- Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was arrested on Tuesday by anti-corruption officers.
- His arrest is related to a former subsidiary of the state investment fund 1MDB that allegedly had $US10.6 million moved to his personal account.
- A day before his arrest, Najib repeated his claim that another mysterious $US680 million was a donation from a member of the Saudi royal family.
- Authorities have also frozen 408 bank accounts allegedly involved in the “misappropriation and misuse” of $US271 million linked to 1MDB.
A day before his arrest, Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak swore that $US680 million ($AU920 million) found in his personal bank account was a donation from a Saudi prince.
Najib, who lost power in a May election, was arrested by anti-corruption officers on Tuesday afternoon and will be charged on Wednesday morning.
His arrest was tied to SRC International, a former unit of the state investment fund 1MDB, which reportedly had $US10.6 million transferred out to Najib’s personal accounts.
But Najib also reportedly received $US680 million from 1MDB itself, a claim that started a financial scandal in 2015 which eventually led to this year’s election defeat.
But on Monday, Najib repeated his claim about that money being given to him by a member of the Saudi royal family.
“I asked him to support the (Malaysian) government because I thought their government has a record of supporting governments which are somewhat friendly with them,” Najib told Malaysiakini.
“So what I requested was nothing unusual and he agreed to support and subsequently we received letters and then the money was credited at about the time they had promised the donation.”
Najib told Malaysiakini the money was donated for the 2013 election after he met with the late King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud. He also said the US Department of Justice had verified Najib returning more than $US600 million of the alleged donation.
Najib’s denial of wrongdoing came on the same day that authorities froze more 408 bank accounts related to $US271 million believed to have come from 1MDB.
According to authorities, the accounts linked to 81 individuals and 55 companies “are believed to have been linked to misappropriation and misuse of 1MDB funds.”
Nearly 900 transactions allegedly linked to 1MDB were made between March 2011 and September 2015.
Malaysia’s new prime minister Mohamad Mahathir said in June that there was an “almost perfect” case against Najib’s role in the 1MDB scandal, but proving the case is not set to be easy.
“[Najib] is trying to get the best lawyers in the world. He has the money, he can pay them,” Mahathir told Channel News Asia last week.
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