Investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) saga, said to be the world’s biggest financial scandal, has taken another turn as it has now been “proven” that at least USD10 million of the funds were used to finance a top Las Vegas club.
Hakkasan Nightclub is a prestigious brand into a all-encompassing nightlife experience offering top musical talents across various genres. The club, located at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, was launched in 2013 as a result of a partnership between British nightlife entrepreneur Neil Moffitt and Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund manager Khadem Al-Qubaisi.
Described by Forbes as “the largest of its kind in North America”, the 5-storey, 80,000-square-foot club has the capacity to hold close to 7,500 patrons. Peak nights the club would commonly see 6,000 to 7,000 partygoers.
Now a major player in the Las Vegas club scene, the popular haunt often engages some of the world’s top 100 DJs/producers and electronic music sensations to perform such as Hardwell, Dada Life, Axwell^Ingrosso, Steve Aoki, Krewella, The Chainsmokers, Above & Beyond, Borgeous, 3LAU, W&W, Chuckie, Calvin Harris, and Tiësto, just to name a few.
In fact, Scottish music maestro Calvin Harris and Dutch DJ/producer Tiësto both hold residencies at Hakkasan Nightclub.
— Hakkasan Las Vegas (@HakkasanLV) July 25, 2016
The club has also seen attendance from some of the entertainment industry’s A-listers such as Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, Rita Ora, Paris Hilton, Selena Gomez, Kate Upton, Taylor Swift, Pharrell Williams, Jennifer Lawrence, Christina Aguilera, Drew Barrymore, Rosario Dawson, and more. It is, after all, the hottest club in Las Vegas.
Hakkasan Nightclub is so hot that last year, the company, Hakkasan Group, opened the extravagant Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
After which, Hakkasan Group announced that they were planning a global expansion into Southeast Asia and United States with 2 new restaurants and a nightclub in Indonesia and the introduction of Michelin-starred Yauatcha to Houston, Texas, and Honolulu, Hawaii.
It’s safe to say that their ambition is simply astounding. Unfortunately, its former chairman, Khadem Al-Qubaisi, was arrested by United Arab Emirates officials last week.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) cited “people familiar with the matter” as saying that the authorities believe that the 45-year-old Emirati tycoon, Al-Qubaisi, is a key figure in the alleged scheme to siphon USD3.5 billion from 1MDB.
According to the US government complaint, he received some USD470 million siphoned from 1MDB and prosecutors have since identified several properties he allegedly purchased with that money including a USD51 million penthouse in New York’s Walker Tower and two mansions in Los Angeles worth a combined USD46 million.
Sarawak Report also detailed (complete with documents) how capital siphoned from 1MDB could have been used to fund Hakkasan.
Meanwhile, Hakkasan has denied receiving funds from 1MDB.
Brandon Roos, Hakkasan’s vice president of legal affairs, in a letter to WSJ, said that the company had conducted its own “internal review of funding documentation” and that they “remain fully confident that Hakkasan received capital from a legitimate fund in the Middle East that isn’t connected to entities involved in the 1MDB affair”.
Brandon added that the Justice Department had confirmed Hakkasan is “not the subject or target of their 1MDB investigation”.