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HK probes bank deposits linked to Malaysia PM

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Hong Kong police are investigating bank deposits a complainant said were linked to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, police said on Friday, as a probe into a troubled Malaysian state investment fund widens.

[KUALA LUMPUR] Hong Kong police are investigating bank deposits a complainant said were linked to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, police said on Friday, as a probe into a troubled Malaysian state investment fund widens.

The investigation comes as another blow to Mr Najib, who chairs the advisory board of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) , after Swiss authorities froze millions of dollars in Swiss bank accounts linked to the firm on suspicion of corruption and money laundering.

Malaysian investigators are also looking into the fund, which has raked up over US$11 billion in debt that has weighed on the country's economy.

Mr Najib has denied taking any money from 1MDB or any other entity for personal gain. The Malaysian government dismissed the latest allegations about bank deposits as politically motivated.

Hong Kong police confirmed that they were probing a matter a complainant had linked to Mr Najib. "A man reported to the police on Aug 30 and requested for the police's investigation on some bank deposits," Hong Kong police said in a statement in response to a question about an investigation into Mr Najib. "Investigations by Crime Headquarters are under way." The complaint was lodged by Khairuddin Abu Hassan, a former member of Mr Najib's ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) who was sacked from the party earlier this year.

A vocal critic of Mr Najib, Khairuddin told Reuters he said in the report that deposits of over US$250 million were made into a Credit Suisse bank account in Hong Kong through four companies linked to Mr Najib.

The Malaysian government spokesperson dismissed these latest allegations as "baseless and politically motivated lies". "The prime minister does not control any Credit Suisse bank accounts in Hong Kong, whether in his name or the name of the companies mentioned," the spokesperson said.

It said the complaint was a bid to smear Mr Najib and accused Mr Khairuddin of working with former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is leading a campaign to oust Mr Najib. "The prime minister has instructed for the full range of legal options to be explored - particularly the manufacturing of banking documents by certain individuals with malicious intent to smear and discredit a serving prime minister," it added.

A spokesman for Credit Suisse in Hong Kong declined to comment.

Mr Najib faces the biggest test of his political career after reports earlier this year that investigators looking into 1MDB had traced nearly US$700 million going into bank accounts in Malaysia they believed belonged to the prime minister.

REUTERS