Clare Rewcastle Brown to Discuss Money-Laundering Controls Learned from 1MDB Scandal


Sarah Hofmann
ACFE Public Information Officer

“I think this whole offshore financial structure that’s been allowed to grow like a canker … the whole thing’s got out of control,” said investigative journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown in an interview with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). 

Rewcastle Brown founded The Sarawak Report and Radio Free Sarawak in 2010 to disseminate news that concerned the Sarawak region of Malaysia and eventually, news surrounding the emerging 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Bhd) scandal. In August 2015, a warrant for her arrest was issued by a Malaysian court for "activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy" and the "dissemination of false reports."

“I think we’re seeing a swing of the pendulum and I think 1MDB’s just kind of cropped up perhaps at the right place at the right time … governments across the world have started to realize that they’ve lost control and populations have lost patience,” she said.

Rewcastle Brown will address anti-fraud professionals from across Europe at the 2017 ACFE Fraud Conference Europe in London, March 19-21. Despite having an arrest warrant issued for her by a Malaysian court, Brown remains optimistic that corruption on a global scale can be defeated. She said, “I do think we’re seeing a lashback and 1MDB is going to be just one example of enforcement agencies hitting back.”

Despite not being able to attend the 2016 ACFE Fraud Conference Asia-Pacific last November in Singapore due to safety concerns, she is committed to speaking in-person at the conference in London. She plans to lay out the intricate timeline of the 1MDB scandal that allegedly began in 2009 and runs through present day.

1MDB is currently being investigated by Swiss, Singh and U.S. authorities. In a question-and-answer session after her prepared remarks in Singapore, Rewcastle Brown addressed what controls she thought could help prevent this type of large-scale money laundering. “I think this case is really an opportunity to hold banks and players in these actions seriously to account. And to make the actors who have broken the rules pay the penalty, seriously. [They should be] absolutely exposed, shamed and embarrassed because we need to put off future, potential situations like this arising again,” she said. “I think that’s the best we can hope to come out of this. By showing at last, that the financial regulators have teeth and that they’re catching up to the global criminal element who have been using our offshore system and far-too compliant financial organizations. If we can get ahead of them, maybe that’s the best way to deal with this particular problem.”

Find out more about the upcoming 2017 ACFE Fraud Conference Europe, and register by February 17 for early registration discounts, at