The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) said they are currently investigating Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz's husband — Datuk Dr Tawfiq Ayman — for his alleged involvement in the 1MDB corruption case
The investigation into the former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor's husband Tawfiq came after a recent report by The Edge Weekly stating that a company co-owned by Tawfiq received USD16.22 million (RM65.71 million) from fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, a central figure in the 1MDB scandal, in five separate transactions, reported New Straits Times.
The Edge Weekly reported that the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force informed BNM about a suspicious transaction that went into Iron Rhapsody Limited.
It was previously reported that one of Zeti's sons co-owned the company with her husband. However, the person is not named.
The money was transferred to Iron Rhapsody between 2008 and 2009, triggering suspicious transaction report (STR) alerts.
However, BNM was not informed about the suspicious transaction until 2015 and 2016. Following which, investigators in Malaysia, Switzerland, and the US started looking into the theft and laundering of billions of dollars that belonged to 1MDB, reported The Edge Markets.
"The probes were triggered by exposés (on 1MDB) published from March 2015 by The Edge, Sarawak Report, and The Wall Street Journal," The Edge Markets quoted its weekly in the report.
Zeti was the BNM governor between 2000 and 2016.
Federal police Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CID) director Datuk Zainuddin Yaacob said Tawfiq is being investigated for money laundering
The case has been filed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.
"Taking into account that the investigation process and statement recording sessions will be conducted in Malaysia and other countries, police are taking action under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2002 to obtain statements from those abroad," Zainuddin said in a statement yesterday, 3 March.
"As such, we advise the public to not make statements or speculations on any platform until police complete investigations and refers the case to the Attorney General Chambers for the next course of action."
In December last year, it was alleged that Zeti's husband and two sons had admitted to receiving funds from Low in statutory declarations (SDs) signed in March 2019
MalaysiaToday — a portal run by blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin — alleged that Zeti's family received over RM100 million. Free Malaysia Today sighted the SDs and confirmed the authenticity of the document after consulting the attesting lawyers.
However, the funds are said to have transferred to Cutting Edge Industries in Singapore, not Iron Rhapsody as highlighted by the Singapore Police Force.
Following the report, Zeti rubbished the allegation, saying that she has given her full cooperation with BNM, PDRM, and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in the 1MDB case.
She said she could not comment further as, "I am a potential witness in the ongoing criminal trial of the former prime minister. It would therefore in my view be an interference with the ongoing trial and potentially sub judice for me to make any statements at this juncture."
"I wish to reiterate that my family and I have never received any sums of money from 1MDB. The allegations against me and my family are completely false and malicious," she wrote on 31 December 2020.
Prior to Zeti's resignation as BNM governor, there were rumours that she was pressured to relinquish the top post due to her and BNM's role in a special task force investigating the RM2.6 billion that went into former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's personal bank account, reported The Edge Markets.
However, she held onto the position until the end of her term in April 2016. Her successor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim then had a short-lived stint as the new BNM governor.
Ibrahim voluntarily resigned two years later after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government came to power. At the time, then finance minister Lim Guan Eng was scrutinising BNM's purchase of government land adjacent to its Sasana Kijang complex in Kuala Lumpur for RM2.1 billion.
Following Zeti's resignation as BNM governor, she was appointed as Permodalan Nasional Berhad's (PNB) chairman in June 2018: