PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has confirmed that it is working with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to probe into a businessman suspected of siphoning funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
“Regarding the US Department of Justice report on 1MDB, the MACC confirms that it has set up cooperation with the FBI, as both parties have long had a relationship of cooperation in the past.
“The cooperation mentioned is focused on the possibility of misappropriation and money laundering by a businessman who is said to have cheated 1MDB,” the statement said.
The statement came just a day after the US Department of Justice filed a civil suit, seeking to seize US$1bil (RM4.02bil) worth of assets allegedly obtained using funds siphoned from 1MDB.
In Wisma Putra, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman met US Ambassador to Malaysia Joseph Yun following the filing of the civil suit in the US.
According to a statement from Wisma Putra, Anifah told Yun that Malaysia had yet to receive any request from the US for any information or evidence over the case.
The statement said Malaysia is ready to fully cooperate.
Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan said the legal action taken by the US and Singapore against the alleged siphoning of funds from 1MDB would not inflict long-term damage to Malaysia-US ties.
On the political position of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in the wake of the latest developments, Wan Saiful said Najib’s political future can only be threatened by the members and leaders of Umno, and not by any outside power.
In the suit, the Justice Department is seeking to recover assets belonging to several high-profile individuals who are closely linked to the Malaysian state investment arm set up in 2009.
In the 136-page document, US prosecutors accused several high-profile individuals of conspiring to launder US$3.5bil (RM14.07bil) from 1MDB to fund their lifestyles.
The individuals had reportedly used a host of offshore bank accounts and shell companies to conceal their activities over a four-year period beginning 2009.
Among the allegations in the lawsuit is that US$681mil (RM2.6bil) was transferred to a personal bank account of “Malaysian Official 1”.
It said the US$150mil (RM607mil) used for the purchase of luxury property in New York and California came from 1MDB’s collapsed joint venture deal with PetroSaudi International, as did US$44.8mil (RM181mil) to buy a hotel in Beverly Hills and US$35.4mil (RM143mil) for a jet.
It was alleged that money from a Goldman Sachs bond deals was used to buy US$130mil (RM526mil) worth of artwork at an auction, as well as an interest in the music rights of EMI.
A key individual named in the official complaint by US prosecutors is Riza Aziz, who is Najib’s stepson.
Riza is also the founder of Red Granite Pictures, which produced the Oscar-nominated The Wolf of Wall Street in 2013.
The suits alleged that a certain portion of the fraudulent money was used to help finance production costs on the film.
The suits also named prominent Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as “Jho Low”, and Abu Dhabi government officials Khadem Abdulla Al-Qubaisi and Mohammed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny as “relevant individuals” in the case.
Al-Qubaisi and Al-Husseiny were former officials at a sovereign wealth fund in the United Arab Emirates that was involved in deals with 1MDB in that period.
In Singapore, the central bank on Thursday moved to seize S$240mil (RM717mil) in assets in an investigation on possible money laundering of funds linked to 1MDB.
Half the assets belonged to Jho Low and his immediate family members.
In an immediate response on Thursday, Najib had said that he took the matter very seriously and would give full cooperation to all investigations at an international level.
“We take this matter seriously and we do not want any party to have the wrong impression that the Government does not practise good administration,” he said.