Malaysia Anti-Graft Agency Submits Probe Results of Najib Funds

  • Najib has faced pressure to step down over funding scandal
  • Political tensions have risen in the past six months

Malaysia’s anti-graft agency submitted results to the attorney general of a probe into hundreds of millions of dollars that ended up in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s private accounts before the 2013 general elections.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said it made several proposals and recommendations for action in the case, according to a statement Thursday. While it has completed investigations involving witnesses in the country, the MACC said it still needs permission from the attorney general to get documents and evidence from overseas financial institutions.

"This evidence can only be taken by the Mutual Legal Assistance process because it is tied to the provision of banking legislation of the country concerned," the agency said. "MACC has made an application under the MLA to attorney general to obtain documents and evidence."

The premier, 62, has said the 2.6 billion ringgit ($605 million) of funds in accounts that have since been closed were political donations from the Middle East rather than public money. That was also the initial conclusion reached by the anti-graft commission in August in its preliminary investigations. Najib has denied taking money for personal gain and has been cited as saying that the funds were to meet the needs of the party and the community, and that this wasn’t a new practice.

Najib was questioned by anti-graft officials this month in a case that has evolved into his biggest crisis since coming to power in 2009. The funding imbroglio and alleged financial irregularities at debt-ridden 1Malaysia Development Bhd., whose advisory board he chairs, have sparked political tensions within the ruling United Malays National Organisation and led thousands of anti-government protesters to rally in the capital in August.

"The MACC has high confidence in the attorney general as the nation’s prosecutor to make professional decisions," it said Thursday.

Any criminal proceedings can only be initiated by the attorney general. In a separate probe of 1MDB by the central bank several months ago, the attorney general said it found no evidence of wrongdoing and declined to take action even as Bank Negara Malaysia alleged the company breached the Exchange Control Act.

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