Najib Says Freezing of 1MDB-Linked Bank Accounts Unreasonable

(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia’s embattled former Prime Minister Najib Razak has warned that political parties should not be victimized, as his United Malays National Organisation votes to choose a new leader.

“Don’t freeze the accounts of political parties and disrupt the rise of a constructive opposition,” Najib said in a Facebook post Saturday, adding that he welcomed investigations into his own conduct.

“The unreasonable action of freezing the bank accounts will disrupt the parties’ activities and the rebuilding of the opposition party,” Najib said, a day after a government task force said it froze bank accounts linked to the state-owned investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Malaysian investigators said on Friday they had frozen the accounts of individuals and entities that they allege could potentially be involved in embezzling money from 1MDB.

Read more: How Malaysia’s 1MDB Scandal Shook the Financial World

The accounts include those of UMNO, the former ruling party that lost power for the first time since Malaysia’s 1957 independence in a shock election defeat in May. Najib stepped down days after the election.

The task force said other political parties have also had their accounts frozen, without specifying.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is seeking to recover $4.5 billion of funds potentially lost through the state investment company.

Police seized cash and objects valued at about 1.1 billion ringgit ($272 million) in several raids linked to Najib. The authorities said they soon planned to call in the former prime minister and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, for questioning. Najib has consistently denied wrongdoing.

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