Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency Summons Najib for Questioning
(Bloomberg) -- Former Prime Minister Najib Razak will be charged under the anti-money laundering act on Wednesday, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said.
The anti-graft agency confirmed that Najib was summoned to give his statement on the case relating to SRC International Sdn, a former unit of troubled state fund 1MDB, on Tuesday, it said in an emailed statement. Najib has pleaded not guilty to earlier charges of corruption and criminal breach of trust, also linked to SRC, that were served on July 4.
After toppling Najib from power in May, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has revived domestic investigations into the state investment fund, which has spawned worldwide probes in countries from Switzerland to Singapore. U.S. investigators sought to seize $1.7 billion of assets that it said were illegally purchased using money diverted from 1MDB, among them a $250-million yacht that arrived in Malaysia on Tuesday.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers has “properly seized” the yacht as a result of mutual legal assistance treaties between Indonesia, Malaysia and the U.S., which were activated recently, the nation’s top prosecutor Tommy Thomas said in a statement.
Najib denied ever being on board the yacht or having any knowledge of whether the ship was bought using 1MDB funds, he said to reporters in parliament. He was released on a 1 million ringgit ($245,170) bail after he was charged in early July.
The previous charges allege that between Dec. 24 to Dec. 29, 2014, at AmIslamic Bank Bhd., Najib as prime minister and finance minister was given the mandate to manage 4 billion ringgit of funds belonging to SRC International and that he committed a breach of trust on 27 million ringgit. Over the same period he’s alleged to have committed a second breach of trust on 5 million ringgit. And from Feb. 10 to March 2, 2015, he committed a third breach of trust on 10 million ringgit, the charges note.
The court also heard Najib allegedly used his position to gain gratification of 42 million ringgit for himself by granting a government guarantee on 4 billion ringgit of loans from Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) to SRC between Aug. 17, 2011 and Feb. 8, 2012.
Najib’s legal team said they were “seriously considering” seeking to disqualify the attorney general as prosecutor, and said Thomas had made a prejudgment before taking the post. Former Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali had cleared Najib of wrongdoing in connection with SRC in January 2016, saying there was no evidence he knew that money from the company was transferred to his personal accounts.
During the case management on Aug. 8, Najib’s lawyers are expected to file a written request for a ban on public statements commenting on the merits of the case in an unfair or prejudiced manner, as an interim gag order is set to expire then.
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