Swiss should have kept 1MDB request private: Zahid Hamidi

A 1MDB billboard at the Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 6, 2015.
A 1MDB billboard at the Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 6, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said yesterday that the Swiss Office of the Attorney-General should not have made public its request for help with investigations into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), indicating that the move strains ties between the two countries.

He said such details should have been kept private between the two governments, reported The Malaysian Insider.

"I had hoped that information like that would be conveyed through official government channels, because it is on a G-to-G (government- to-government) basis," Datuk Seri Zahid said.

"By making a public statement, in my opinion, it is not good because it not only strains ties between the two countries, but also creates bias in media reports," he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

The Swiss chief prosecutor had released a statement outlining the country's request for help from Malaysia in its probe into possible violations of Swiss law by 1MDB.

The chief prosecutor had said the company was suspected to have misappropriated about US$4 billion (S$5.7 billion) of funds.

NOT A GOOD MOVE

By making a public statement, in my opinion, it is not good because it not only strains ties between the two countries, but also creates bias in media reports.

MALAYSIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AHMAD ZAHID HAMIDI, referring to the Swiss Office of the Attorney-General.

Some of the money was found to have been transferred into Swiss bank accounts held by former public officials from Malaysia, besides former and current officials from the United Arab Emirates, according to the Swiss Attorney-General.

Swiss prosecutors said they had asked for help from the Malaysian authorities through international mutual legal assistance.

Dr Zahid said that Malaysian Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali will be meeting his Swiss counterpart for more information on the case.

"We will hand over the task of getting more of the aforementioned details to our Attorney-General, who will meet the Swiss Attorney-General," Dr Zahid said in response to a query at the closing of the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association Fair in Kuala Lumpur, reported The Malaysian Insider.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2016, with the headline 'Swiss 'should have kept 1MDB request private''. Print Edition | Subscribe