Cross-border 1MDB probe on track, AGC says after meet with US, Singapore, Switzerland

Debra Chong
The Attorney-General’s Chambers says it had a very successful meeting between prosecutors, civil recovery specialists and investigators from the United States, Singapore and Switzerland involved in the massive 1MDB fraud. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 ― The Attorney-General’s Chambers announced today that the cross-border criminal and civil recovery action on the multi-billion dollar theft from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is moving forward smoothly.

In a statement, it disclosed that it hosted a meeting with the authorities from the US, Singapore and Switzerland, which had mounted their own investigations and taken court action on what has been touted as the world’s biggest kleptocracy.

“We are pleased to report a very successful meeting between prosecutors, civil recovery specialists and investigators from the United States, Singapore and Switzerland involved in the massive 1MDB fraud, hosted by this Chambers,” it said.

It said all participants in the meeting were “conscious of the importance and urgency of cross-border cooperation and collaboration” in order to curb the transnational fraud and crime caused by the theft of funds from the Malaysian sovereign investment company.

“All of us are confident that this meeting will be the harbinger of greater cooperation in the future,” it added in the brief statement, issued a day after Datuk Seri Najib Razak was slapped with 25 money laundering and corruption charges over some RM2.3 billion deposits into his personal bank account.

The former prime minister responsible for creating 1MDB claimed trial to all four corruption and 21 money laundering charges yesterday and even said he was “happy” that he would finally have the chance to clear his name in court over the deposits.

Najib who was also finance minster, chairman of the 1MDB advisory board and Umno president at the time the offences were allegedly said to have taken place had previously said the billions were a donation.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission recently reiterated that it only had 40 per cent of its investigations to complete, which concerned matters abroad.

Singapore was the first country to legally act on the 1MDB saga. It has fined eight banks and convicted four people linked to the Malaysian fund since its investigations in 2015.

Earlier this month, a Singapore court also ordered the return of some S$15.3 million (RM46.3 million)  misappropriated from 1MDB to Malaysia.

The US is in the midst of both criminal and civil actions on 1MDB assets.

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