Wed, Jul 04, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Ex-Malaysian PM Najib arrested in 1MDB probe

CORRUPTION:Najib Razak is to be charged today in connection with an investigation into alleged theft and money laundering at the state investment fund


Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was arrested yesterday by anti-graft investigators and is to be charged over his alleged role in the multibillion-dollar looting of a state investment fund.

A government task force probing alleged theft and money laundering at the 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) state investment fund said that Najib’s arrest was linked to a suspicious transfer of 42 million ringgit (US$10.6 million) into his bank account from SRC International, a former 1MDB unit, using multiple intermediary companies.

It said in a brief statement that Najib is to be brought to court today to be charged, but did not give details of the charges against him.

Najib’s arrest comes nearly two months after his coalition’s stunning rejection by voters in a May 9 general election.

The new government has reopened investigations into 1MDB that were stifled under Najib’s rule. Najib and his wife, who have been questioned over the SRC issue by the anti-graft agency, have been barred from leaving the country.

Police have also seized jewelry and valuables valued at more than 1.1 billion ringgit from properties linked to Najib, who has denied any wrongdoing.

The anti-corruption agency earlier yesterday questioned Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson and a Hollywood film producer, as it stepped up its probe on 1MDB.

Riza was solemn as he arrived at the anti-graft office and did not speak to reporters.

US investigators say Riza’s company, Red Granite Pictures Inc, used money stolen from 1MDB to finance Hollywood films, including the Martin Scorsese-directed The Wolf of Wall Street.

Red Granite in March agreed to pay the US government US$60 million to settle claims that it benefited from the 1MDB scandal.

The civil suit against Red Granite was part of an effort to recover some of the US$4.5 billion that US prosecutors say was stolen from 1MDB. They say hundreds of millions from 1MDB landed in Najib’s bank accounts.

The 1MDB government task force this week said that 408 bank accounts involving funds of nearly 1.1 billion ringgit had been frozen.

It said the accounts, belonging to 81 people and 55 companies, are thought to have received funds from 1MDB between 2011 and 2015.

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