1MDB cash allegedly ended up being spent at Harrod’s in London. Source: Wikimedia
Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak, says he will cooperate with Washington and international agencies investigating the misappropriation of funds from the infamous state-owned 1MDB fund that he founded.
“We are equally concerned about good governance in Malaysia and the rule of law,” Najib told the media after meeting Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“So within the bounds of good governance and the rule of law, Malaysia will do its best to cooperate and to do whatever is necessary.”
Najib refused to call early elections before the 2018 deadline, saying no “single factor” should force such a decision.
“We rest on our record. We have a strong record and we will continue to tell the Malaysian people that our government is still the best choice,” the embattled premier said.
Activist group Bersih is planning a protest on November 19 demanding Najib’s resignation and an independent probe into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal.
The 1MDB fund was founded by Najib in September 2009 to invest in property and energy projects. Najib was until recently the chair of 1MDB’s advisory board.
US prosecutors filed civil lawsuits in July alleging that more than US$3.5 billion was defrauded from 1MDB.
The Wall Street Journal reported that more than US$1 billion entered Najib’s personal bank accounts, much of it from 1MDB. The funds identify Najib as a chief beneficiary.
The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing.
His wife, Rosmah Mansor, built up at least US$6 million in credit-card charges in recent years, despite having no known source of income apart from her husband’s salary, the Journal reported.
“She said she saved that money since she was small. That is impossible,” said Anis Syafiqah Mohd, a protester in Kuala Lumpur.
Rosmah, 64, claimed she always had a habit of saving. “I have bought some jewellery and dresses with my own money. What is wrong with that?” she asked in her 2013 autobiography.
Bank records showed that large sums from 1MDB ended in Najib’s personal accounts via intermediaries.
There was at least US$6 million in spending by Rosmah between 2008 and last year on clothing, shoes and jewellery from London’s Harrods department store, Saks Fifth Avenue of New York and other prestigious retailers.
At least US$1 million in purchases made by Rosmah at jewellery and fashion stores in Europe and the US in 2014 were paid for by Najib using credit cards that drew on 1MDB funds.