaysian military radar was no longer able to continue tracking the plane although it was able to notice that the plane deviated from its original flight plan. Analysis of satellite communications between the aircraft and Inmarsat's satellite communications network concluded that the flight continued until at least 08:19 MYT and flew south into the southern Indian Ocean, although the precise location cannot be determined. Despite a 1.5 year search, this plane has still not been found. (Wikipedia)

On 17 July 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight 17, a scheduled international passenger flight and nowadays better known as MH17, took off from Amsterdam (The Netherlands) to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). A Russian military crew transporting a BUK surface-to-air missile installation was video recorded on their way to Ukraine and later back to Russia but with one missile less. Evidence is mounting that this missing BUK missile is responsible for downing MH17. (Wikipedia)

In August 2014, the Malaysian government's sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad, which then owned 69.37% of Malaysia Airlines, announced its intention to purchase remaining ownership from minority shareholders and de-list the airline from Malaysia's stock exchange, thereby renationalising Malaysia Airlines. Prior to 2014, Malaysia Airlines had one of the world's best safety records - just two fatal accidents in 68 years of operation, including the hijacking in 1977 of Flight 653 that resulted in 100 casualties. (Wikipedia)

On 2 July 2015, the Malaysian Prime Minister was accused of transferring nearly US$ 700 million dollar from 1Malaysia Development Berhad ("1MDB"), another Malaysian government investment fund, to his private bank accounts (WSJ, sarawak). Yesterday 8 July, the Malaysian police raided the offices of this government investment fund (Guardian).

The 1MDB fund has been the focus of international attention for some time as it has accumulated a massive debt of US$ 11 billion (WSJ), has 3 three times requested and been granted extensions on repayment deadlines for a bank loan (FT), and has appointed at least 3 audit firms since its 2009 incorporation (FT). The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) links this massive debt to overpriced asset purchases and related kick-backs to ruling politicians for their 2013 re-election campaign.

In 1998, the Malaysian ruling political party ousted one of its members, who served as a Finance Minister, after his frontal attack against what he described as the widespread culture of nepotism and cronyism within the ruling political party and the ruling coalition as a whole. "Cronyism" was identified by him as a major cause of corruption and misappropriation of funds in the country. Until today, this former Finance Minister and current opposition leader has been jailed for corruption and sexual misconduct charges. (Wikipedia)

Although I fail to see a clear convincing link between all of the above events, it smells quite fishy.