3 July 2018

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was arrested by anti-corruption investigators at around 3PM today at his home. He may be charged tomorrow, his family’s lawyer said on Tuesday (Jul 3). After being charged in the courts he will probably be freed on bail.

The former leader is being investigated over allegations that billions of dollars were embezzled from 1MDB, a sovereign wealth fund he founded. The arrest leads us to believe that the authorities have found reasonable evidence that PM Najib had a hand in the looting of the 1MDB funds. Najib and his wife Rosmah were barred from leaving the country soon after the election. Mishandling of 1MDB funds led to the defeat of his party in the recent general election. The party had ruled the country uninterruptedly for five decades.

Najib Razak still maintains that the RM2.6 billion found in his personal bank account several years ago was a donation from Saudi royal family. He said that RM2.5 billion out of that had been returned to them after the 13th General Election. He also said that Bank Negara Malaysia was aware of the money that was coming in at the time and the relevant authorities were already informed. Najib also added that the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) had already acknowledged the money that was returned to the donor. The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia has also publicly confirmed the donation. Saudi Arabia is unlikely to cooperate in the corruption investigations.

Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former central bank head, said on Tuesday that she was not aware of the large sum deposited in ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak’s account in 2013.

 But on 3 July 2015, Najib called her to his office and asked her to issue a statement that he had done nothing wrong in his account. She informed him that she could not issue such a statement because she was not aware of the  transactions that had occurred in his account. Business Times reported.

Riza Aziz, the stepson of Razak, a Hollywood film producer, came to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters here today for questioning over the 1MDB corruption scandal. Riza is the son of Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor from an earlier marriage to a man named Abdul Aziz Nong Chik.

Earlier former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi and former Federal Land Development Authority Chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad arrived at MACC 9.55am and 9.35am. Shahrir is being questioned on 1MDB while Zahid is being questioned on the alleged abuse of funds in connection with a family-owned welfare foundation, called Yayasan Akal Budi.

Pemantau Malaysia Baru president Datuk Lokman Noor Adam described the arrest of Najib Razak as an injustice to Najib and held a protest meeting consisting of 50 Najib supporters outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) tonight. He said that Najib will not be charged tomorrow over misappropriating 1MDB fund but will instead be charged under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA). He claimed that this is  proof that Najib did not misappropriate 1MDB funds. Malay Mail reported.

 Xavier Andre Justo, Swiss whistleblower, who leaked documents related to 1MDB’s dealings, said that Tarek Obaid and Patrick Mahony stole half a billion dollars of Malaysian money and sent him (Justo) to jail to cover up their crimes.

 One of Najib’s most vocal critics, Rafizi Ramli, said that Najib should be treated with dignity and respect. He and his family should be accorded justice. DAP lawyer Ramkarpal Singh said that Najib must be given the right to defend himself. FMT Reporters said.

Malay Mail, in its article, said it had sighted a police report lodged by Najib at the Sentul police headquarters. In that report Najib said there was a threat on his life and that of his family, and subsequently asked to be placed under witness protection. Najib said that the threats were not just from within the country but also abroad.

 Swiss authorities have confiscated super-cars worth 50 million francs (RM203 million) owned by Emirati financier Khadem al-Qubaisi, one of the main suspects in the 1MDB scandal. Khadem had some 50 cars carrying Swiss plates with a dozen in Switzerland while 30 others elsewhere in Europe. According to one of his lawyers, Khadem was currently held in an undisclosed location in the United Arab Emirates. Swiss daily newspaper Le Temps reported.

 US authorities alleged he received hundreds of millions of dollars looted from business dealings between 1MDB and Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company. Financial Times reported.