Who should we believe? The AG or the WSJ?
AG Apandi has publically claimed that the money - RM2.6 billion - deposited into PM Najib's personal bank accounts was, in fact, a donation from the Saudi royal family.
However, the Wall Street Journal's Finance Editor Ken Brown, in an interview with ABC News Australia, has now refuted the AG's claim. Speaking to ABC's Beverley O'Connor, the WSJ editor said that the money did NOT come from the Saudi royal family.
It actually came from companies related to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). In fact, Brown also claimed that they had evidence to back this up.
In the interview, which was uploaded on 12 February, Brown says:
"Our reporting has shown for months now that the money did not come from the Saudis, but it came via a bunch of companies and bank accounts related to 1MDB. And you know, our story hasn't been called into question yet, and we have loads of evidence to back that up." You can watch the full interview here.
While Najib has denied that the donation came from 1MDB, he has yet to commence any legal proceedings against WSJ after sending a legal letter to the business paper which stands by its reporting
The WSJ editor also added that he believed A-G Apandi's proposed amendments - to increase the punishment for those who leak state secrets - to the OSA 1972 came about as it is related to attempts by the Malaysian government to put the lid on the whole 1MDB affair
Calling the proposed amendments an "extreme action", he said it was no surprise that it was mooted shortly after Apandi directed investigations into the funds be closed.
"They've gotten a big backlash from that and now they come out and say no one can speak about that," said Brown. He said the proposal to charge journalists who refused to disclose their sources was also a move to cripple news organisations. "Last year they shut down a couple of news organisation that had been reporting on the scandal. So this is part of that. They're really trying to limit that because the more they come down the more it looks worse for the government."
Brown also said although the prime minister appears to be consolidating power – clamping down on critics and getting away with it – the real action will come once overseas investigations into the matter unearth more damning evidence.
"Real action in the next few months will be in the overseas investigations and if they find real serious stuff, it will be hard for the Malaysians to ignore it," said Brown.