[EXCLUSIVE] '1MDB probe to wrap up by year end'

Masriwanie Muhamading and Aliza Shah

KUALA LUMPUR: Investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal are expected to wrap up by year end.

Those with knowledge of the multipronged investigation said the remaining 40 per cent of the probe involved information and evidence in no fewer than five countries.

This part of the investigation has seen officers from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the federal police’s Commercial Crime Investigation Department liaising with their counterparts in the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the Middle East and Singapore.

Investigators, sources said, were working to find evidence to build a case.

“This includes illicit transactions carried out between 2011 and 2014.

“This is not a Hollywood movie. It is a complex probe and the investigators are determined to build a strong case and cover all areas.

“If one were to look at the trail as reflected in the US’ Department of Justice report, or the documents that were made public, it is easy to understand the magnitude and complexity of this case and why you can’t expect the 1MDB probe to be completed without these due processes,” one of the sources told the New Straits Times.

Another source told NST that among the most critical part of following the paper trail was having airtight evidence to support the allegation that laundered monies linked to 1MDB had made their way back here and into accounts linked to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak between 2011 and 2014.

“Prosecution cannot be carried out against a crime that took place abroad, but investigators can follow the trail and secure evidence right up to the point the crime is committed here,” the source said, adding that evidence from local banks involved in the suspicious transactions was not enough.

It is understood that the police investigation is centred on alleged criminal breach of trust, while MACC is focusing on money laundering.

The question of the next big development in the case has continued to be a topic of discussion among many, with the latest being Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh, who yesterday said the public had asked her, “When will Najib go to jail?”

She replied: “It is in process and procedures must be followed.”

Media and Communication advisor of the Prime Minister’s Office Datuk A. Kadir Jasin also touched on the matter, saying he was shocked to read the paragraph in a statement issued by the attorney-general on Friday which read: “It is public knowledge that the investigation papers (IPs) into the numerous fraudulent deals connected to the 1MDB affair have not been submitted to the chambers by the MACC and the police (save one IP concerning Jho Low, which resulted in charges and the issue of warrants of arrest against him and his father last week). Upon receipt of the IPs from the investigating agencies, this office is required to study them, prepare charges and prosecute the alleged accused at trials.” Kadir said: “People are losing their patience waiting for the prosecution involving 1MDB. I learnt that there are countries eager to assist Malaysia in recovering monies embezzled from 1MDB. “A question to the IGP (Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun) and MACC chief commissioner: is there a problem?”

In an immediate reaction, CCID director Datuk Seri Amar Singh said police could not conclude their probe into the scandal due to the “complexity of the case”. He referred NST to Fuzi, who did not respond to queries sent by phone.

MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull said the agency needed more time to complete its investigation, responding with: “Just be patient”. The commission’s deputy chief commissioner (operations), Datuk Seri Azam Baki, had said that the remaining 40 per cent of the investigation into the case involved dealings overseas, adding that 60 per cent was completed in three months. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd