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Saturday, January 30, 2016

1MDB Scandal: Swiss A-G probing into misappropriation of RM17 bil

WASHINGTON - Switzerland’s chief prosecutor said on Friday he has formally asked Malaysia for help with his probe into possible violations of Swiss law by the state-owned fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), saying suspected misappropriations amounted to about $4 billion (about RM17 billion).

The office of Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber said the request pertained to possible violations of Swiss laws related to bribery of foreign officials, misconduct in public office, money laundering and criminal mismanagement at 1MDB.

Earlier this week, Malaysia’s attorney general cleared Prime Minister Najib Razak of any criminal offences or corruption, declaring that $681 million (RM2.6 billion) deposited into his personal bank account was a gift from Saudi Arabia’s Royal family.

1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Najib, was being examined by Malaysian authorities investigating accusations of financial mismanagement and graft. The fund has been dogged by controversy over its $11 billion (RM42 billion) debt and alleged financial mismanagement.

The Swiss statement said Lauber’s investigation had already “revealed serious indications that funds have been misappropriated from Malaysian state companies.”

Those funds “would have been earmarked for investment in economic and social development projects in Malaysia,” the Swiss official said. – Reuters

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; editing by Stuart Grudgings and David Gregorio)

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