Malaysia Issues Arrest Warrants for Ex-1MDB Executives

(Bloomberg) -- Malaysian investigators are said to have issued arrest warrants for two former executives of troubled state fund 1MDB, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is seeking 1MDB’s ex-general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan and former executive director Casey Tang Keng Chee, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified as the matter is private.

The country’s renewed investigation into missing funds at 1MDB recently resulted in former premier Najib Razak being charged with several counts of criminal breach of trust and corruption, as police said they seized more than 1.1 billion ringgit ($271 million) of cash and items linked to the case. Najib has pleaded not guilty. The local investigation is nearly complete, Chief Commissioner Mohd Shukri Abdull said on July 7, adding that the inquiry now hinges on the MACC gathering evidence from overseas.

Loo and Tang haven’t been charged with any wrongdoing, and it isn’t clear what suspicions underpin the warrants. Attempts to reach their representatives weren’t successful. A representative for the MACC declined to comment.

Singapore Assets

Malaysia is as focused on rooting out corruption as it is on recouping funds potentially lost through 1MDB, with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad setting the goal at $4.5 billion.

The government has hired Singapore-based Tan Rajah & Cheah to help it recover 1MDB funds, said Imran Khwaja, a partner at the law firm. Singapore’s Attorney-General’s Chambers confirmed that it has been in contact with the firm on seized assets linked to 1MDB, and that the funds will be treated according to the law, according to a representative at the chambers.

Former 1MDB executives Loo and Tang were summoned by the commission in June to help with the case on the fund’s former unit SRC International Sdn., along with two other ex-1MDB officials Geh Choh Heng and Eric Tan Kim Loong. Singapore has sought assistance from Interpol to locate Tan since 2016, along with financier Low Taek Jho who has been painted by U.S. investigators as a central figure in the multibillion-dollar scandal.

1MDB Officer 3

Loo, a Malaysian who studied law in the U.K., was said to have been dubbed “1MDB Officer 3” by the U.S. government, according to people familiar with the matter. The U.S. also said the officer was 1MDB’s liaison to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the bank that helped the state fund raise $6.5 billion, and that she received a $5 million transfer among dozens of payments in a scheme that ultimately drained billions of dollars from the fund.

Tang was involved with 1MDB, whose full name is 1Malaysia Development Bhd., from when it was still known as Terengganu Investment Authority, until 2011. It isn’t clear when Loo left the fund.

Bank Negara Malaysia summoned both of them for questioning in 2015, but they never appeared. By March 2017, Najib said they were no longer on the central bank’s radar as the previous domestic investigation had been concluded.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.