1MDB probe: KL detains another company director

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said the detainee, a managing director, was arrested on Tuesday "to aid in investigations". He will be remanded for five days.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said the detainee, a managing director, was arrested on Tuesday "to aid in investigations". He will be remanded for five days.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Arrest is second made by task force in two days; two opposition lawmakers barred from travel abroad

Malaysia's task force probing irregularities at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) has detained another man linked to the troubled state investor, as it tightens the noose on several key players in the financial scandal that is threatening Prime Minister Najib Razak's leadership.

This came as two opposition lawmakers who are strong critics of the 1MDB scandal were banned from travelling abroad.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said in a statement yesterday that it arrested the managing director of a company on Tuesday "to aid in investigations linked to SRC". SRC International is a Finance Ministry firm that was named in the July 3 allegation by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that US$700 million (S$960 million) linked to debt-ridden 1MDB was deposited into private accounts belonging to Datuk Seri Najib.

This was the second arrest of a company director in the space of two days by the special task force, which includes personnel from the MACC, the police, the public prosecutor and the central bank.

The second detainee will be remanded for five days.

MACC prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairy told reporters after the remand hearing yesterday that the detainee is the managing director of Ihsan Perdana, a company engaged to run corporate social responsibility programmes for 1MDB.

DETAINEE HAS 'DATUK' TITLE

A source involved in the task force said the detainee is a "Datuk" - a federal title - of Malay ethnicity, whose detention concerns "the same transaction with SRC International" as the first detainee's.

On July 3, soon after the WSJ article appeared, a Datuk Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman released a statement in the capacity of Ihsan Perdana managing director, denying that the firm had transferred money to Mr Najib's accounts.

According to the WSJ, RM42 million (S$15 million) from SRC International - a 1MDB subsidiary before coming under full ownership of the Finance Ministry in 2012 - ended up in Mr Najib's personal accounts via Ihsan Perdana.

A source involved in the task force said the detainee is a "Datuk" - a federal title - of Malay ethnicity, whose detention concerns "the same transaction with SRC International" as the first detainee's.

On July 3, soon after the WSJ article appeared, a Datuk Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman released a statement in the capacity of Ihsan Perdana managing director, denying that the firm had transferred money to Mr Najib's accounts.

Since then, the special task force has frozen six bank accounts and raided the headquarters of 1MDB, which has struggled to meet its financing obligations after racking up RM42 billion in debt in its first five years of operations.

Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon, opposition lawmaker Tony Pua was barred at the airport from leaving the country for Indonesia. He was given no reason for this by immigration officers.

However, Mr Pua has been accused in some quarters of conspiring to tamper with documents to criminalise the fund and Mr Najib, its advisory board chairman.

During a press conference held in the evening, Mr Pua said that he would consult his lawyers to challenge the travel ban "preventing me from leaving the country without due process".

Mr Rafizi Ramli, another opposition lawmaker who has been accused of being part of the anti-Najib plot, said yesterday that he suspects he has been barred from leaving Malaysia.

When he checked his status on the immigration website, a message showed up telling him to "please refer to the nearest immigration office", the same message that popped up when checking for Mr Pua's status.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2015, with the headline '1MDB probe: KL detains another company director'. Print Edition | Subscribe