Tue, Oct 08, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Malaysia issues fines over alleged 1MDB payments

AP, KUALA LUMPUR

Malaysia’s anti-graft agency yesterday ordered 80 people and groups to pay fines totaling about US$100 million for allegedly receiving funds from the 1MDB state investment fund.

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak’s brother Nazir Razak, who heads the nation’s second-largest bank, was among those listed. So was a former deputy minister, Ahmad Maslan, and the former chief of the Malaysian land development authority, Shahrir Samad.

Branches of Najib’s party and others in the former ruling coalition were also listed, as were 23 companies.

Najib is facing 42 charges of corruption, abuse of power and money laundering in five separate criminal cases linked to the 1MDB.

Public anger over the alleged graft contributed to a surprise defeat of Najib’s long-ruling coalition in elections last year.

Najib denies wrongdoing and has accused Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s government of seeking political vengeance.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission head Latheefa Koya told reporters that the fines totaled about 420 million Malaysian ringgit (US$100 million).

The money belongs to the Malaysian public, she said.

The fines could be as much as 2.5 times the amount each person or group allegedly received from 1MBD, she said.

“We have opened up investigations for all of these people,” Koya said. “We hope that by the time they receive this compound notice they will take it seriously and pay up.”

Najib set up 1MDB to promote economic development when he took office in 2009, but the fund amassed billions in debts and is being investigated in the US and several other countries for alleged cross-border embezzlement and money laundering.

US investigators say that more than US$4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB by associates of Najib from 2009 to 2014, including money in Najib’s bank accounts.

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