Fourth person detained in 1MDB probe

A special task force investigating state investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has nabbed a fourth individual to assist in its probe.
A special task force investigating state investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has nabbed a fourth individual to assist in its probe.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - A fourth person was detained by Malaysia's high-level multi-agency team probing irregularities at state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The person - a 48-year-old managing director - was brought to Putrajaya magistrate's court on Saturday morning by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers. He was remanded for four days.

A MACC spokesman said the person was arrested on Friday to assist with investigation into SRC International.

SRC was a former 1MDB subsidiary before coming under full ownership of the Finance Ministry in 2012. It was named in the July 3 report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) alleging that US$700 million (S$960 million) linked to 1MDB was deposited in private accounts belonging to Prime Minister Najib Razak. 

WSJ alleged that RM42 million (S$15 million) from SRC ended up in Najib's personal accounts via Ihsan Perdana, which was engaged to run corporate social responsibility programmes for 1MDB.

The latest arrest comes after the MACC detained a 28-year-old company director on Thursday and the managing director of Ihsan Perdana on Tuesday "to aid in investigations linked to SRC". The latter was released on Saturday on RM100,000 bail with two sureties after four days in remand.

On Monday, the Malaysian authorities made their first arrest when they detained a director of a construction firm, Mr Jerome Lee, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport as he was about to leave for Taiwan. Mr Lee, who was also remanded for four days, was released on RM100,000 bail on Friday.

Since the allegations of state fund transfers surfaced in WSJ, the task force - which also includes the central bank, police and public prosecutor - has frozen six bank accounts and raided the headquarters of 1MDB.

The state investor has struggled to meet financing obligations after racking up RM42 billion in debt in its first five years of operations.

Mr Najib, who chairs 1MDB's advisory board, has denied ever using public funds for "personal gain" but has failed to clarify if the money was indeed deposited into his personal bank accounts.