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More than US$1b was transferred into Malaysia PM's accounts: WSJ

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - 11:57

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Deposits into Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's bank accounts ran to hundreds of millions of dollars more than previously identified by probes into state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

[KUALA LUMPUR] Deposits into Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's bank accounts ran to hundreds of millions of dollars more than previously identified by probes into state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Citing two unnamed people familiar with flows into Mr Najib's accounts and a person familiar with one overseas investigation, the report said that more than US$1 billion was deposited from 2011 to 2013, far more than the US$681 million earlier identified.

The paper said global investigators believe much of the US$1 billion originated with the state fund, known as 1MDB, but did not specify where the extra money came from or what happened to it.

The report contradicts a conclusion reached recently by Malaysia's chief law officer.

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Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali cleared Najib in January of any corruption or criminal offences, saying the US$681 million transferred into Mr Najib's account was a gift from a member of Saudi Arabia's royal family and that most of it was returned.

The prime minister's office had no immediate comment, a spokesman said when contacted by Reuters.

Mr Najib has been buffeted for months by allegations of graft and financial mismanagement at debt-burdened 1MDB and in particular by revelations of the transfer of around US$681 million into his account in 2013.

He has denied wrongdoing, saying the funds were a legal political donation and he did not take any money for personal gain.

The Wall Street Journal report said money beyond the US$681 million arrived in Mr Najib's account in 2011 and 2012.

It said investigators in two countries believed funds originated from 1MDB and moved through a complex web of transactions. Mr Najib is chairman of the board of advisors to IMDB, a fund set up in 2009, when he came to office, to invest in projects of national importance.

1MDB has said that it has not paid any funds into the personal accounts of the prime minister. A spokesperson for 1MDB declined to comment on the latest report when contacted by Reuters.

Probes into the fund's finances have been opened in Malaysia, the United States, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, the Wall Street Journal said.

REUTERS

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