Asia

British Spin Doctor Arrested On Charges of Money Laundering in Malaysia

Paul Stadlen, spin doctor to ex-Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, has been arrested and charged with two counts of money laundering. Stadlen, of British citizenship, is alleged to have laundered more than USD 3 million from illegal and corrupt activities.

Stadlen’s lawyers in London have denied all the charges. Mishcon de Raya issued a statement in London, stating that their client was being used by the current Malaysian government, in their own private battle against Najib Razak.

“Any charges will be strenuously resisted, as the case against him is politically motivated and in breach of natural justice,” said Kevin Gold, a partner at Mishcon de Reya.

“We are appalled by the actions of the Malaysian government, who today used the media to leak that Paul Stadlen will be charged in absentia, despite there being no such provision under Malaysian law.”

Najib Razak hired Paul Stadlen as a public relations consultant. Razak was Malaysia’s Prime Minister between 2009 and 2018. Stadlen is accused of money laundering, dating back to 2014 and 2015.

Razak had promised his country that he would boost the flailing economy.  Instead, he is facing trial and has been accused of abuse of power, more than 40 charges of corruption, and of money laundering connected to the 1MDB scandal.

The 1MDB scandal rocked Malaysia. The government investment fund was supposed to strengthen the economy and attract foreign investment. Instead, it saw USD 4.5 billion embezzled. A huge chunk of the money, allegedly, went into an account overseen by Razak, the balance was spent on expensive yachts, properties,  lavish parties and shopping sprees. There are also rumours of a Hollywood film.

Stadlen is said to have laundered over USD 3 million for his employer, the Malaysian Prime Minister. Stadlen’s lawyers are appalled at accusations and arrest and say the Malaysian government used the media to leak news of the arrest. They say the charges are a breach of justice and the case against their client is politically motivated.

Paul Stadlen has been charged in absentia. He left Malaysia in 2018, heading back to Britain via Bangkok.

Stadlen has been shrouded in controversy before. In 2009 he worked for Razak, after the PR firm he worked for, Apco Worldwide, won a contract with the Malaysian government. The contract was ended over links to Israel. Stadlen moved on to FBC Media. His work description was to promote Razak abroad. FBC Media has been linked to Donald Trump’s convicted campaign manager also.

Stadlen has a reputation of a party animal and is reported to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle.

Najib’s trial was supposed to start last week but has been delayed. Najib has also denied all the charges against him.