Najib's former aide held over 1MDB investigation

Investigators leading Mr Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin out of the magistrate's court in Putrajaya yesterday.
Investigators leading Mr Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin out of the magistrate's court in Putrajaya yesterday.PHOTO: MALAYSIAN ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION

He is said to have worked with former PM on economic policies and annual Budget since 2009

A man who was a special officer to former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has been remanded as part of investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) saga.

Mr Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, 42, was taken to the magistrate's court in Putrajaya yesterday by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Local news site The Star Online reported that magistrate Shah Wira Abdul Halim ordered Mr Amhari to be remanded until July 1. A remand makes it easier for the police to conduct an investigation involving the person that is held.

Mr Amhari, who is listed as a fellow of the United States-based Eisenhower Fellowships, is described on its website as having worked directly with the former prime minister since 2009 on national economic policies and the annual Budget.

It was not clear why he was being remanded.

The probe into 1MDB has been accelerated under the seven-week old Pakatan Harapan government.

In May last year, Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Rafizi Ramli claimed that Orb Solutions, a company part-owned by Mr Amhari, had got RM2 million (S$640,000) from Datuk Seri Najib's personal account in August 2014.

The company has described the nature of its business as "Web management and communication strategies solutions".

Mr Rafizi had said this information was based on leaked documents regarding fund flows from SRC International - a former subsidiary of 1MDB that is also being probed by the MACC - for alleged payments to Mr Najib.

Last year, The Straits Times reported that Mr Amhari was among the key figures involved in 1MDB's negotiations with Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company to settle an outstanding loan obligation.

The US Department of Justice has filed several civil lawsuits alleging that more than US$4.5 billion (S$6.1 billion) from 1MDB was misappropriated by the state fund's high-ranking officials and their associates, of which US$681 million had been found in Mr Najib's bank account.

Mr Najib has said the funds in his account were a donation from the Saudi royal family. In 2016, he was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Malaysian authorities.

However, the new administration of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has renewed investigations into the state fund, and Mr Najib has recently been questioned and had his homes raided by the anti-graft agency.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2018, with the headline 'Najib's former aide held over 1MDB investigation'. Print Edition | Subscribe