On 29 February, the Wall Street Journal in fresh allegations, while quoting unnamed sources, claimed that deposits in the personal accounts of PM Najib Razak actually totalled more than USD1 billion — hundreds of millions more than previously identified
Deposits into personal accounts of Malaysia’s prime minister totaled more than $1 billion—hundreds of millions more than previously identified—and global investigators believe much of it originated with a Malaysian state fund, people familiar with the matter say. The investigators’ belief contradicts a conclusion reached recently by Malaysia’s attorney general.
The attorney general said $681 million deposited to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s account—identified by The Wall Street Journal last year—was a legal donation from a member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family, and most was returned. The attorney general said there was nothing improper and it was time to stop scrutinizing the deposits, a notion echoed by Mr. Najib.
Investigators in two other countries, while agreeing most of the $681 million ultimately was returned, believe the money originated with a Malaysian state development fund called 1MDB that the PM founded, according to people familiar with the probes.
The latest WSJ report does not detail how the rest of the USD1 billion made its way into Najib's bank accounts, nor where it came from. It only said the rest of the undisclosed sum of money had been deposited into the PM's accounts before the RM2.6 billion.
Most money beyond the previously identified $681 million arrived in 2011 and 2012, said two people familiar with flows into his accounts and a person familiar with one overseas probe. The $681 million arrived in 2013.
Mr. Najib’s office also wouldn’t comment on overseas investigators’ belief that the $681 million originated with 1MDB. The 1MDB fund declined to comment for this article. It said in a separate statement Feb.19 it “has not paid any funds to the personal accounts of the Prime Minister.”
Attorney general, Mohamed Apandi Ali, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The report from the WSJ — which is very unlikely to cause any problem for Najib inside UMNO where his standing has only gotten stronger, despite opposition from several party veterans — also claimed that most of the USD1 billion originated from 1MDB, and NOT from Saudi Arabia
As for the Malaysian attorney general’s conclusion that the $681 million deposited to Mr. Najib’s account was a Saudi royal-family donation, the international investigators have found no evidence any of this came from Saudi Arabia, according to those familiar with their probes.
A person familiar with 1MDB’s dealings also said the deposit didn’t come from Saudi Arabia. A Saudi official said in January the kingdom’s ministries of finance and foreign affairs had no knowledge of such a donation to Mr. Najib.
The fresh allegations come hours after Dr. Mahathir Mohamad quit UMNO, saying he did not want to be associated with a group that is seen as supporting corruption under Najib's leadership. Last year, Dr M had mooted the idea of a "council of elders" to advise a Prime Minister, who would replace Najib Razak as it would allow the new PM to listen to different opinions. Read more about it here: