Now FBI Opens Money-Laundering Investigation On 1MDB: Here Are The Facts So Far

The FBI's probe is the latest international investigation centred on 1MDB.

Cover image via Fazry Ismail/EPA

IGP: Don’t trust media reports on FBI’s alleged probe on 1MDB and Najib

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar

Image via Malay Mail Online

"We would like to advise all those seeking information to direct all enquiries to the FBI office in Washington and not rely on media news," he said in a statement today.

According to Khalid, the Malaysian police have not been informed of any probe by the bureau.

"Nor have they tendered any official request for assistance in regards to said issue," he added.

20 SEPT: Shortly after police officers from Bukit Aman arrested former UMNO leader Khairuddin Abu Hassan, WSJ reports that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has initiated an investigation into allegations of money-laundering linked to the debt-ridden 1MDB

Citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said the FBI's probe is the latest in a series of international investigations centred on the 1MDB scandal. It, however, said that the scope of the investigation wasn't known.

Although contrary to the claims made by Khairuddin's lawyer Matthias Chang that the former UMNO leader was scheduled to travel to New York to meet with an FBI agent to urge the U.S. authorities to investigate PM Najib's involvement in the 1MDB, a spokeswoman for the FBI's New York office told WSJ that no agent in the office had arranged to speak with Khairuddin or had any previous contact with him.

1MDB was set up by Najib to invest in Malaysia's economy

The international investigations center on entities related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd., which was set up by Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 to help drive the economy. The fund is having difficulty repaying more than $11 billion of debt and is at the center of investigations that are destabilizing the government.

A Malaysian government probe found that nearly $700 million moved through banks, agencies and companies linked to 1MDB before being deposited into Mr. Najib’s alleged private bank accounts ahead of a close election in 2013, the Journal reported in July.

The source of the money is unclear, and the government investigation hasn’t detailed what happened to the funds that allegedly went into Mr. Najib’s personal accounts. Malaysia’s anticorruption body in August said the funds were a donation from the Middle East. The donor wasn’t specified.

Mr. Najib has denied wrongdoing and denied taking money for personal gain.

We know the Switzerland's Office of Attorney-General has opened a criminal proceedings against two unidentified executives of 1MDB and has also frozen tens of millions of dollars in Swiss banks.

After which, on 15 September, Switzerland’s Federal Prosecutor said his Malaysian counterpart, Apandi Ali, has agreed to arrange for Swiss investigators to interview witnesses in their investigation.

Swiss Attorney-General Michael Lauber met Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.

Image via TMI

In a statement, Switzerland’s Office of Attorney-General said that its chief, Michael Lauber, today met with his Malaysian counterpart, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, to discuss “mutual cooperation” in the 1MDB case.

The statement said the Swiss regarded Malaysian cooperation as crucial to their ongoing inquiry. The Swiss did not identify witnesses whose testimony they formally requested Malaysian authorities to arrange.

Meanwhile, commenting on the series of ongoing investigations by foreign countries into alleged money-laundering activities linked to 1MDB, the longest-serving PM of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir, said it could lead to PM Najib being arrested abroad if any wrongdoing is proven

Speaking at a meeting with an NGO named Kumpulan Melayu Berani Bersatu on Friday, Dr Mahathir said that there was a “possibility” that such a scenario could happen.

"Those countries ― Switzerland, Britain, America ― if they find Najib doing any money laundering (activities) they can ask Interpol to arrest him if he goes overseas. So he (Najib) has to remain here, like how he withdrew the passports of some people and barred them from going overseas," the said in a video uploaded on the blog "Din Turtle"

You can watch Dr Mahathir's full speech here:

Earlier on 12 September, Malaysian Bar President Steven Thiru, during the passing of a resolution on the 1MDB scandal by the Bar at its extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in KL had said that PM Najib may face a lawsuit for abuse of power in the 1MDB probe

And now Najib himself is under probe by U.S. authorities...

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