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Najib's brother disbursed funds before Malaysian polls: WSJ
[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's brother received about US$7 million from the premier's accounts ahead of the last election and passed the money onto politicians in the ruling party, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Nazir Razak, chairman of lender CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, said the money that entered his account was distributed in accordance with instructions from party leaders, the paper said, citing a statement from Mr Nazir. He said he believed the money came from donations he helped solicit from Malaysian companies and individuals, it said.
"I had no knowledge whatsoever that these funds may have originated from any other source," the Journal cited Mr Nazir as saying.
"The entire amount was paid out in cash to various recipients according to the instructions of the party president and the account was closed with a zero balance." A CIMB spokeswoman said she couldn't immediately comment on the report.
Mr Najib, who has denied any wrongdoing, is facing his biggest political crisis since coming to power seven years ago amid questions over US$681 million that appeared in his accounts before the 2013 election, which the ruling coalition, in power since independence in 1957, won with its slimmest margin yet. Mr Najib is president of the United Malays National Organisation, the largest party in the Barisan Nasional alliance.
Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali said the money was a personal donation from the Saudi royal family, and that Mr Najib later returned US$620 million. He cleared Mr Najib of any wrongdoing in January.
Funds from Mr Najib's accounts went to political affiliates, officials in Barisan Nasional and a company that runs grassroots campaigns for the alliance, according to an Australian Broadcasting Corp news report earlier this month. Money and checks were also given to a charity named after Mr Najib's mother, prominent businessmen, academics, lawyers and advertising and media companies, it said.