KUALA LUMPUR • A former Umno leader was arrested by police last night, just hours after he said he was being investigated for submitting evidence related to troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to the Swiss Attorney-General.
Mr Khairuddin Abu Hassan, the former Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chairman, was picked up from his home in Kuala Lumpur and taken to the Dang Wangi district police headquarters, reported Malaysian Insider.
His lawyer, Mr Matthias Chang, confirmed the arrest.
Earlier yesterday, Mr Khairuddin and Mr Chang were stopped from leaving the country by immigration officials at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Mr Khairuddin said that the police had directed the Immigration Department to prevent him from leaving Malaysia. "What was disappointing was that the Malaysian Immigration Department told me that there was no specific reason to bar me from going overseas and that the Bukit Aman police had only informed the Immigration that the ban was due to 'special reasons'," he was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper.
Writing on his Facebook later, he said the police had summoned him for questioning at its headquarters in Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur, on Monday at 11am.
He also said he had spoken with the investigating officer, who told him he would be questioned for handing in evidence related to the 1MDB scandal to the Swiss Attorney-General's Chambers.
Mr Khairuddin had handed the evidence to the Swiss authorities on Aug 20, and urged them to investigate the state fund's activities involving Swiss and international banks. The Swiss authorities said last month they had opened criminal proceedings related to 1MDB.
"I have the right to lodge reports in any country in this world, on the condition that it is in accordance with international laws," wrote Mr Khairuddin. He said he had given his assurance that he would cooperate with the police and added that he would appear at Bukit Aman on Monday as requested.
Mr Khairuddin lodged reports with Hong Kong, British and French police over 1MDB in July and August. In their response, Malaysian government officials have accused Mr Khairuddin of lodging "false and politically motivated police reports" and pushing the same agenda as former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has been insistent in his calls for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down.
Mr Khairuddin was sacked from his Umno post in Penang earlier this year for being a bankrupt. He said in February that he was unhappy with the way the Umno head office had dealt with the matter, as he never received any notice from officials to explain his situation.