Malaysia's 1MDB task force freezes more than 400 bank accounts involving RM1.1 billion in funds

Malaysia's 1MDB task force freezes more than 400 bank accounts involving RM1.1 billion in funds

KUALA LUMPUR: More than 400 bank accounts involving RM1.1 billion of funds from individuals, political parties and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been frozen, believed to be linked to Malaysia's multi-billion 1MDB scandal.

The 1MDB task force said in a press statement on Monday (Jul 2) that the frozen 408 accounts "are believed to have been linked to misappropriation and misuse of 1MDB funds". 

These accounts also involved nearly 900 transactions made between March 2011 and September 2015, said the statement.

The task force added that the accounts frozen were linked to 81 individuals and 55 companies who were believed to have received funds from 1MDB. 

"1MDB special task force is currently conducting an investigation to identify the level of involvement of the parties involved. Investigations are conducted thoroughly by fairness to all parties involved." 

The task force added that it "does not rule out the possibility that there will be another account that will be frozen later". 

"All accounts are frozen in accordance with the provisions of the law of the country as it normally does, and as such, there is no issue of the action of freezing the accounts taken to persecute any party," it added. 

The task force had earlier said it had frozen accounts belonging to the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the political party once led by Najib.

Founded by Najib in 2009, 1MDB is being investigated in at least six countries for alleged money laundering and graft.

Civil lawsuits filed by the US Department of Justice allege that nearly US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB.

Najib's stepson, Riza Aziz, has been summoned by Malaysia's Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to give a statement in connection with the probe, media reports said on Monday.

An MACC source confirmed the reports, saying that Riza was expected to come to the commission's headquarters on Tuesday.

"Yes, he has been called in to attend at 2pm (0600 GMT)" said the source, who declined to be identified as they were not authorised to discuss the matter.

Riza is the co-founder of Red Granite Pictures, a company that US prosecutors say financed three Hollywood films, including the 2013 Martin Scorsese movie "The Wolf of Wall Street", with funds misappropriated by 1MDB.

Both Najib and Riza have consistently denied wrongdoing. Red Granite paid the US government US$60 million as part of a settlement of a civil lawsuit in March.

Source: CNA/ad