Malaysia's 1MDB Probe Moves Overseas as 60% of Evidence Compiled

(Bloomberg) -- Malaysian investigators have completed 60 percent of their probe into troubled state fund 1MDB after reopening the case about three months ago.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has compiled almost all local evidence, and is now collecting information from outside the country with cooperation from the foreign authorities, including U.S. and Singapore, Deputy Chief Commissioner Azam Baki told reporters near Kuala Lumpur.

“Give us time to get statements from overseas,” he said. “We’re left with about 40 percent, which is all the evidence we need from the foreign countries. It involves many countries.”

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is pushing for a quick resolution to investigations into the multibillion-dollar scandal surrounding 1MDB as he seeks to recover $4.5 billion potentially lost through the fund. Gathering evidence across borders may prove to be the bigger challenge as authorities seek to trace the complex globe-spanning transactions that have spawned investigations in at least 10 countries.

The court has laid several charges of corruption, abuse of power and money laundering against former premier Najib Razak, with all of them linked to 42 million ringgit ($10.2 million) of domestic transactions.

Malaysia has requested Interpol to issue a Red Notice against Low Taek Jho, who has been painted as a central figure in the 1MDB case, and his father. Low has hired former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and one of President Donald Trump’s go-to law firms, Kasowitz Benson Torres, to defend his interests in a U.S. Justice Department investigation.

The whereabouts of Low and his father aren’t publicly known. On Aug. 24, Low’s father Larry Low Hock Peng reduced his stake in Singapore-based Frencken Group Ltd., according to an exchange filing.

Separately, the anti-graft agency is looking into possible 1MDB links in a $12 million case involving a research division under the Prime Minister’s Department, with nine individuals already detained as part of the probe.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.