1MDB probe found no crime; Malaysia will cooperate with any lawful investigation, says Najib's press secretary

File photo of construction worker talking on the phone in front of a 1MDB billboard at the Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
File photo of construction worker talking on the phone in front of a 1MDB billboard at the Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - The press secretary to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak reiterated on Thursday (July 21) that the Attorney General had found that no crime was committed in a probe into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) but said Malaysia will fully cooperate with any lawful investigation into the debt-ridden state investor.

"Malaysian authorities have led the way in investigations into 1MDB. The company has been the subject of multiple investigations within Malaysia, including by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Auditor General and bi-partisan Public Accounts Committee," Datuk Seri Tengku Sariffuddin said in a statement.

"After comprehensive review, the Attorney General found that no crime was committed. 1MDB is still the subject of an investigation by the Royal Malaysia Police," he added.

He also noted the civil lawsuit brought by the US Justice Department to seize assets that it claimed were bought with money pilfered from 1MDB.

 

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"We note the United States Department of Justice's civil lawsuits brought against various assets. As previously stated, the Malaysian Government will fully cooperate with any lawful investigation of Malaysian companies or citizens in accordance with international protocols.  

"As the Prime Minister has always maintained, if any wrongdoing is proven, the law will be enforced without exception," said the press secretary.

In a separate statement, 1MDB said "it is not a party to the civil suit, does not have any assets in the United States of America, nor has it benefited from the various transactions described in the civil suit.”

In a development which could impact the Malaysian political scene,  the US Justice  Department on Wednesday (July 20) moved to seize more than US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion) in assets allegedly bought with money stolen from 1MDB.

 The court filings made thinly veiled references to Mr Najib, as the US alleged that billions of dollars were siphoned off by his stepson Riza Aziz, and family friend Jho Low, a Malaysian financier and confidant of the prime minister.

The filings also named Mr Mohamed Badawy al-Husseiny, a former official at a government fund in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, that participated in deals with 1MDB, and former Abu Dhabi government representative Khadem Al Qubaisi. 

The Justice Department alleged that pilfered funds were notably spent on fine art and high-end real estate, and Mr Riza also invested more than US$100 million to finance the 2013 Hollywood financial crime caper “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

The Wall Street Journal had reported that US$681 million in funds linked to 1MDB was deposited into Mr Najib's personal bank account, but the prime minister had denied any wrongdoing. 

Malaysia’s Attorney General Apandi Ali said in January that the money was a political donation from the Saudi royal family and  Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir also said in April that the funds wired into Mr Najib’s personal bank account was a “genuine” donation from Saudi Arabia.