Emirates Leaks

Malaysia is pressing the UAE in a major financial corruption case


Malaysia is pressing the UAE in a major financial corruption case involving the Malaysian sovereign-wealth fund and the former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razzaq.

The leader of Malaysia’s People’s Justice Party, Anwar Ibrahim, called on the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to reveal its relationship with the Malaysian sovereign-wealth fund, albeit it was transparent, and if there were other parties committed a felony linked to corruption.

The sovereign-wealth fund, was established 10 years ago by the former prime minister with losses of $ 4.5 billion, was the result of money laundering and suspicious transactions involving external parties.

Ibrahim said the former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razzaq admitted he had received from Saudi parties millions of dollars that had been deposited in his own account, describing it as corruption that could not be justified.
He added that this corruption is clear and untenable and that corruption increased under the former prime minister, but stressed that the judiciary must remain independent and the accused must be enabled to defend himself.
Last year, the investigation included the former Malaysian prime minister immediately after losing elections in the face of an alliance that included Anwar Ibrahim and current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

In May, Malaysian authorities set up a team to investigate allegations of looting billions of dollars from Malaysia’s investment fund 1MDB in a suspected fraud involving former Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Abdul Razzaq has been transformed from a prime minister facing a storm of accusations over the Malaysian sovereign fund and its financial lien to a coerced person who has been involved in multi-billion dollar corruption cases linked to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has banned his predecessor Abdul Razzaq from leaving the country, citing ample evidence to investigate his relationship to a multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal.

The immigration authorities issued a travel ban on Abdel Razak and his wife Rosemah Mansour minutes after Abdul Razzaq said he would leave the country on a week-long trip to recuperate after his defeat in a general election on Wednesday.

Abdul-Razzaq, 64, lost the general election to an alliance led by Mahathir, who was his mentor and turned to be his opponent. The loss is partly due to public discontent with the fund scandal.

In 2015, about $ 700 million of the fund was reportedly stolen from the fund, and it was reported that the money went to personal bank accounts belonging to Abdul Razzaq.

Abdul Razzaq denied any irregularities and the Malaysian attorney general acquitted him, even after US authorities said more than $ 4.5 billion had been stolen from the fund in fraud by a financial expert known to be close to Abdul Razzaq and his family.

Abdul Razak’s corruption case is closely related to Saudi Arabia, which was approved in 2016 by Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, which gave him $ 681 million without charge. The authorities in more than one country accused Abu Dhabi’s sovereign fund of involvement in anonymous transfers of 3 million dollars. $ 5 billion, and the involvement of its ambassador in Washington, Yusuf Al Otaiba, in corruption cases directly related to issues related to the Malaysian sovereign fund.

New Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad led a reform coalition that won a surprise victory in the May 9 election of Najib’s coalition, who ruled Malaysia without interruption for six decades.

The popular anger over allegations of corruption among the ruling elite, specifically the scandal associated with the 1MDB fund, was a major reason for the Mahathir alliance to win.

Najib founded the fund in 2009 to help develop the Malaysian economy, according to what he said at that time.

But he was charged with looting with his family and close associates of the fund in a major scam stretching from the Cayman Islands to New York where stolen money was used to buy various things from real estate to works of art.
Mahathir, who became prime minister from 1981 to 2003 and returned from his retirement to oust Najib, pledged to reopen investigations linked to the 1MDB fund.

The investigation team will be responsible for the return of looted assets and legal action against persons suspected of breaking the law in relation to the fund, according to the Office of the Prime Minister.

“The government hopes that the formation of the multi-agency unit will contribute restore the dignity of Malaysia, whose reputation has been tarnished by the scandal of embezzlement associated with 1MDB, the statement said.

The team will include representatives of the Anti-Corruption Commotion, the police, and the prosecutor’s office, as well as members of a former team formed under Najib and dismantled after speculation that charges would be brought against him.

The team will be headed by Abdul Ghani Batayel, a former public prosecutor who was removed from office in 2015 when he was leading investigations related to the fund.

The team’s tasks will include liaison with law enforcement agencies in other countries such as the United States, Switzerland, Singapore, and Canada, according to a statement issued by Mahathir’s office.

It is believed that large sums of money have been transferred from the fund to countries around the world through a complex network of financial transactions. But Najib and the fund have repeatedly denied suspicions of corruption.

Police raided properties linked to the former prime minister at a time of corruption investigations, where they seized handbags travel bags filled with money. But Najib reiterated over the weekend that he had not stolen public money.