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Ex-1MDB president to be charged in audit tampering case

Arul would be the highest-ranking 1MDB officer to be charged in Malaysia's revived probe into the state fund.

Kuala Lumpur

FORMER 1MDB president Arul Kanda is set to be charged as Malaysian prosecutors step up pressure against previous employees of the troubled state fund.

Malaysian prosecutors will charge Arul as part of a case linked to a state audit report on 1MDB on Wednesday, after he was detained on Tuesday morning, the anti-graft agency said in a statement.

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak will also face new allegations, adding to the dozens of 1MDB-linked charges that he has pleaded not guilty to.

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Arul would be the highest-ranking 1MDB officer to be charged in Malaysia's revived probe into the state fund, which is at the centre of a globe-spanning scandal that allegedly saw US$4.5 billion misappropriated.

Last week, prosecutors presented charges against other previous employees including former executive director of finance Terence Geh Choh Heng, former business development director Casey Tang and ex-general counsel Jasmine Loo.

The charges against Arul and Najib would come after Auditor-General Madinah Mohamad said that a government audit report was changed in February 2016 to remove Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho's appearance at a 1MDB board meeting.

The statement led to investigations by the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission as well as a parliamentary committee, which expects to table its findings by March.

Low, better known as Jho Low, has been painted by the US Justice Department as a central figure in the 1MDB scandal.

Malaysian prosecutors presented additional charges against Low last week, accusing him of receiving more than US$1 billion from 1MDB in 2009 and 2011, after slapping him with eight counts of money laundering in August. Low has maintained his innocence.

The order to remove Low from the audit report came through Najib's principal secretary, Ms Madinah said in a statement last month.

Najib also ordered that paragraphs containing two versions of 1MDB's financial statements for the year ending 2014 be removed from the document, she said. BLOOMBERG