24
Dec
16

British embassy questioned whether Malaysian PM cleared of corruption

British embassy questioned whether Malaysian PM cleared of corruption

Exclusive: diplomatic cable said an investigation into mysterious $700m found in Najib Razak’s bank account had not absolved him of corruption

The British embassy in Kuala Lumpur has questioned a claim by the Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, that his country’s anti-graft agency had cleared him of corruption, according to a diplomatic cable seen by the Guardian.

Malaysia’s anti-corruption commission (MACC) said in August last year that its investigation had found that nearly US$700m had been deposited into Najib’s personal bank account from unnamed “donors”.

It did not elaborate on the donor or why they transferred funds to Najib’s private accounts but said the money was not from the debt-laden state fund 1MDB, which had been the focus of the scandal.

Five days later, Najib told members of his ruling party that the MACC had cleared him of corruption allegations.

But a diplomatic telegram sent to London from the British High Commission in the Malaysian capital suggested the embassy queried that claim.

“Najib announced the MACC had exonerated him of corruption and the funds in his bank account were a donation from the Middle East and not from 1MDB,” it said.

“There has been no official MACC statement to this effect.”

Opponents of Najib, who denies taking money for personal gain, say the funds may have originated from 1MDB but were laundered internationally. Malaysia’s attorney general said in January 2016 that the money was a gift from the Saudi Arabian government.

The UK has been criticised for not speaking out more firmly against one of the world’s biggest financial scandals. Former British prime minister David Cameron was chided for meeting Najib shortly after the story broke last July.

The British cable was released under a freedom of information request made by the Guardian but was heavily redacted to include mostly factual reporting of events in Malaysia.

…more
British embassy questioned whether Malaysian PM cleared of corruption
19 December 2016 – the Guardian

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