The Wolf of Wall Street was partly funded by the Malaysian public. Source: YouTube
Najib Razak, prime minister of Malaysia, has announced that the republic will “fully co-operate” with any investigation into state fund 1MDB after Washington said it “defrauded” nationals and partly funded the hit movie The Wolf of Wall Street.
US authorities this week seized more than US$1 billion from the fund set up by Najib.
The prime minister is not named but “Malaysia official 1” is identified as someone whose account appeared to receive assets.
The embattled premier was officially cleared of criminality by Malaysia’s attorney general earlier in 2016. He denies all the allegations.
Malaysian communications minister Salleh Said Keruak dismissed claims of an international conspiracy against the government.
He said the US investigators were only doing their job with the civil lawsuit filed to recover more than US$1 billion in assets.
“When there is a report, they are handling it based on the rules and regulations of the country,” Salleh told the media.
Salleh said US people only named three people in the lawsuit, not Najib.
There is no allegation from the US that Najib spent any of the cash but his associates are accused of using billions on jewellery, art, properties, gambling and to pay musicians and celebrities to attend parties.
The 136-page document from the US Department of Justice names the Martin Scorsese movie as a “defendant”.
The US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the “Malaysian people were defrauded on a monumental scale”.
The US allegations claim public money taken from 1MDB, established by Najib in 2009, was used to buy luxury properties and, ironically, invest in the movie about financial fraud.
A Malaysian spokesman said Kuala Lumpur would “fully co-operate with any lawful investigation of Malaysian companies or citizens in accordance with international protocols”.
“As the prime minister has always maintained, if any wrongdoing is proven, the law will be enforced without exception,” he said.
The US justice department says public funds financed the lavish lifestyles of “multiple individuals, including public officials”.
It intends to seize properties in the US, Britain and Switzerland.
Singapore fraud investigators said this week that they had seized in excess of US$175 million in assets connected to 1MDB and several major banks showed “weaknesses in the processes for accepting clients and monitoring transactions”.
Answering the charges in Malaysia, Salleh said: “Let them investigate, for us there is nothing to hide. As far as 1MDB is concerned, there has been the PAC [Public Accounts Committee] report. We have deliberated on the matter and action will be taken based on the PAC report.”