Funds deposited into Malaysia PM's accounts not donation, but investment: Saudi minister

Funds deposited into Malaysia PM's accounts not donation, but investment: Saudi minister

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir that the funds were not a political donation from the Saudi government, but rather that they had been part of a business deal.

KUALA LUMPUR: Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says he accepts the Malaysian attorney-general’s opinion that there had been no wrongdoing with respect to the funds that went into Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's personal account.

But he also said he believes that the funds were not a political donation from the Saudi government, but rather that they had been part of a business deal.

“It is a private Saudi citizen, I believe, and the funds went to an investment in Malaysia,” the Foreign Minister said in an interview on Thursday.

One member of the royal family and one associate of the family, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the money had come from a Saudi prince and confirmed that it was not a donation.

The associate questioned the reported sum but said the funds were part of a business deal.

The Wall Street Journal reported last July that investigators probing 1MDB had identified funds worth 2.6 billion ringgit that had been transferred directly to the prime minister's bank accounts.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing and says he did not take any money for personal gain.

Malaysia's new attorney-general, Apandi Ali, closed all investigations of Najib, despite Malaysia's anti-graft agency recommending that Najib be charged with criminal misappropriation.

The prime minister now faces renewed pressure after international investigators revealed they had grounds to probe 1MDB for corruption.

Apandi said the money deposited into Najib's accounts was a private donation from Saudi Arabia's royal family and that no further action needed to be taken on the matter.

Source: CNA/Reuters/ec