Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has feigned ignorance over former Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz and her family's alleged links to 1MDB prior to appointing her as one of his economic advisors in 2018
According to the former prime minister, the reason he chose Zeti was based on her experience and performance as a central banker. She was part of the 'Council of Elders', also known as Council of Eminent Persons, to advise the then Pakatan Harapan administration for the first 100 days on economic matters.
Other members of the quasi-official group included former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram, billionaire Robert Kuok, and former PETRONAS chief Tan Sri Hassan Marican.
"I did not know anything about her sons and all that. That is her matter," Dr Mahathir told Malaysiakini during an interview that was published earlier today, 16 April.
In December last year, it was alleged that Zeti's husband, Datuk Dr Tawfiq Ayman, and their two sons had admitted to receiving funds from fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, a central figure in the 1MDB scandal.
Money totalling RM65.71 million was transferred to Iron Rhapsody — a company co-owned by Zeti's husband and their two sons — between 2008 and 2009, triggering suspicious transaction report alerts.
Last month, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) said they are investigating Zeti Akhtar's husband for money laundering for his alleged involvement in the 1MDB corruption case.
Dr Mahathir said that he and Zeti kept in touch while Najib Razak was still prime minister as she was aware of the irregularities in his bank accounts
He claims that Zeti had wanted to take action against Najib but the plan failed.
"Actually, even during Najib's time (as prime minister) I had been talking to Zeti. She was the one who told me that Najib had a lot of money in the bank and that she wanted to take action. She tried. But after that, not sure what Najib did, she did not dare," the Malaysiakini interview quoted Dr Mahathir as saying.
He said that Najib "destroyed the group of four", referring to the top four government officials — the then attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail, former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Abu Kassim Mohamad, then Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar, and Zeti.
The portal reported that out of the four, three of them — Gani, Abu Kassim, and Zeti — were allegedly betrayed when the group's plan was leaked to Najib, leading to them being replaced in 2016.
...after the police chief told Najib about their group of four, the attorney-general was sacked.
In July last year, the High Court eventually found Najib guilty of the RM42 million corruption charges relating to the SRC International trial, a former subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
In his judgement, Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali stated that despite the arguments that the setting up of SRC was for legitimate national interest, Najib has personal and private interests in SRC.
Zeti was still the BNM governor when Singapore police informed the central bank in 2015 and 2016 of the suspicious transactions involving her husband's Singapore-based company Iron Rhapsody Limited
Zeti was the BNM governor between 2000 and 2016.
Yesterday, 15 April, Tawfiq was spotted at the police Commercial Crime unit in Kuala Lumpur giving his statement for three hours to 1MDB investigating officer Superintendent Foo Wei Min.
The Edge Markets reported that Tawfiq was called to assist a police probe following CID director Datuk Zainuddin Yaacob's statement last month over 1MDB funds being channelled into the company.
Last week, the Inland Revenue Board served Najib with a bankruptcy notice for failing to pay RM1.69 billion in income tax arrears: