WSJ journos call out Najib over Saudi donation revelation

Suzanna Pillay and Saadiah Ismail

KUALA LUMPUR: The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) journalists Tom Wright and Bradley Hope have taken former prime minister Datuk Seri Najb Razak to task for his tell-all on Monday regarding how he received donations from the Saudi royal family.

Wright and Hope, who are co-authors of the book “Billion Dollar Whale" on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, said Najib was not offering anything new with his disclosure of documents pertaining to donations from the Saudi royal family received in 2011.

Wright, via his Twitter account, said investigators around the world have said the bulk of the US$1 billion Najib received came from 1MDB.

"Najib Razak on Facebook says he received millions from Saudi Arabia in 2011. We have always reported that.

“It has nothing to do with US$681 million in 2013 that came from 1MDB, not to mention tens of millions more from the fund. Our book will detail all this," he said in his tweet.

“Billion Dollar Whale" will be released next week.

Najib on Monday via his Facebook account, had shared three documents related to the Saudi government’s move to transfer donations to him, dated 2011.

Najib had said the donations came from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud. He said he would reveal more on the issue, especially pertaining to the RM2.6 billion issue.

Among the documents he shared were financial transaction statements dated Feb 24, 2011 and on Nov 25 the same year.

According to Najib he and his lawyers" spent a long time" getting the documents.

Wright, however, disputed Najib’s claim that he needed time to gather the documents.

" We’ve had them for years, and there’s nothing new in them. And they don’t explain why he received US$681 million in 1MDB cash."

His tweet went on to refer Najib to graphics published on September 1, 2016 in the WSJ, which described in detail how Najib allegedly received more than US$1 billion in his personal bank account .

Hope, meanwhile, also tweeted to say that the documents that Najib included were partly misleading.

“The documents you've included are partly misleading (i.e. the wire transfers, which shield the true origin of the funds) and based partly on alleged fraud (the letter purporting to be from the Saudi prince, which was created to mislead regulators and banks,” he wrote. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd