Switzerland opens criminal proceedings linked to 1MDB

Cars passing by a 1Malaysia Development Berhad  billboard.
Cars passing by a 1Malaysia Development Berhad billboard. PHOTO: REUTERS

ZURICH (REUTERS) - Switzerland's Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has opened criminal proceedings relating to Malaysia's troubled state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a spokesman said on Friday.

1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak, is being examined by Malaysian authorities investigating accusations of financial mismanagement and graft.

The fund has been dogged by controversy over its US$11 billion (S$15.4 billion) debt and alleged financial mismanagement.

"The Office of the Attorney General confirms that, on Aug 14 2015, it opened a criminal procedure against two entities of 1MDB as well as against an unknown person," the OAG spokesman said in an email.

The case involved "suspected corruption of public foreign officials, dishonest management of public interests and money laundering", he said.

The criminal proceedings follow two communications from the Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland (MROS), the spokesman added.

News of the investigation was first reported by Swiss newspaper Le Temps.

Swiss financial regulator FINMA said on Wednesday that it was checking with some of the country's banks whether they carried out business with 1MDB.