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Malaysia's 1MDB probe: Ex-PM Najib's former aide remanded

[KUALA LUMPUR] A special officer to former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has been remanded over investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) saga.

Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, 42, was brought to the magistrate’s court in Putrajaya on Monday by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). 

Local news site The Star Online reported that magistrate Shah Wira Abdul Halim ordered Mr Amhari to be remanded for seven days until July 1.

Mr Amhari, who is listed as a fellow of the US-based Eisenhower Fellowships (EF), is described on the EF website as having worked directly with the former premier since 2009 on national economic policies and the annual budget.

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In May 2017, vice-president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Rafizi Ramli claimed that Orb Solutions Sdn Bhd, a company part-owned by Mr Amhari, had received RM2 million (S$679,000) from Datuk Seri Najib’s personal account in August 2014.

The company has described its nature of business as “web management and communication strategies solutions”.

Mr Rafizi had said this information was based on leaked documents regarding fund flows from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB that is also being probed by MACC for alleged payments to Mr Najib.

The Straits Times last year reported that Mr Amhari was among the key figures involved in 1MDB’s negotiations with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) to settle an outstanding loan obligation.

The US Department of Justice has filed several civil lawsuits alleging that more than US$4.5 billion (S$6.1 billion) from 1MDB was misappropriated by its high-ranking officials and their associates, of which US$681 million was found in Mr Najib’s bank account. 

Mr Najib has said the funds in his account was a donation from the Saudi royal family, and he was in 2016 cleared of any wrongdoing by the Malaysian authorities. 

The new administration of Mahathir Mohamad however has renewed investigations into the state fund, and Mr Najib has recently been questioned and had his homes raided by the anti-graft agency in its probe. 

THE STRAITS TIMES

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