UAE's ambassador to the US linked to 1MDB scandal: Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal reported that the UAE ambassador to the US, Mr Yousef Al Otaiba, was linked to the 1MDB scandal.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the UAE ambassador to the US, Mr Yousef Al Otaiba, was linked to the 1MDB scandal. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK - The United Arab Emirates ambassador to the US received US$66 million from offshore companies that investigators in the US and Singapore have said held funds siphoned from Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Citing court and investigative documents, the newspaper said there have been no public disclosures as to the purpose of the transfers, and Mr Yousef Al Otaiba, the ambassador, declined to comment on them.

The report also said emails written by and to Mr Otaiba, hacked by a dissident group and leaked to news organisations, include descriptions of meetings between Shaher Awartani, an Abu Dhabi-based business partner of Mr Otaiba, and Jho Low, the Malaysian financier the US Justice Department says was the central conspirator in the alleged US$4.5 billion 1MDB fraud.

Mr Otaiba has since the 2000s been an associate of Low, the report said on Friday (June 30).

A spokeswoman for the UAE embassy in Washington declined to address the evidence of financial transfers, but dismissed the leaked emails as part of a campaign against the UAE, reported the WSJ.

A senior official in Abu Dhabi, the UAE.'s capital, defended Mr Otaiba's private business interests, said the newspaper. He declined to address the transactions allegedly connected to 1MDB.

Mr Awartani, the ambassador's business partner, didn't respond to requests for comment.