The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Internal Revenue Service (the US tax revenue agency), after an investigation that ran over a year, concluded yesterday, 20 July, that the Malaysian people were defrauded on an enormous scale through the money stolen from govt's 1MDB fund
A civil lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) said that USD731 million was allegedly siphoned from 1MDB into a bank account owned by an unnamed individual, identified as 'Malaysian Official 1', whom the DOJ described as a "high-ranking official in the Malaysian government who also held a position of authority with 1MDB".
The 'Malaysian Official 1' had assumed a position of authority with 1MDB, said DOJ, adding that the Malaysian Official 1 had the authority to approve all appointments to, and removal from, 1MDB's Board of Directors and 1MDB’s senior management team.
PM Najib Razak's stepson, Riza Aziz, who has been named in the lawsuit along with Jho Low was described in the lawsuit as a "relative of 'Malaysian Official 1.'"
Reacting to the lawsuit, 1MDB said that it did not benefit from the transactions listed in the lawsuits filed by the United States DOJ.
1MDB also denied US Attorney-General Loretta Lynch's claims that the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund had assets in the US.
"1MDB notes a press conference led by the US Attorney General today relating to a civil court action filed by the government of the United States of America. 1MDB highlights that it is not a party to the civil suit, does not have any assets in the United States of America, nor has it benefited from the various transactions described in the civil suit.
Furthermore, 1MDB has not been contacted by the US Department of Justice or any other foreign agency in relation to their investigations. As previously stated, 1MDB will fully cooperate with any foreign lawful authority, subject to international protocols governing such matters and the advice of the relevant domestic lawful authorities," read the media statement by the government-investment fund.
Meanwhile, PM Najib's press secretary issued a statement, saying that while 1MDB is still the subject of an investigation by the Royal Malaysia Police, the A-G found that "no crime was committed"
"We note the United States Department of Justice’s civil lawsuits brought against various assets. As previously stated, the Malaysian Government will fully cooperate with any lawful investigation of Malaysian companies or citizens in accordance with international protocols. As the Prime Minister has always maintained, if any wrongdoing is proven, the law will be enforced without exception."
PKR President, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, called on Najib to step down
"I believe the Malaysian people want Dato' Sri Najib to go on leave as prime minister so as not to create the perception of abuse of power or process to halt or hinder a full and transparent investigation on this very serious issue," Wan Azizah said in a statement.reuters.com
DAP's Tony Pua, on the other hand, urged Najib to instruct the police and the MACC to discover the identity of the individual described in the lawsuits as 'Malaysian Official 1' by the DOJ
Pua said Malaysia has now become the global laughing stock with the US Department of Justice taking action to seize some US$1 billion of assets stolen from 1MDB, which he said the Malaysian Government remained inexplicably oblivious to the grand theft.
Pua said that in the past, the Najib administration had consistently dismissed the WSJ allegations as “unsubstantiated malicious allegations” as part of a “global conspiracy” to “bring down a democratically elected government”
Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali urged Najib to come clean
"The prime minister must, once and for all, come clean on the matter which can no longer be swept under the carpet. Neither can the prime minister pretend that this latest action is not bringing shame and scandal to the country."
Azmin pointed out that the DOJ had said that officials treated 1MDB like "a personal bank account" and "stole billions of dollars from the people of Malaysia".
"In light of the latest development, the prime minister can no longer hide behind a wall of silence and must instead address the nation on this matter," he said.
PAS Deputy President Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man questioned whether Najib will continue to keep his silence.
He also questioned how is it that the US authorities could find so much evidence against 1MDB, but Malaysian authorities couldn't.
“Is Prime Minister Najib Razak, as the Finance Minister and the step-father to Riza (Aziz) going to continue being mum on the issue?
“What is interesting about the US civil suit is that they found that Good Star Limited is owned by Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) and not PetroSaudi, as claimed by the Finance Ministry in a parliamentary written reply on May 26,” he said.
“It is weird how the US Department of Justice (DoJ) can find evidence against the company, which the Malaysian authorities had failed to do.”
UNMO's Salleh Said Keruak, however, said that any claims related to 1MDB must be treated with caution as "1MDB has been the subject of unprecedented politically-motivated attacks, the objectives of which were to unseat a democratically elected head of government"
Salleh said that judgment should not be rushed before allegations are proven in court. He added that any claims relating to 1MDB must follow a due legal process and adhere to the principle of 'innocent until proven guilty'.
Salleh also said the donation to PM Najib was a separate matter
The Communications and Multimedia Minister said that comprehensive investigations, as well as Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, had confirmed that the donation Najib received came from the Saudi royal family.
"After comprehensive investigations by many authorities, it has been confirmed that the funds were a donation from the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia - as stated by the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia on 14th April."
Read about the US govt's move to seize more than USD1 Billion worth of assets linked to 1MDB and how Najib's stepson is linked: