Report: Najib’s 'PR guy' Paul Stadlen to be charged with money laundering

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KUALA LUMPUR - Paul Stadlen, once a media advisor to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, is expected to be slapped with money laundering charges, according to The Edge.

He is expected to be charged in abstentia as he fled Malaysia after Pakatan Harapan won the elections last May.

The business daily quoted sources who said that the charges involve a sum of RM15mil, with investigators tracing the source of money to the former prime minister.

Last November, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said it was looking for Stadlen as a witness in its 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) investigations.

Stadlen first came to prominence in 2015 after bloggers and news portals, including Sarawak Report, detailed his lavish lifestyle with pictures of him partying, usually surrounded by a bevy of beauties - often scantily-clad.

However, his history with the Malaysian government goes back as far back as 2009, when global PR firm Apco Worldwide won a government contract here.

The Najib administration later dropped the contract and Stadlen temporarily moved to work for FBC Media.

In 2011, Sarawak Report exposed that FBC Media had won contracts worth RM84mil and RM15mil from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the Sarawak government to promote Najib and then Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and various government projects to UK and US news stations such as BBC, CNBC and CNN.

This was in violation of those countries' broadcast laws, and after the Sarawak Report expose, the broadcasters' above axed their contracts with FBC Media.

That didn't seem to be bad news for Stadlen, who then moved to work directly for the PMO - his office was located just a few doors down the corridor from Najib's own national communications team's office, the whistleblowing portal reported in 2015.

In November that same year, when queried in Parliament, the Prime Minister's Department claimed that Stadlen was not a government employee and, as such, was not paid a salary and allowance by the government.