WSJ defends explosive Najib-1MDB reports as lawsuit looms

KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 — Attacked by Putrajaya, US daily Wall Street Journal has insisted that its latest report on a money trail of some US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) from 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) into the personal bank accounts of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak are based on “solid” and “reliable” documents known to top government officials investigating the state investor’s finances.

WSJ’s Hong Kong bureau chief Ken Brown told US broadcaster CNBC’s Street Signs in an edited 2.43-minute phone interview uploaded last Thursday that its reports were based on documents that “had been shared with the Malaysian attorney-general, with others in the government so they’ve been seen by all and also the prime minister”.

Brown did not disclose how WSJ sighted the documents but stressed that his reporting team took a very serious view of the story that concerns the fate of Malaysia’s top leader and the huge sum of public money.

He acknowledged that the ongoing national-level scrutiny of 1MDB’s accounts have turned into a “highly-politicised story”.

“We are very careful and we believe the investigation and the documents we have are very, you know, solid and come from a very reliable investigation and not a political investigation.

“And if the evidence shows money had forwarded into his accounts, personal accounts and government deals, it’s hugely dramatic,” he said in the video, under questioning from the show’s anchors.

In an explosive report yesterday, WSJ claimed some US$700 million were moved among government agencies, banks and companies before it ended up in Najib’s personal accounts.

These documents, the international business paper claimed, include bank transfer forms and flowcharts put together by investigators to shed light on 1MDB’s cash flow.

The paper said this is the first time a direct connection to Najib has been established in the probe on 1MDB.

The allegations however had first been highlighted by controversial London-based whistleblower site Sarawak Report.

Brown noted that the Prime Minister’s Office had been dismissive of the money trail link when WSJ approached it for comment.

“They basically said the prime minister is not taking any funds for personal use and they’re accusing political opponents of coming up with this story and that’s the kind of stuff they said from our earlier story about 1MDB and the money; the fund was used in the last election campaign by the prime minister,” he told CNBC.

Questioned for his view on the origins of the money, Brown said one batch came from a unit in the Finance Ministry while another was “from this private bank that’s affiliated with Abu Dhabi, which as you know has very close ties with Malaysia and in fact some of these 1MDB bonds and stuff like that”.

“Where the money went, we don’t know. Basically, the trail we have ends at the bank account that has the prime minister’s name on it,” he said.

WSJ defends explosive Najib-1MDB reports as lawsuit looms
July 4, 2015 – MMO


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