1MDB probe 'found no proof of wrongdoing'

Signage for 1Malaysia Development is displayed at the site of the Tun Razak Exchange project in Kuala Lumpur.
Signage for 1Malaysia Development is displayed at the site of the Tun Razak Exchange project in Kuala Lumpur.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

KUALA LUMPUR • Second Finance Minister Husni Hanadzlah made a startling claim yesterday that the Auditor-General's ongoing investigations into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) "found no evidence of wrongdoing".

He also appeared to absolve Prime Minister Najib Razak of allegations that US$700 million (S$950 million) had been deposited into his personal accounts.

Datuk Seri Husni said in a statement that based on what he called a "preliminary report", "reckless allegations by some parties including the 'disappearance' of RM42 billion (S$15 billion) and transfer of US$700 million to certain individual do not arise".

This comes just a day after police said they were investigating leaks in official 1MDB investigation papers and did not discount a conspiracy by foreign nationals to topple Datuk Seri Najib's administration, an idea mooted by leaders in the ruling Umno and party newspaper Utusan Malaysia. "It is my hope that all baseless allegations will be put to rest," Mr Husni said.

But Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) - which last week received the report from Auditor-General Ambrin Buang as part of its own probe into 1MDB - rubbished the idea that such a conclusion could be garnered from an interim report.

PAC chairman Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the Cabinet had ordered his bipartisan parliamentary panel to further scrutinise the audit report. "It is improper for the Finance Ministry to declare there was no wrongdoing when it is the subject of investigations as 1MDB is its fully owned company," he told The Straits Times.

He had said after interviewing Tan Sri Ambrin that 1MDB had yet to provide all documents requested by the audit department.

Mr Najib has denied using state funds for "personal gain" after the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) alleged on July 3 that he had received US$700 million of 1MDB-linked money in his private accounts over the past two years.

Meanwhile, CIMB announced the resignation of Mr Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, CEO of its Islamic banking arm, who had disputed documents cited by WSJ in its 1MDB expose, Malay Mail Online reported.

Shannon Teoh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2015, with the headline '1MDB probe 'found no proof of wrongdoing''. Print Edition | Subscribe