Najib Razak, the embattled former prime minister of Malaysia convicted with abuse of power, money laundering, and breach of trust related to the 1MDB case, has hired a US-based PR firm for strategic communications and media relations support.
According to a report by Politico, Karv Communications has been appointed for two months as a subcontractor to Najib’s attorney Tania Scivetti. A spokesperson for the PR firm told the publication that it will help “ensure Najib Razak’s actions and views are understood by US journalists and presented accurately in any US media coverage—including during the trial of Roger Ng currently underway in the Eastern District of New York.”
Ng, a former Goldman Sachs banker said to be involved in a bribery scheme involving billions of dollars of 1MDB public funds, is currently being tried in the US. The New York Times reported that it will “most likely be the only trial that will take place on US soil” around the 1MDB case.
According to filings by the US Department of Justice, Karv Communications will receive RM585,760 (US$140,000) for work across two months. The firm, founded and led by former White House comms representative Andrew Frank, is said to specialise in crisis communications, financial communications, personal reputation management, public affairs, and litigation support. In 2019, Karv was hired by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to, among many other tasks, “bolster it’s leaders’ reputation”.
1MDB is said to be the ‘world’s biggest looting of public funds’ and allegedly involves some US$4.5 billion of stolen money. For his involvement in the case, Najib has been sentenced to 12 years in prison, and fined RM210 million (US$50 million) last year over the misappropriation of funds.