Earlier today, 8 January, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) revealed a total of nine audio tapes lasting 45 minutes
The recordings took place between 5 January 2016 and 29 July 2016.
According to MACC, involving high-ranking officials including former prime minister Najib Razak and his wife, the recordings show a "criminal conspiracy at the highest level" during the Barisan Nasional-led government.
Back in July 2016, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) had filed a major civil lawsuit seeking to seize more than USD1 billion worth of assets allegedly purchased with money that was stolen from 1MDB by people close to Najib Razak. The suit was one of the largest asset seizures in US history.
The Star reported that MACC received the recordings anonymously on Thursday, 2 January.
MACC said that they have verified the authenticity of the recordings
MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said that the commission is confident of the documents' "absolute authenticity" and that the media was the first to hear the audio conversations.
"This is of public interest and affects national security," Latheefa was quoted as saying at a press conference at MACC headquarters in Putrajaya.
"From our own expertise, we can see it has elements of power abuse, fabrication of evidence and leaking of information protected under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). This is shocking as there are attempts at cover-ups and subversion of justice," she said, adding that the recordings would be sent to the police.
The recordings involved conversations between several people
Among the individuals which MACC identified include former prime minister Najib Razak, his wife Rosmah Mansor, former MACC chief Dzulkifli Ahmad, former Tabung Haji chairman Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, and Najib's former principal private secretary Shukry Mohd Salleh.
MACC also identified United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed Zayed Al Nahyan, Mubadala Development Company (MDC) chief executive Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Najib's special officer Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, UMNO's Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, and several foreign dignitaries.
Among the conversation recorded, one revealed a desperate sounding Najib as he sought to clear his stepson Riza Aziz's name
Conversation between Najib and the Crown Prince on 22 July 2016, as noted by Malay Mail.
Crown Prince: Mr Prime Minister, how are you and how is your family there?
Najib: I'm delighted to speak to you and of course, we are experiencing dark cloud, by the announcement of DOJ. That’s why your Highness it is important for us to resolve this to the impasse with the 1MDB soon. It is embarrassing us, Malaysia, and the UAE, as well as personalities close to you. I wish we can find a solution as soon as possible. Difficult to talk over the phone, possible to meet as soon as possible?
Crown Prince: It's fine by me but I will be travelling for a medical check-up for five days. I can get someone to come to you and talk about it.
Crown Prince: Mr Prime Minister I'm sorry I was late. I've consulted with my guys and I really don't want to push this anymore. This is of mutual interest. I don't think you should fly over, people will know about it. I will tell my person to come there. He is in California, I will call him now and he can come.
Najib: (sounding stressed and stuttering) Your highness I have a personal request. My son Riza Aziz, related to his movie production in America if there can be an agreement with Sheikh Mansour signed, so that it can show it was legitimate instead money laundering. At the moment he's under pressure in America. I'm worried if they make him a scapegoat.
I hope the agreement can be signed immediately with Sheikh Mansour so that it can appear as a legitimate loan agreement. When he (Riza) received it, the bank cleared the source of money, I don't want him to be a victim when he doesn't know and genuinely think its from Sheikh Mansour. I need that agreement to be sorted out quickly.
Crown Prince: I promise you, I will do it now and I believe he is your son.
Najib: Yes, he is innocent. He just wants to make a movie. Now they want to connect with him with 1MDB, but time is essence my honour. We cannot leave it for a day. We don’t want DOJ to figure.
Crown Prince: I want to finish this, I will help.
Najib: This is very catastrophic. Can lead to catastrophic in my government and your side. This is not impossible. It's within our means to resolve it.
In another conversation, Rosmah can be heard telling her husband Najib to "take charge" because he was prime minister
"I don't like this. Darling, you are the prime minister, you should take in charge, not anybody else, OK?" Rosmah is heard saying in a loud and firm voice in one of nine audio clips released by MACC.
To which Najib is heard responding, "Yup, I understand".
"You've got fools around you," Rosmah then remarks.
In the audio clip below, a fuming Rosmah is also heard shouting at Najib over his handling of the 1MDB saga following revelations from DOJ in July 2016.
Meanwhile, Najib today responded saying that he is shocked and needed time to study the contents of the audio recordings
"Saya terkejut (I am shocked by this). I am studying this revelation and I am studying the contents (of the audio clips)," he was quoted saying by Malaysiakini.
"This has never happened in history... I will discuss it with my lawyers," he said, adding that he needs to "study the law on this and see what I can do because, at the time, I was the head of the government".
According to the former prime minister, the timing of the revelation by MACC is suspicious as it was linked to the Kimanis by-election campaign.