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Malaysia 1MDB scandal

Malaysia’s ex-PM Najib Razak quizzed again over graft claims after attacking new government in Facebook post

The embattled 64-year-old Najib Razak appeared relaxed, smiling and waving as he walked through a throng of journalists

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 10:53am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 11:38am

Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak arrived at the anti-graft agency Thursday to be questioned for a second time this week over a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal following his shock election loss.

Najib’s coalition suffered a defeat at the May 9 poll which ended their six-decade hold on power, beaten by a reformist alliance led by Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir, who first served as premier from 1981-2003 and came out of retirement aged 92 to take on Najib, campaigned on claims that the former leader and his cronies looted sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

Billions of dollars were allegedly stolen from the fund in a sophisticated fraud, and used to buy everything from artworks to high-end real estate.

Najib pushed through a huge media scrum at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in the administrative capital of Putrajaya as he arrived to be quizzed about 1MDB money allegedly ending up in his personal bank accounts.

Najib is being questioned by the anti-corruption body over SRC International, an energy company that was originally a subsidiary of 1MDB.

According to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal, 42 million ringgit (US$10.6 million) originating from SRC was transferred to Najib’s personal bank accounts.

It is just one small part in the graft scandal, which is being investigated in several countries.

Hundreds of millions of dollars from 1MDB allegedly ended up in Najib’s accounts but the ex-leader and the investment vehicle have denied any wrongdoing.

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Mahathir has vowed to fully investigate the financial scandal.

After holding meetings with key figures from 1MDB Wednesday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the fund was insolvent, could not pay its debts, and its chief was “utterly dishonest”.

The ousted leader has sought to mount a fightback in recent days, insisting he has not stolen public funds and attacked the new government.

In a late night Facebook post on Wednesday, Najib said Mahathir and his finance minister’s “alarming and confusing” remarks about the country’s debts and 1MDB liabilities “tell half the story” and had caused the stock market to fall.

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“While you may want to slander and put all the blame on me to give a perception of a dire financial position to justify why you cannot deliver on your manifesto promises … you must remember that the country and our people comes first,” he wrote.

Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing at 1MDB.

Najib and his unpopular wife Rosmah Mansor have suffered a swift fall from grace. Police have raided properties linked to them and seized a huge stash of handbags, cash and jewels.

The Star newspaper reported on Thursday that the cash found totalled 130 million Malaysian ringgit (nearly US$33 million).

Agence France-Presse, Reuters