What you need to know about Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal – Financial Times

What you need to know about Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal

The scandal around Malaysia’s 1MDB state investment fund has deepened after international investigators into the affair said they suspected serious crimes had been committed. Here are four big questions about a case that has rocked this Southeast Asian nation and Najib Razak, its prime minister.

What’s the big picture of this complex case?

Critics of 1MDB claim the state investment fund has been used as a vehicle to steal large sums of money. The Swiss authorities said last week that a probe into suspected bribery involving former 1MDB officials and other unknown people had thrown up “serious indications” that $4bn had been misappropriated from Malaysian government companies. 1MDB denies its money has been looted and says its internal investigations have found no evidence of crimes.

Mohamed Apandi Ali, Malaysia’s attorney-general, says the country will co-operate with Switzerland and press ahead with at least three domestic investigations into the 1MDB affair. Mr Apandi Ali, appointed after his predecessor was suddenly removed from office in July on grounds of ill health, says he is acting independently. But sceptics say his rulings are part of a government effort to bury the story.

So how is it suspected this money was taken?

The Swiss attorney-general’s office said it had identified four allegations of criminal conduct involving “a systematic course of action carried out by means of complex financial structures”. 1MDB’s modus operandi was unusual for a government investment fund: it received a relatively small amount of capital and state-owned assets at discounted prices, generating much of its money from billions of dollars of bond issues. Some of the proceeds were used to buy assets, notably power plants. Other funds were earmarked for joint ventures with international partners, notably in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.

What you need to know about Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal
February 3, 2016 – Financial Times


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