Malaysia prosecutor & fund will help in Swiss graft probe

By Eileen Ng , AP

KUALA LUMPUR–Malaysia’s top prosecutor said Saturday he will cooperate with Swiss authorities, whose investigation into an indebted Malaysian state investment fund indicated that US$4 billion may have been misappropriated from Malaysian state-owned companies.

Switzerland’s top prosecutor said he sought Malaysia’s help after the investigation into 1MDB confirmed that some money was transferred into accounts held in Switzerland. The accounts were held by various former Malaysian public officials and both former and current public officials from the United Arab Emirates.

The Swiss office said in a statement Friday that criminal proceedings were opened last August against two former 1MDB officials and individuals unknown on suspicion of bribery of foreign public officials, misconduct in public office, money laundering and criminal mismanagement.

The US$4 billion would have been earmarked for investment in economic and social development projects in Malaysia.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, who formed 1MDB in 2009, became embroiled in the scandal after documents leaked last year suggested some US$700 million deposited into his accounts may have come from entities linked to 1MDB. Malaysia’s Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali on Tuesday cleared Najib of any wrongdoing, saying it was a private donation from the Saudi royal family.

Apandi said in a statement Saturday that Malaysian investigations into alleged graft by 1MDB are still ongoing.

“My office intends to take all possible steps to follow up and collaborate with our Swiss counterparts, and we look forward to receiving the findings of their investigations and materials,” he said. He said the materials will be reviewed along with Malaysia’s own probe to determine the right course of action.