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Update: Singapore's AGC to offer MLA 'expeditiously' to Swiss authorities on 1MDB probe

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 17:15

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SINGAPORE'S Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) says it has received a request for mutual legal assistance (MLA) in criminal matters from the office of the Attorney-General of Switzerland (OAG) in relation to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

SINGAPORE'S Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) says it has received a request for mutual legal assistance (MLA) in criminal matters from the office of the Attorney-General of Switzerland (OAG) in relation to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The MLA request is for information and documents on "certain fund flows" flowing from 1MDB and entities related to it, said the AGC in a statement.

"The request is receiving attention and the AGC will render all possible assistance to the OAG expeditiously," it added.

The AGC statement closely follows a statement issued by Switzerland authorities that it has extended proceedings to two former Emirati officials in charge of Abu Dhabi sovereign funds as part of its criminal proceedings on suspicion of embezzlement committed against Malaysia's 1MDB.

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The statement issued by the Office of the Attorney-General of Switzerland (OAG) said that the two former Emirati officials are under investigation for fraud, criminal mismanagement, misconduct in public office, forgery of a document, bribery of foreign public officials and money laundering. The extension of the criminal proceedings took place within the "Genting / Tanjong chapter", one of the four main chapterS of the Swiss investigation opened on August 14 2015.

The OAG pointed out that 1MDB subsidiaries issued two series of bonds to finance investments in electric power plants.

This chapter of the proceedings covers the circumstances in which these subsidiaries obtained the guarantee to repay these bonds from an Abu Dhabi sovereign fund, it said.

"The Swiss authorities have elements in hand allowing them to suspect that the amounts paid in connection with this guarantee were not returned to the Abu Dhabi sovereign fund that supported the commercial risk," said the OAG.

"To the contrary, these funds would have benefited others, particularly two public officials concerned as well as a company related to the motion picture industry. A former 1MDB body, already indicted in the Swiss proceedings, has also benefited from these amounts," it noted.

As part of the proceedings, the OAG issued two new requests for mutual legal assistance, to Luxembourg and Singapore. "Given the international cooperation, the OAG is thus working to establish the facts," it said.

As for any defendant, the two Emirati public officials as the other defendants, are presumed innocent, it added.

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